Review – Aquaman Annual #2: One Night in Amnesty Bay

Comic Books DC This Week
Aquaman Annual #2 cover, via DC comics.

Aquaman Annual #2 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Vita Ayala, Writers; Victor Ibanez, Artist; Jay David Ramos, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9/10

Corrina: Save that Dog!!

Ray: Co-writers are always a question mark in comic books, because you’re never sure who’s writing what. But DC uses them a lot with good effect – in Justice League regularly, and now in Aquaman Annual #2, where Vita Ayala joins Kelly Sue DeConnick for a one-off side story that deals with the arrival of the old sea Gods in Amnesty Bay.

The main title has been busy with bigger plots, so the slice of life events have been mostly off panel – until now. The issue starts with a hilarious segment involving a J-list supervillain who believes he’s the rightful king of Atlantis and calls himself “Sea Daddy”. While his rampage is mostly played for laughs, he endangers a dog and causes a tidal wave that destroys the Founder’s Day festival fireworks and food supply. That leads to a low-key but entertaining issue that follows Aquaman as he attempts to help the town salvage the festival and searches for the dog – with interference from ancient beings along the way.

The great thing about this issue is that Aquaman’s return and his anxiety over becoming a father isn’t glossed over, but it’s also not the focus of the issue. It informs his interactions with the residents of Amnesty Bay, both human and otherwise. DeConnick’s group of ancient beings look human – most of the time – but they don’t always act human, and have a mercurial sense of justice that emerges in a confrontation at the grocery store and in a tense scene at the seaside. The bigger scenes in this storyline, like the mysterious sigil from Luthor hanging overhead, are present but never overshadow the human scenes in the comic. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while when it comes to the supporting cast and the sense of place for a hero, and it continues with the biggest strength of the DeConnick run – everything matters, and even a small-scale issue like this works to inform the rest of the run. Easily the best Aquaman run of the modern era.

Dog vs. Luthor. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: I’m totally a sucker for stories that lean into the humorous absurdity of superheroes and, in this case, gods, interacting with regular humans who are just trying to go about their lives the best way they can. Rarely has the setting of Amnesty Bay been used this well, and I love the general attitude of “well, okay, today sea gods, fine, let’s see what we can do with our festival after this mess anyway.”

Arthur fits in well as the bridge between two worlds, understanding the human and the gods, though the story shows off his human side nicely, as he’s somewhat befuddled by the gods and what they want as well. I was a little worried for our friend the dog for a while there but, whew, it turned out okay.

If I wanted a single story to show what’s awesome about Aquaman, I’d give them Aquaman Annual #2.

I’m also looking forward to the first Sea Daddy cosplay. Send photos if you see one, people.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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