Aquaman #63 – Jordan Clark, Writer; Marco Santucci, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: One of the rare pleasures of fill-in issues is that occasionally you get a surprising gem from a writer you’ve ever heard of before. That’s the case with Jordan Clark, whose two-part Aqualad story taking place between the pages of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Aquaman run has been as good as the main run. Focusing on Jackson Hyde as he reluctantly works with his evil father Black Manta and the robot with his grandfather’s brain, last issue saw Jackson infiltrate Xebel and potentially find a boyfriend – just in time for the Trench to attack. Now the young hero finds himself in the middle of a war, undercover in the hostile kingdom of his mother. Tasked with sabotage but increasingly determined to do the right thing, it’s a compelling story of Jackson coming of age and stepping out of Aquaman’s shadow. And the visuals from Marco Santucci are just as lush and dramatic as the main run’s from Robson Rocha.
These are two jam-packed issues, that in a lesser writer’s hands could feel jumbled. But Clark manages to handle a lot of plot points, including Jackson dealing with anxiety over the full extent of his powers (which hurt Mera the last time he used them). There’s a fascinating undercurrent of commentary on dysfunctional families in this story, as Jackson tries to repair his tense relationship with his grandfather – and figure out whether there’s anything in his father that’s worth saving. The depiction of young romance between him and a young Xebel poet-turned-soldier is very well-done, and in some ways more effective than the other recent Aqualad love story in You Brought Me the Ocean. This is all going to dovetail back into the final arc of DeConnick’s run, but I think these two issues are going to hold up nicely. I know an Aqualad comic wouldn’t sell, but DC would be smart to give Jordan Clark a solo run on a major title ASAP.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.