Aquaman #1 review – just keeps swimming in the fast lane

Aquaman remains an action-packed thrill

No, Aquaman: Rebirth #1 was not a fluke. With Aquaman #1, Dan Abnett and Brad Walker prove this may be one of the more explosive spectacles of the Rebirth Era.

Aquaman is anxious to kickoff a new partnership between Atlantis and the surface world. He’s set up Spindrift Station, a dry land Atlantean embassy and is set to meet global ambassadors. And then Black Manta comes to ruin everything.

Black Manta is one of the rare DC villains that’s consistently been portrayed as a formidable threat. Even when he was transformed into an actual Black Manta. Abnett makes sure to keep that threat level high. If Ocean Master is Aquaman’s Lex Luthor, Black Manta is Braniac, Bizarro and Doomsday rolled into one big time adversary.

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Like we’ve seen in Green Arrow and Superman’s first post Rebirth issue, relationships are back in a big way. It might not be more evident than Aquaman’s relationship with Mera. Their scenes are some of the issue’s strongest moments. There’s nothing flashy to them, but it’s a couple that simply loves each other. No need to make it more complicated than that. Relationships don’t have to be an anchor to good storytelling. In the right hands, these bonds make the characters more relatable to readers.

Abnett is so skilled at casual dialogue that interaction between an Atlantean guard and a British naval officer nearly steals the issue. My only real complaint was Abnett having the officer repeatedly saying ‘crikey’ as if to remind us she’s British. It came across a little silly and forced. Beyond that, one scene disappointed me but that was more a testament to Abnett’s ability to quickly make me invest in the characters.

Brad Walker’s art is solid. There’s a few panels where the faces and perspectives were off, but he’s a great choice as one of the two monthly Aquaman artists.

Walker creatively frames the panels making for an immersive viewing experience. His storytelling really works well with an aquatic character as panels flow into one another smoothly. Walker captures the regal air of Aquaman and his subjects subtlety framing the panel to position the Atlanteans looking down or having other characters look up at them.

Even in the quieter scenes, there doesn’t feel like any wasted pages. Abnett sets the stage up perfectly for Black Manta’s assault and the final page will have you desperately awaiting the next issue.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Images Credit: DC Comics

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