Writer: Chuck Brown and Brandon Thomas
Art: Sami Basri, Andworld Design, Travis Moore, and Adriano Lucas
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
If I’m being honest, the AQUAMAN series’ have been hit or miss lately. And truthfully, if we even had any, they’ve leaned heavily on the miss. It’s been quite some time since we’ve had an interesting continuation that hasn’t been overly convoluted and dismissive of the character. So, with both AQUAMAN: THE BECOMING and BLACK MANTA leading full steam into this new installment, I was hoping the setup and positioning would raise the sea level of the character, the significant history of AQUAMAN, and Atlantis to where it could and should be. Let’s dive into AQUAMEN #1 by Chuck Brown and Brandon Thomas to see if this series will finally bring AQUAMAN, one of DC COMICS’ vital characters, back to the forefront and glory he deserves.
Readers, before I start, I highly recommend grabbing the BLACK MANTA trade as well as AQUAMAN: THE BECOMING for the full background and setup which leads into this opening installment. That said, it’s genuinely not required. You should still be able to reasonably follow the story with some mild confusion as to the specifics of the narrative beats laid out by Brown and Thomas. Nevertheless, AQUAMEN is fast-paced, jumpy, and pretty sporadic for an opening issue. It’s kind of all over the place. One minute they’re fighting a huge serpent monster and the next jump to Ohio. The next minute they’re fighting Orm and then they’re in France. And, these hops are happening on the same page. Therefore, I highly recommend at least two solid reads before making any snap decisions on the comic.
Granted, this sounds like a huge knock. However, it’s not. Brown and Thomas crank this story out and cram a ton of information into a small space to get this party started. Readers get a pretty good idea of what seems to be happening with two different premises that appear to be a mixture between what the mutants are doing with Krakoa in the X-MEN realm at MARVEL as well as a sleeper agent vibe seen in assorted media outlets. Together with some of the biggest names to hit AQUAMAN comics, AQUAMEN #1 appears to be just what comic fans have been searching for from Arthur Curry and Atlantis.
Sami Basri and Adriano Lucas come into their own this week as they exemplify these exceedingly bright colors that make AQUAMEN #1 pop. Lucas sets the scenes well with vibrant colors that set the stage for each battle well. The background coloring surrounding the gnarly sea serpent was powerful as well as the drastic color difference in the character’s armor versus the background.
Each action sequence showcased the movement of the characters well and ultimately provided that spark that made the issue come to life. Heck, even the lettering from Andworld Design was incredibly fierce and strategically placed building up the serpent’s impressive nature and stature. Plus, the creative dynamic between languages was extraordinary and added just enough extra energy making AQUAMEN #1 stand out a bit more above the rest of the titles this week. Excellent job all around from this creative team.
AQUAMEN #1 provides readers with nonstop action, unique twists, and story beats that will quickly captivate AQUAMAN fans. Basri and Lucas counter this intriguing tale with some incredibly vibrant illustrations and colors that compliment the raging waters of this first installment well. If you’ve been turned off from AQUAMAN or have just been treading water with the character recently, this is the perfect opportunity to hop back onboard the cruise ship with AQUAMEN #1. I highly recommend giving it a try, even if you’re going in cold. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!