Review by Paul Fiander
Written by Dan Abnett
Pencils by Brad Walker
Inks by Drew Hennessy
Colours by Gabe Eltaeb
Cover by Drew Hennessy & Brad Walker
Published by DC Comics
One of the best aspects of comics is is ability to perform social commentary in an accessible way. Trying to see things from another person's perspective can be difficult, however a good writer/artist had the chance to show a view of the world that can challenge done individual's views. With Britain on the verge of a historic view on membership of the European Union there has been a lot of rhetoric about multiculturalism and integration, a subject Dan Abnett tackles head on in Aquaman #1.
Abnett's narrative focuses on Arthur’s desire to form closer links between Atlantis and the surface world. Being a child of both worlds he is driven by a desire for harmony, unfortunately this view is not shared by people on both sides of the divide. This is put into sharp focus by his early exchanges with Mera as they discuss the difficulties in Arthur's chosen course. Perhaps though the most trolling part of the conversation is Mera’s attitude, she is a reluctant participant in the agenda but is pulled along by the will of husband. This helps to set up a multi tiered case for the new cohesion agenda both on the positive and negative side.
A great deal of this issue is set aside to deal with the breaking of boundaries. The invitation to policy makers and liaisons with the what world shows that Aquaman is more than just a figurehead hero instead he is a force for change. There are other interactions between an Atlantean guard and an officer in the Royal Navy. Their interactions hint to the future while acting as a window into the relationship between the surface and Atlantis.
The art is generally quite static as this is an establishing issue with quite a lot of dialogue. However there are points where the art kicks up a notch. This is based around the use of water within panels and the action sequences contained within the story. The quieter parts of the book do have a consistency in character design that I wish more books had and this for me is a big plus.
I am coming around to becoming a regular Aquaman reader, Abnett’s take on the character is interesting and his ability to tie real world issues into his stories is one of the delights of comics. Mostly though I’m taken with the lightness and hope contained within Arthur, he is an aspirational character that perfectly sets up this new DC Universe.