Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick / Artists: Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan Glapion, Daniel Henriques, Ryan Winn, and Sunny Gho / DC Comics
Nothing like a reliably entertaining, monthly comic to make me set aside all life’s burdens for a few moments. And reliably entertaining is exactly what DeConnick and her army of artists is delivering in Aquaman. Issue #48 introduced Mother Shark, a kind of oceanic ancestral memory keeper. Now Issue #49 has her giving Arthur what he’s been searching for: the truth about his past.
Mother Shark, Part II
First off, I have to give praise to the letterer, Clayton Cowles. They do a subtle, but effective job of differentiating Mother Shark’s words from all the others in each panel, giving a “wave effect” throughout. It looks simple, but I’m sure it wasn’t simple when they did the work. It communicates the underwater world without being corny. Well done Clayton!
Second, the rest of the artist staff. They balance the emotions, the action, and the romance in this issue well. I’m not crazy about the faces and expressions, but that’s less important here than the general feel. That is effective. It isn’t a fight-filled issue, but it does move, the story weaving across the pages in interesting ways. While this is all exposition, it didn’t feel dull or drawn out. Presumably long-time readers already know this history, but they tell it in such a way that old or new readers can engage with it.
You know it is a great book when DeConnick’s plot is the THIRD thing on my list of great things. She doesn’t disappoint, leading us through Curry’s memories, back to that day when he died the first time. Arthur returns to his queen, Mera, and relives the moment she told him about their child. Then he remembers his own fears, and finally her rage. Was it the rage that killed him? And why is he back? Why him? Why now? He doesn’t know. It is only what you do after resurrection that proves you deserved it — the kind of deep insight that DeConnick sprinkles throughout the dialog.
In short, this is another strong entry in this Aquaman run, which isn’t so much re-writing the canon as it is giving new perspectives and depth to it. The art is lovely, the story compelling. Pick it up.
8 fears of fatherhood out of 10
Reading Aquaman? Find BNP’s other reviews and commentary of both the comic and the movie here.