Aquaman: Rebirth #1 Review

Posted June 8, 2016 by Alexander Handziuk in Comic Books

Written by: Dan Abnett

Art by: Scott Eaton and Oscar Jimenez

Publisher: DC Comics

A couple weeks into Rebirth and for the most part the books have done a good job of balancing exposition with cool character moments that gets the reader excited for the upcoming launch of the series. Aquaman #1, fails to keep this trend going as it finds itself adrift in a sea of exposition and sub-par characterization.

This issue attempts to what Aquaman #1 did back in September of 2011, in establishing Aquaman as a man of two worlds (surface and sea), establishing his love for Mera, as well as establishing a threat worthy of the king of the seas. In many ways it succeeds on all of these points, but the way that it is executed, makes it feel like a cheap knockoff of the New 52s series. They even return to the seafood restaurant that Aquaman ordered fish and chips in back in the first issue and while its cool to tie it all back it also comes off a little flat. The problem is that very little of the moments that take place in this issue feel like anything other than a giant information dump, as Abnett’s script is full of exposition and of characters telling you things that they should be showing you. Once more, the Atlantean terror cell’s form of english is very much a take on the stereotypical medieval talk, and in this scenario it is often cringeworthy. The best part of the issue is the reveal of who the narrator/ villain is as much as it is the most obvious of all Aquaman villains, it does still give the book some emotional weight, that it sorely needs.

On the visual side, Scott Eaton and Oscar Jimenez deliver a mixed bag of an issue. The way in which they depict the sea life is tantalizing and there is one panel in particular that involves Aquaman literally swimming with the fishes that forces you to take a moment to just bask in its beauty. Unfortunately, the entire run in with the terrorists, is portrayed as very cartoony and it does not fit with the serious tone that the script is trying to get across. Also, some character’s heads are strangely shaped and look like caricatures at times, something that took me out of the issue for a moment. That being said, the final two pages that feature the villain of the story are a complete deviation from the rest of the book in that they are dark, realistic and very much build up the excitement for the launch of the debut issue.

There is a moment in the issue where Aquaman asks how far off he is and in the case of this book, the answer is not that far. The fact of the matter is that the ingredients of a great book are all here but the execution is muddled and uninspired. That being said, the introduction of Black Manta as the formidable villain that he is, salvages what could have been a completely wasted issue.
My advice to you fair reader, is to wait until the #1 Issue of Aquaman because Abnett and the rest of the team can do better and Aquaman as a rebirthed character, deserves better.

About the Author

Alexander Handziuk

Alex is a comic aficionado who loves Aquaman, Overwatch, the musical Hamilton and medium length strolls on beaches. Check him out on the Comics Dash Podcast, on twitter at @axehandziuk and in real life patrolling the borders of Canada.