Aquamen #5 – Chuck Brown/Brandon Thomas, Writers; Sami Basri, Penciller; Vicente Cifuentes, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It’s the penultimate issue of this series—for now—with next issue serving as a wrap-up addressing the death of Aquaman in Dark Crisis. But right now, Arthur, Jackson, and Black Manta have more than enough on their plates. A long-dormant sect of Atlantean sleeper cells has been committing deadly attacks on the surface, seemingly with no memory of what they’re doing. Atlantis is desperately trying to clean up its own mess, but the surface world is getting increasingly hostile and even Arthur’s ally Steve Trevor seems to view him with suspicion now. After saving the life of his boyfriend Ha’Wea, Jackson is finally able to get past some of his anger over his mother’s near-death and refocus himself on the message ahead—teaming with Mera to hold back the tide in a particularly dramatic scene. I was also amused to see that another future aquakinetic—little Andy—seems to be getting further along in her training.
The best part of this series from the start, surprisingly, has been Black Manta. Many writers have struggled with how to portray his relationship with Jackson—many lean too hard on making him an abusive monster, but Brown was able to give the character a lot of nuance before this series began. He’s nicely contrasted this issue with the despicable Scavenger, a low-level villain with no sense of honor and no connection to make him fight for something bigger than himself. He causes more trouble than he’s worth this issue, adding another sense of tension to the issue as we get closer to the finale. The pace this issue is whip-fast, moving from one action scene to another before you can blink. It can feel a little frantic, and with only one issue left it’s hard to imagine how this will all wrap up smoothly, but the creative team has done a strong job so far and I have no reason to believe that’s going to change.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.