Aquaman No. 44 review: Fantasy epic in the making


Aquaman, now going by Andy, continues to struggle with his bout of amnesia. With no memory of who he is and the mounting pressure being put on his shoulders by the townspeople, he must remember, or at least try.

Two issues into Kelly Sue Deconnick and Robson Rocha’s run on Aquaman and it’s easy to tell that this is going to be a completely different kind of story than has been told during the past several years. If Geoff Johns’ run on the character was a superhero story and Dan Abnett’s was a superhero story that turned into a fantasy tale, then Deconnick’s is pure fantasy. There are no super-heroics to be found so far through to issue in a change of pace for the series that could have turned out badly (potentially still can), but so far, it’s gold.

One of the most apparent things about this issue is the immediate urge to completely expect where the story is going to go. The issue starts out with a situation that is a staple of the fantasy story, the hero trying to discover who he is and goes very much the way one would expect it to, but done in a really fun, contemplative way that doesn’t feel completely cliché, which is hard to do. The back half of the issue though adds so many wrinkles and questions as to where exactly Aquaman is that the assumptions that are present during the first scene are completely erased.

With this erasure of assumptions, Deconnick is able to create a world entirely her own and completely add to the mythos of Aquaman (and DC, on the whole) while never answering anything as to where Arthur currently is or who the people who he has surrounded himself are. It’s a balancing act of not completely erasing the old, but also creating something new and it’s done incredibly well here.

Image by DC Comics/Art by Robson Rocha

Speaking of old though, Arthur hasn’t been the only main character in this book for a long time, so it was only a matter of time before Mera came back into the fold. It’s honestly surprising that she was brought up again so early, but it’s also nice to see that Atlantis and Mera won’t be completely ignored, even if they do take a backseat. The decisions as to what’s happening in Atlantis leave a lot to be desired, given the character of Mera, but Atlantis is a land mired in tradition, thus it would make sense at a macrocosmic level.

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As mentioned above, this book has taken on the guise of a pure fantasy book and it helps that the art by Robson Rocha continues to feel like that as well. Last issue felt very much like a Brother’s Grimm tale in the way it was drawn, like there was actual wear on the pages and it carries over to this issue as well. Not as much, but it’s still present. Rocha even makes Atlantis more classic fantasy than it has been presented in the past, simply with Mera’s formal wear.

It’s reminiscent of the formal wear worn by Amber Heard’s Mera in Aquaman, but with its own unique touches that make it fit into this universe and story being told. Generally, though, this issue is gorgeous if one wants to talk about it in a simple manner.

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With its new creative team, Aquaman continues to transform into what is seemingly going to be a fantasy epic for years to come.