Aquamen #3 – Chuck Brown/Brandon Thomas, Writers; Max Raynor, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: One of the best parts of this series is how it pulls from multiple different runs—not just the recent Thomas and Brown minis, but the runs of Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dan Abnett, and even earlier takes on the Aquaman mythos. The teeth-clenched teamwork between Arthur and Black Manta is the main selling point of the series for me, especially as they invade the ninth tride and foil the career ambitions of some unfortunate soldiers. But while they’re the biggest personalities in the series, the heart of the book really belongs to Jackson Hyde. Still recovering from the traumatic events of his solo series and the near-death of his mother, he’s angrier and more reckless than he’s ever been before—and that may be the only thing that unites Arthur and Manta. While Jackson is definitely the most unambiguously heroic character in the series, this issue shows how he’s setting himself up for danger.
This issue also expands the role of several minor players. Tempest seems to be taking on a bigger role in the investigation, as he tries to get information out of Orm. Mera, meanwhile, starts piecing together the missing pieces of what Arthur told her—and she’s not happy. After several runs mostly kept her off-panel for much of the story or minimized her role, it’s great to see her take center stage and show she’s as capable as either of the lead Aquamen. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Batwoman’s second guest-spot this week as Jackson heads to Gotham. This issue drops some major hints about the identity of the villain, finally unmasking him at the end, but the main battle is still ahead. Of course, we know that with events this very week, the title will be down to one Aquaman soon, and so it might be headed for another major retooling after July’s issue. If the goal of this series is to set up Jackson and his supporting cast for a solo run after this, it’s doing a damn good job.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.