Aquaman: The Becoming #1 – Brandon Thomas, Writer; Diego Olortegui, Penciller; Wade Von Grawbadger, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: We got a preview of this series in the recent Aquaman 80th Anniversary Super-Spectacular, and it was great. This first issue lives up to the hype—giving us a very different vision of Aquaman and his world. Arthur is older, a diplomat and father now, and may be looking towards retirement. That’s why he’s stepped up his training of his protege Jackson Hyde—potentially to make him the new Aquaman, and to ensure Andy has a proper Aquaman as her mentor when she comes of age. The opening trial is visually spectacular (a common thing for new artist Diego Olortegui) but seems a bit extreme—but it all makes sense once the curtain is pulled back.
Arthur and Mera are written really well here, equal parts strong and parental. It’s great to see this makeshift family unit they’ve formed with Jackson—it’s the kind of vibe I’ve been looking for in superhero comics for a while. But they’re not the focus here, Jackson is. While this series is sort of a coming-of-age story for him, it almost feels leisurely at points. Much of the issue is devoted to him coming back to Amnesty Bay for a meeting with his mother—and potentially a meeting with a new love interest. This is the first book released under DC’s new Pride imprint, and it’s great to see an unapologetically gay young male lead whose sexuality informs his story but doesn’t define it. This is a high adventure fantasy at its core, and it nails that vibe.
Jackson’s had a long strange history in the comics, and Thomas has obviously done his reading on it. I loved seeing the Percy-era Teen Titans again—that run wasn’t perfect, but it was one of the best runs the troubled franchise has had in a long time. The mystery villains that enter the fray at the end set up an intriguing new dynamic, and I wonder if it comes back to that two-part story in Aquaman during the DeConnick run. There are a lot of interesting details about Jackson’s anxieties running through this book, and the strong story and brilliant art come together into a promising first chapter in the Aquaman mythology.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.