Aquaman #1 Review


A new era for Aquaman kicks off with an outstanding first issue that sets the series off in new and unexpected directions.

Aquaman #1
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy
Colored by Gabe Eltaeb
Published by DC Comics

Of all the titles that launched out of 2011’s New 52, Aquaman #1 quickly became one of the most iconic and best known. It took a character that had been the butt of jokes for decades and transformed him into one of the great heroes of the DC Universe.

Thank you very much Geoff Johns.

Now Aquaman gets an all-new first issue thanks to DC Rebirth and while it isn’t as groundbreaking or definitive as that other first issue, it is good enough to stand on its own and launch a new era of Aquaman adventures in style.

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While the previous volume of the series dealt with Arthur coming to terms with his life on the land as well as the sea, Aquaman #1 sees him deal with the issue head on. Once again the King of Atlantis, Arthur has decided to open formal relations with the surface world, starting with Spindrift Station, the first Atlantean Embassy.

Most of this first issue is dedicated to setting up the new series as well as iintroducing some new supporting cast members and writer Dan Abnett does a great job putting things into motion. There is a lot of dialogue and talking heads before the action kicks in (more on that in a minute) but it never feels tedious or boring, like it can in some first issues.

But when the fists do start flying? Watch out because the story turns on a dime. One minute it all talk and the next Aquaman is throwing down with Black Manta in some incredibly well-paced action sequences.

Speaking of Black Manta, while he has always been considered Aquaman’s own version of Lex Luthor or the Joker, for me he has always fell just a bit short in that department. My hope is that Abnett, who can take almost anyone and make them a better, more compelling character, can do that with Black Manta.

I have seen Brad Walker’s art on various titles over the years, but was never that impressed with his work. Most of the time he fell into the “perfectly satisfactory comic book artist” category and that was it. However, seeing him teamed up with inker Andrew Hennessey was a revelation.

The two artists combined create a style that is both energizing and unique. There is a fantastic sense of motion throughout the entire book and their Black Manta actually looks intimidating instead of kind of silly. The two remind me a bit of Bart Sears in the way everything looks organic and nothing seems static or stiff.

The colors by Gabe Eltaeb brings everything to vibrant life and create a comic that is just as entertaining for the visuals as it for the story.

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The Bottom Line: Score another win for DC Rebirth as Aquaman #1 is a hit for both regular readers and newcomers who may not know that Aquaman is now one of the coolest heroes around. “The Drowning” Part One is a great first issue that should have folks regularly coming back for more. The creative team hits it our of the aquarium and I’m really looking forward to what’s in store in the months to come.