Writers: Zhou Liefen as adapted by Greg Pak, Greg Pak and Alyssa Wong / Artists: Keng, Pop Mhan / Marvel
As the penultimate issue of this Two-for-One series, Aero #5 continues to be a sharp reminder that the reason I’ve enjoyed this comic so far is because it directly appeals to both mentalities of my reading mind. The Aero portions of the comic are hyper stylized with a smooth finish that makes it easy to engage with visually. The story follows all of the familiar bets. It’s fast paced and action oriented and I’m able to breeze through (pun… kind of intended) as I enjoy the eye candy. The contrasting elemental effects of air versus ice is still a great spectacle. After all of the rising actions subsides for the more personal moments, there are moments of genuine sweetness and connection when it comes to being a young adult trying to navigate adult relationships. It’s not revolutionary, but it is well done and Pak’s adaptation of Liefen’s work feels natural. Keng’s artwork however is at the front and center of every issue of Aero with its sheer dynamism and use of color.
Conversely, the Aero and Wave back half of the issue is really the main reason I’m devouring this comic as that one appeals more to my storytelling instincts and my Filipino roots. Alyssa Wong and Greg Pak have woven this complicated tapestry of factions. Watching Wave and Aero navigate the weird ecosystem of the Sulu Sea is just engrossing on an entirely different spectrum. Mhan’s artwork feels a little bit more grounded and the sirena and Alontech soldiers have a grit to them that makes them formidable foes. This entire layered conspiracy and its evolution has been a joy to read and get to know Wave through. The shift to underwater set pieces in Aero #4 was nothing short of a godsend because of how much it opened up the world and let Mhan flex with the gorgeous visuals. And the fact remains that the inclusion of the sirena prompted me to look into the Filipino roots of the latest Marvel iteration of Merfolks. It’s the type of research and exposure that make me thankful for books like these. Add to that the other new series on the rise, it’s hard not to be excited.
What more can you ask from a comic? You get a peek into what comics look like outside the U.S. You get two solid origin stories of two great heroes that are capable of pleasing both sides of the proverbial brain. And this feels like the right climax, the perfect set up for the inevitable closure to come. That’s just good storytelling and comic-ing right there for the taking.
9.2 “Unexpected Things in the Water” out of 10
Reading Aero? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.