Aquaman #62 – Jordan Clark, Writer; Marco Santucci, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: A fill-in issue usually means two things—it won’t tie in to the main story much, and it won’t be as good as the main run. Surprisingly, that’s not the case on either count for Jordan Clark’s fill-in on Aquaman. Focusing on Jackson Hyde, this issue picks up right after the events of the hunt for Aquaman’s daughter. We knew Jackson had sought out the help of his father Black Manta, but we didn’t know the exact circumstances—until now. Manta is manipulative as always, cruelly refusing his help despite Jackson’s desperation and forcing him into a fight. It’s only the intervention of Jackson’s grandfather—in the form of a giant mech that Manta used to attack Amnesty Bays—that gets them to temporarily work together. And Jackson and the mech become an unlikely partnership as they carry out a larger mission to help Aquaman infiltrate the royal wedding and prevent Ocean Master’s attack.
This is the most in-depth look we’ve gotten at Jackson’s character aside from his stand-alone graphic novel, and it’s interesting to see his “grandfather” trying to get him to open up a little more. Their mission eventually leads them to Xebel, where Jackson seeks out some answers about his mother and her link to Black Manta. He also meets his first in-continuity love interest, a young Xebelian soldier who takes a huge risk to protect him and displays a love for the arts. I’m curious and hopeful if we’ll see more of these characters as the series enters its next era—if the title is continuing after DeConnick ends her run, I would not at all object if Clark got the chance to do a longer run. He displays a great handle on both Aquaman’s mythology and the characterization of a young black gay man seeking to find himself in a much larger adventure spiraling around him.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.