The war is over and Aquaman is considered a hero even after the U.S. government attempted to kill him. Now that’s a good heart. There’s much to repair though as major eastern seaboard cities were hit during battle. A new arc begins now, but is it good?
Aquaman #16 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“WARHEAD” part one! “Deluge” is over, and now Aquaman and Mera lead the rebuilding of Amnesty Bay and other American cities drawn into the war with Atlantis. But Arthur’s tenure as a hero threatens to be short-lived when a new villain emerges from the rubble.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Dan Abnett has been fleshing out Aquaman’s supporting cast well making him less a singular hero and more a ruler of a people. That also includes a surface dweller FBI agent who went to school with him. With pencils by Brad Walker (inks by Andrew Hennessy and colors by Gabe Eltaeb) there’s plenty to like in the art department too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is about as good as a fallout issue can get as the heroes pick up the pieces and find a new direction. Abnett has flipped Aquaman’s status in American’s minds and thus made Aquaman a tad fresher overnight. It’s also nice to see Atlanteans working to help Aquaman’s home town as their inclusion reminds us they’re attempting to keep the peace. Meanwhile, a looming threat comes in and out of this issue in a build up that should get most folks interested in what’s to come. Clearly Aquaman’s Aquatelepathy is the focus of this new arc and it’s an interesting development to see how the villain may tap into it.
The art team are the tops this issue with highly detailed panels and pages. The story doesn’t have much action, though two full page spreads put into focus our hero and new villain quite well. I always appreciate an artist who puts time into backgrounds to help place the character, but also helps convey where characters are spatially. Walker does quite well with that as you get the sense Aquaman and his people are helping a small town that’s very much destroyed.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though not directly connected to this issue, Abnett devotes some time for Aquaman and Mera to discuss the whole Widowhood of the last arc. Mera says literally how I felt about this storyline, “It was…it was a waste of time.” It’s hard to shake this story element was brushed under the rug too quickly with little to no ramifications. Abnett is clearly bringing it up as a way to put a wedge between the two, but it’s not developed enough to care about especially when the characters speak of it like it’s no big deal.
Is It Good?
Aside from a minor quibble that reminds us a subplot was a waste of time, this is a good first issue to a new story arc. Aquaman has a new relationship with the public, his ability to speak to animals clearly is a major story element to be explored, and a villain with great power looms. New story arc, new direction, new reasons to love this series.