A new Aquaman rises as the hero of multiple worlds, as the baptism of fire and character developing mini-series for Jackson Hyde comes to a satisfying yet tragic ending. As the variety of underwater locales and battles (as well as various parts of the DC Universe) have been brought to gorgeous life, the care and detail put into growing Jackson and his part of the DC Universe have been tremendous. This is not just a must-read for any Jackson or Aquaman fans, but just for comic book fans period.
When it comes to stories about the emergence or stepping up of heroic characters, it’s often said that they had a ‘baptism of fire’ or were ‘forged in fire.’ Meaning they go through some rough mission or event that pushes them in some way as they fully emerge onto the hero scene.
Jackson Hyde has been doing heroic things for a while but with the final issue of Aquaman: The Becoming he has his painful moment in the proverbial fire that pushes him to fully become the Aquaman that those around him always knew he could and would be.
From the very first issue, this series has had superhero trappings as it normal for the types of stories told at DC Comics, but it’s been far more than that. This has been a deep character study and growth moment for Jackson. At first, we were shown this situation where he was seeming to live the idyllic hero life of balancing the multiple worlds he was a part of (surface, Atlantis, Xebel) while hanging out with his mom and his found family of the Currys.
Brandon Thomas stripped that all away quickly and issue by issue showed us who Jackson is while also bringing him to the brink in many ways, even casting doubt on his own mother, as he discovered more about Xebel and the world he had come from. It all culminated here in a triumphant way that moved rapidly into that of tragedy, setting up all the pieces to make Jackson Aquaman but in a way where his connections to others have been weakened dramatically.
It’s been a truly engaging roller coaster of a ride, and it makes one even more excited for what is to come in the new Aquamen series that will see Thomas join with Black Manta writer Chuck Brown to move both Aquamen and Black Manta and the world of Atlantis into new areas. As both the companion miniseries starring father and son were compelling character pieces, that bodes very well for the new ongoing series.
Also, the way that this story was told of showing the present intercut with character-building moment flashbacks that help set up more of what is happening was a good choice. It allows for all the action that was inevitable while consolidating but still showcasing a lot of the character stuff that happened between the moments we had already seen.
Diego Olortegui, Wade Von Grawbadger, Adriano Lucas, and Andworld Design remain onboard handling pencils, inks, colors, and letters respectively with Serg Acuna jumping on board this issue to assist with pencils and inks. This is a series where even with the rotating pencilers and inkers, it has remained pretty consistent in style and depth, Xebel and Atlantis and the surface all having such distinct looks and personalities.
It’s smooth and energetic and the moments where the art style changes are not jarring but in fact complement one another very well. Part of what gives the various realms their different looks is how Lucas’ color styles change for the surface vs Atlantis vs Xebel, but at the same time keeping the heroic figures and other characters in bright popping colorful costumes that set them apart from the other figures in any given scene. Xebel has a more muted tone to it compared to the bright shiny beach that Jackson and the Curry family were on in the flashback.
Andworld Design has been spreading through more and more books these days, for very good reason. Those working for the lettering group have such a keen eye and know how to make the dialogue flow through the pages, just like the water the characters are moving through. Lots of good strong emphasizers and SFX to punctuate what is happening on-page.
Aquaman: The Becoming #6 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.