Aquaman: The Becoming #4 – Brandon Thomas, Writer; Scott Koblish, Penciller; Wade Von Grawbadger, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Last issue threw the entire concept of the series for a loop with the reveal of Jackson’s older sister Delilah—a ruthless Xebelian warrior who had ties to the agents who had framed him for a terror attack on Atlantis. This issue, Jackson and his mother Lucia delve into the deep, dark history of Xebel, with some truly shocking reveals. We’ve known for a while that Xebel was Atlantis’ poorer, more ruthless cousin, but it was more commonly shown in its impact on Atlantis. In this issue, we see just how bad things have gotten for the citizens of Xebel—and how Aqualad’s mother played her own role. It has some compelling things to say about how even the best-intentioned hero can eventually become a villain, but the pacing of this issue is very exposition-heavy. Many scenes feel more like an awkward family reunion than a continuation of the series. The characterization is great, but most of the high-octane action of the series is missing this issue.
Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #3 – Brandon Thomas, Writer; Ronan Cliquet, Artist; Ulises Arreola, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: It’s a double-dose of Aquaman from Brandon Thomas this week, but this issue is definitely the more bizarre of the two. As if things weren’t strange enough with Aquaman and Green Arrow swapping powers and identities, now they’re in the clutches of a deranged dinosaur-man who intends to torture the powerless Arthur to make Ollie speak. The script and art play a clever trick, showing many pages from two different perspectives as we slowly follow the path that led to this bizarre swap. But its biggest problem is that the villain is just sort of a mess—an evil mad scientist who acts more like a generic brute than a serious threat in many cases. He’s intimidating, but not interesting. However, when the flashbacks cut loose, they reveal a completely insane plot involving Nanda Parbat and some truly unexpected coincidences. It swings for the fences, but I don’t think it quite always hits what it’s going for.
Teen Titans Academy #10 – Tim Sheridan, Writer; Mike Norton, Tom Derenick, Artists; Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, Colorists
Ray – 6/10
Ray: This title continues to have a dozen plotlines going on at the same time, with only a few of its students getting any focus. This month, it’s Dane and Red X’s turn to shine—such as it is. Dane, or Nevermore, finally has his origin revealed in a grim flashback courtesy of guest artist Tom Derenick. It’s by far the most effective part of the issue, but once we’re back in the present day, the focus shifts to Red X. This is one of those mysteries where the plot seems to actively be conspiring to avoid revealing the identity as long as they can. The bigger problem this issue is the characterization of the older Titans, with Nightwing being oddly willing to commit murder and Roy coming off as an insensitive jerk—even casually misgendering Stitch at some point. The ending delivers a very grim twist to what might be the last arc before a crossover, but it’s still hard to get invested in the larger plot.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.