Aquaman and Mera build a brighter world for their son, Tom. But is the world of Aquaman Annual #1 what it seems?
Max Fiumara’s artwork is the real highlight of Aquaman Annual #1. From the opening pages, the ethereal nature of his figure work creates an impression. Fiumara plays a little loose with anatomy, giving the characters a dreamlike quality that fits perfectly with the story being told. Dave Stewart’s colors compliment Fiumara’s linework nicely. Given Fiumara’s style, one might have been tempted to use a more psychedelic palette, but Stewart opts for murkier tones that callback to the dark depths of the seafloor.
Slowly unveiling its secrets, Aquaman Annual #1 tells the story of a future in which Arthur has successfully built a community for both land-and-sea dwellers. His old friends from the Justice League, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, pay a visit to congratulate their friend on his accomplishment. But just like the events that opened this Rebirth series, terrorists storm the city and threaten Aquaman’s son, Tom.
Fiumara conveys the story brilliantly, interspersing two-page layouts seamlessly into the book. Visually, there are some great designs with the elder Justice League members, particularly Hal Jordan who uses his ring in some imaginative ways.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s script is solid, capturing both Arthur’s almost naive joy as he finds the perfect place to build his new city and his dread as he realizes the truth. However, as the story unfolds and the twists are revealed, it’s hard to read Aquaman Annual #1 without being immediately reminded of “For the Man Who Has Everything” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons or the Justice League Unlimited episode that it inspired. This isn’t unexplored territory for superhero stories, and while its nice to see Arthur and Mera get this treatment, the comic can never quite overcome the predictable nature of its outcome.
Is It Good?
The emotional impact of Aquaman Annual #1 is lessened a bit, if you’re familiar with this type of story. That being said, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Max Fiumara, and Dave Stewart have crafted a really strong annual that nicely compliments the events that have happened in the main issues. Fiumara’s art style is a nice contrast to the more standard style that’s been employed in the main book, and for fans of done-in-one comics, this is a nice way to check in on the character and his world without having to worry too much about continuity.