It’s A Family Affair: Reviewing ‘Aquaman: The Becoming’ #3

by Scott Redmond

Overview

As Jackson Hyde flees to a former home away from home, more pieces of the puzzle surrounding the plot to frame him begin to make themselves known especially surrounding the new villain Deluge. Truly this series and it’s companion Black Manta are breathing a new bit of life into the Atlantean side of the DC Universe, and it’s beyond exciting to see.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Jackson Hyde’s first days taking over the role of Aquaman aren’t off to the greatest of a start, since he’s on the run from Atlantis itself after being framed for heinous crimes.

With superhero stories, it’s a time-honored tradition to throw heroes into the proverbial (and literal in the case of this series) deep end, putting them up against great adversity that they can rise up against. Sometimes that adversity is a tough new foe they must defeat, and sometimes it’s someone or something trying to rip their very lives apart. Here we’re getting a bit of both worlds.

That’s because the individual that attacked Jackson in the first issue and set off the chain of events he’s being blamed for, returns and is eventually revealed. Brandon Thomas has done an exceptional job not only fleshing out Jackson Hyde and the Curry family connection/lives as well as Jackson as a character, but also expanding what we know about Xebel as a whole as well as its residents that are within the sphere of Atlantis.

One of the really great things this issue does is find a way to do the “tour of the DC Universe” sort of trope, in a very interesting and effective, and logical way. Thanks to the planning ahead of Mera and Arthur and the rest of the Justice League, a program is in effect that can be used to safe house and care for any registered members or their family. Through this program we see Jackson bounce around through various iconic team bases and places through the DC Universe.

We see quite a bit of Happy Harbor, the former home of the Justice League and Young Justice, including an Amazonian Purple Ray (used to heal Jackson) before he has to flee again. The rest are mostly a cameo as Jackson bounces the teleporters seeking refuge in the former Teen Titans tower in San Francisco. Here is where the cameos are done in such a visually fun and effective way.

Rather than actually just show panels of him arriving in these places, Scott Koblish, Wade Von Grawbadger, Adriano Lucas and Alex Guimarães do a double-page spread map of the United States with little cut-outs that name the places Jackson visits. From Happy Harbor to the former Detroit Justice League base to the Flash Museum and more. These sorts of moments, both the spread and the depicted visits, are one of the things I love about shared comic book universes. Reminders of what has been and will be, and tying things together rather than letting them fade to the side.

All through this issue, the art team does such a great job at bringing the variety of realms to vivid life, giving this book an infectious energy. It’s bright and detailed and fluidly smooth, yet at the same time, it has enough weight and shadows to it to remind you that things aren’t so great for Jackson and those around him right now.

Places like Atlantis and the other bases/places visited here can often be depicted in a more “realistic” sort of way. They feel real with what is done here but at the same time, they make sure that there is a fantastical look to them as well. These are fictional underwater and above water realms in a superhero comic book world. They should look like things you would never expect to see and be grand, which is very much accomplished here.

While Von Grawbadger and Lucas were on the previous issue, Koblish and Guimarães hop aboard after the work that Diego Olortegui and Skylar Patridge did on the previous issues. While there is a noticeable difference in the artwork, mostly stylistic, they are similar enough that it keeps a mostly unified look for the book even with the shuffling artists. Pairing artists with similar styles are always great to see because they tend to play off one another quite well as they all contribute to exploring the same world with their own energy leading the way.

The letterers of Andworld Design can be found across a great number of comic books these days, and that’s for good reason. They are fantastic and really add a ton to whatever book they are working on, no matter the universe or publisher. There are a lot of great bits of small to large and in charge bits of SFX throughout the issue that are fun, but the dialogue work is top-notch.

It far too often gets overlooked but the way dialogue is presented in a visual print medium helps set the tone just as much as the artwork and other elements. We’re easily able to tell the moments of normal talking apart from more emotional moments such as yelling or whispering, because of the changes and emphasis that are used. There are also subtle differences in the font for different characters while remaining uniform at the same time.

Every single issue is fantastic and makes me even more excited for the upcoming Aquamen series coming in February.

Aquaman: The Becoming #3 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.

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