THIS WEEK: For the 2/22/22 edition, the DC Round-Up team is joined by a very special guest who discusses the kickoff of DC‘s undersea event series Aquamen!
Note: This piece contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
Writers: Chuck Brown & Brandon Thomas
Artist: Sami Basri
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Andworld Design
Cover Artists: Travis Moore & Adriano Lucas
Harvey Dent: Welcome, good citizens of Gotham, to this week’s edition of the DC Round-Up! I want to thank the team at The Beat for the opportunity to address you all this week to talk about the important issues facing us. In this case, the issue on the table is Aquamen #1. This series brings together two separate series, the Chuck Brown-written Black Manta and the Brandon Thomas–written Aquaman: The Becoming. What did we think of the first issue?
Two-Face: I already hated one Aquaman, and now you’re telling me there’s two of them? Usually I would love that, but this is @#$%ing bull%#@$.
Dent: I’ll admit I was also skeptical going into this issue. I’ve never been a huge Aquaman fan, though I do respect the good work he does both in protecting our coastlines and in frequently preventing all-out war between Atlantis and the surface world. That said, I thought this issue did a nice job of spotlighting both the Arthur Curry and Jackson Hyde Aquamen, the latter in particular.
Face: I’ll give it that, too, begrudgingly. It also addressed how dumb it is to have two people called Aquaman running around. Don’t let this become another @#$%^%& Flash or Green Lantern situation! They need their ranks thinned out like you wouldn’t believe!
Dent: I also thought that was a nice touch. Brown and Thomas also smartly refer to elements from their respective titles, making it clear that this book is a continuation of those events, but not in a way that it’s prohibitive to enjoying this comic if you haven’t read what came before.
Face: Just say it’s accessible for new readers, Harv.
Dent: That is essentially what I’m saying, yes.
Face: I wish Black Manta had been in more of it. Too much focus on the do-gooders.
Dent: That’s fair, though his name’s not in the title of the book. The continuing evolution of the relationship between Aquaman Jackson Hyde and his father already looks to be a fascinating area for the series to explore. What did you think of the scenes set in Bexley, Ohio?
Face: I think who gives a @#$% about Ohio.
Dent: Now I’m sure some of our readers hail from the Buckeye State…
Face: I don’t give a @#$% about them and I don’t give a @#$% about Ohio.
Dent: Okay, but you have to admit that whatever was happening there is interesting, right? Bexley, Ohio being landlocked and all.
Face: You couldn’t @#$%ing pay me to get excited about anything going on in Ohio.
Dent: …well I for one enjoyed those sequences and how they displayed the scope of whatever’s going on with the Atlanteans. Do you think the Aquamen and Black Manta will end up traveling to the Midwest?
Face: It’d be the first exciting thing to happen there in @#$%ing ever if they did.
Dent: I will give you that one. Did you like the artwork from Sami Basri and Adriano Melo in this issue?
Face: I did, actually. People think the only art I like is scratchy, experimental, and non-traditional, and they’re right. But at least if I had to read drivel about multiple Aquamen it was easy to follow.
Dent: We agree here, though, as usual, for different reasons. Basri’s linework is clean and has a classic feel to it, and his storytelling is smooth and definitely easy to follow. The action sequences throughout have a great energy to them, and Melo’s colors are breathtaking, from the red sky in the morning (sailors take warning!) to the different shades of blue for bodies of water in different regions of the world.
Face: I’ve been blind to colors ever since our little incident, so everything just looks black & white to me.
Dent: You’re missing out on so much beauty in the world.
Face: Yeah, but I make up for it with wanton mayhem and murder.
Dent: I also want to mention Andworld Design’s lettering in this issue.
Face: That’s the words? Who cares about the words?
Dent: You’re a bad person.
Face: You think I don’t @#$%ing know that.
Dent: As I was saying, Andworld Design has a lot of heavy lifting to do, from representing translation of foreign languages to developing new symbols for completely alien languages, and every time they do it they pull it off without it being obtrusive to the reading experience. The translations of French throughout the issue are shown in a particularly clever and entertaining way, and it’s one of those things that’s so obvious that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been done before, or if it has that it hasn’t been done more widely.
Face: …wow you really had some thoughts about that, huh.
Dent: I approach all aspects of the comic with equal weight and respect.
Face: You know these are comic books, though, right?
Dent: You know you’re just a manifestation of my fractured psyche, right?
Face: …you don’t have to be hurtful about it.
Dent: Do you have any final thoughts – or literally any constructive thoughts at all – about Aquamen #1?
Face: Constructive? No. The prosecution rests.
Dent: I guess it’s time for verdicts then. I’m giving Aquamen #1 an enthusiastic BUY. This is classic superheroics executed well, with strong characters and a solid hook that’ll have me coming back to find out what happens next.
Face: ‘Solid hook’ was a fish pun and I’m mad at you now. More mad than usual.
Dent: Do you have a verdict for Aquamen #1?
Face: <flips coin> Ugh, the coin says I have to give it a BUY, too.
Dent: And you always do what the coin says, right? Even if you disagree with it?
Face: <flips coin> The coin says yes.
Dent: What would happen if the coin had said ‘no’ to that question?
Face: We’ll never know.
Dent: Alright, well I’d like to thank The Beat and the good people of Gotham once again for the opportunity to present some thoughts this week.
Face: And if you don’t like them, you’re probably from @#$%ing Ohio.
Final Verdict: A unanimous BUY.
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