This year marks the 80th anniversary of DC’s king of the seas, Aquaman. That’s eight decades of nearly continuous publication with many different stories and creators passing by. In that time Aquaman’s contemporaries have been replaced and then returned to the role. Batman has been more than Bruce Wayne and Flash has been more than Barry Allen. Aquaman however has largely stayed in the same position. Now however, Arthur Curry is focused on raising his baby daughter with his wife Mera. So the world needs a new Aquaman and that’s where this issue comes in. So who is the next Aquaman?
Writer Brandon Thomas, penciller Diego Olortegui and the wider creative team are aiming to answer that question with this issue. Aquaman: The Becoming is a miniseries following Aqualad, Jackson Hyde. Jackson has been a member of the Teen Titans, is the son of the villainous Black Manta, and is Aquaman’s protege. The kid’s got a lot on his plate so this issue is largely focused on establishing his status quo and journey. Arthur is training Jackson to become the new Aquaman as he focuses on spending time with his family. The issue starts with Jackson’s training and then follows his arrival at Amnesty Bay, the surface home of the Aqua family.
It’s here where we spend most of the issue as Jackson helps the locals, has lunch with his mother, and takes down a ‘supervillain.’ Pretty much everything you need to know about the character is set up wonderfully here. His relationships, the joy he gets from his abilities, and his compassionate affability. If you don’t know anything about the character this will be an easy read. It builds off of Jackson’s past stories in a very loving way, extending his character’s ongoing story and widening his scope. So it’s approachable for anybody new to Aquaman comics and an exciting leap forward for those who already loved the character.
It helps that the actual story being set up here is really interesting as well. We get to see him training with Arthur and we see him floundering when talking to a cute boy. It feels personal with a very human core. It’s great to get more of a spotlight on Jackson and his day-to-day. Thomas clearly has a real passion for the character and his world. The same can be said of Olortegui and the art team who give the book a vibrancy and hyper expressive energy. It looks exactly how an Aquaman comic should look.
Overall this is an excellent first issue that establishes an exciting new journey for Jackson as he fights to take the title of Aquaman. It’s approachable for new readers and a bold new direction that Aquafans should be reading, everything a first issue should be. Highest recommendation.