‘Aquamen’ is not only a fantastic Aquaman family-centered series, it is probably one of the most fun and emotional and family-centric comics on the stands right now. Embracing the legacy of the characters and delving deep into their worlds is bearing great fruit and proves beyond a doubt that these characters are great and have been great and should be featured like this far more. All while giving us a gorgeous energetic action-packed tour of the DC Universe in every issue.
For a lot of years, the Bat-family and to an extent the Super-family have dominated attention at DC Comics and gotten most of the series and times together. Getting all that juicy drama and family relationship stuff, but right now the Aqua-Family is definitely giving them a run for their money in Aquamen.
Through these four issues, Chuck Brown and Brandon Thomas have given us so much to take in and have juggled their varied cast so wonderfully. Rather than Arthur or Jackson or even Black Manta dominating all the space within the issues, there is plenty of moments and time for Tempest and Tula and Mera and even baby Andy Curry. Here we even get a really great bit of time dedicated to filling us in on how the various enemies of the Aqua-family pulled off their latest attack.
Issues like these, where there are flashbacks and exposition in order to clue the reader in on the details that led to the given plot, can be great or they can be rough. In this case, it’s great, as we learn about not only how Scavenger became so much more powerful but also more pieces to this whole Atlantean sleeper cell situation.
We get a whole lot of great action, with Batwoman still guesting, but what really stands out is just the wonderful character development and growth and interaction moments. The father/son sort of stuff with Jackson and Black Manta, as well as Manta’s reasons for why he’s working with Arthur and how they tie to Jackson is fantastic. This is a family book, and they have their issues and dysfunctions and moments but it’s just all so great. Their roundtable where everyone is assigned roles was probably one of my favorite moments (Andy steals the show there).
Sam Barsi and Adriano Lucas are back alongside Vicente Cifuentes on inks and Andworld Design on letters. As usual, we’re brought back into a bright, shadowy, colorful, and beautiful world. All of the character moments land because of the great attention to detail and the facial expression work is on point. Action scenes are smooth and dynamic, and the talking head scenes are well placed using varied and engaging paneling to bring that same energy even to those pages.
The inks as well as the colors bring weight and depth to everything, hitting the right notes to give us those darker tones where needed. Lucas nails that mix of superhero-like colors that are bright and bold but also makes sure that they don’t pop so much that they overwhelm, toning them down mixed with shadows and darker tones. Atlantis and most of the underwater areas are gorgeous because they not only are so alien to what we know above land in appearance but there are great shades of pinks and blues and yellows and other colors that set them apart too.
The folks at Andworld Design never miss with their great lettering work, bringing realistic energy to dialogue (allowing personality and tone to shine through) while making pages with lots of dialogue just flow by smooth. Volume is another clear indicator in the way they approach lettering, making sure that the louder or quieter moments instantly appear that way so there is no need to try and imagine what they should sound like. One also cannot forget the fantastic header text, as well as the big bold making themselves felt in the moment SFX that we have to feast upon.
This is just such a great all-around fun but powerful series, with family at the core, and I can’t wait to see where it goes to end this arc but also afterward when it reaches the sad reality that is Dark Crisis.
Aquamen #4 is now available.