Aquaman #58 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Writer; Miguel Mendonca, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Rebuilding the Family
Ray: The start of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Aquaman was an epic fantasy, introducing more new elements to the mythos than any writer since Peter David. But since then, it’s taken on more the tone of an Atlantean soap opera, and while the quality is still high, some of the creative choices made are puzzling and a bit problematic. Aquaman #58 opens with Vulko getting a mysterious message saved by a pregnant Mera before her coma. It’s been ten months and she’s still unconscious, which means Arthur has been carrying on as a single father. This is easily the best segment of the issue, as we see the entire population of Amnesty Bay, including Jackson and his mother, team up to keep a pint-sized Atlantean princess who grows faster than her age and seems to have no sense of fear from hurling herself off cliffs or biting the tentacles of sea gods. I would read a whole series of Princess Andy finding trouble.
But things are far darker under the sea, where Arthur goes daily to visit his unconscious love. As Arthur tries to talk Mera awake, dark happenings are building in the Ninth Tride. Orm, now representing the city of Dagon, is making regular visits there to bring plague relief and give propaganda speeches about how they should join his army and march on Atlantis. This book seems to be casting Orm as a charismatic populist leader, but much of his dialogue comes off more like an overwrought Disney villain. I am intrigued by the role of Dolphin and Orm’s young ally Pilot in this title, though.
The reveal of Mera’s message – that she wishes Vulko to arrange their marriage while she’s unconscious – sends Arthur into a rage, and it’s not hard to see why. But before he can respond, Andy disappears from her bed in the middle of the night and he and Tula are off on a chase. Like I said, soap opera. There is some VERY good stuff in this book, but right now it’s not living up to the early issues.
Corrina: It didn’t take long for the fast-aging to affect Aquababy aka Andy or for her kidnapping to happen.
I’ve said before that superbabies being kidnapped is one of my least favorite tropes and so this ending raised all my worst fears for this story. Maybe in the end, Andy will be aged to a teenager and rule Atlantis in her mother’s place, if Mera stays on the sidelines. That seems to perhaps be the best eventual ending. Or perhaps Mera comes out of the coma and can stay with Aquaman in Amnesty Bay.
What I do love in Aquaman #58 is the new community that’s been created in Amnesty Bay and, like Ray, that the whole village is basically parenting Andy. The supporting cast seems to be here to stay and that gives me hope that some of this will turn out all right. I do have great trust in this creative team, so fingers crossed.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.