AQUAMAN & THE OTHERS written by Dan Jurgens, art by Lan Medina, Allen Martinez & Matt Milla wrap up it’s first arc! The storyline “Legacy of Gold” ends here with a fizz and a wham!
AQUAMAN & THE OTHERS is a fun and very diverse both with the current creative team and the actual character line-up. Three of the eight teammates on the current Others “group” are women, and all three are women of color. Of the remaining three men that have been on the team thus far (minus Arthur), one is also a man of color. That makes four of the eight lead characters not white and that’s much better than most comic book teams.
One member of the current team, Aaron, is the grandson of the aged super-spy Operative and looks like he may be replacing him on the team soon or at least will be groomed to. This has already happened with the character Sayeh replacing her sister Kashina after the latter was killed and the former inheriting her oracle and prophetic visions. If Aaron replaces his grandfather on the team, that means the diversity number actually improves with only three of the remaining seven members being white. So this team can only improve its stats.
Would it be great if it was four, five women on the team and of the remaining characters only Arthur himself was white? You bet. But this is also really good. DC does get a lot of flack and while they (much like Marvel) have a lot of shortcomings when it comes to diversity and do deserve criticism, and they do have to work harder, I do think people are overlooking this book and its team for the representation it does give. Because it’s right here.
Bereserker and teleporting “jungle girl” Ya’Wara is very active in this. I’d almost call her the second main lead. Without her teleportation (via the Atlantian artifact the Globe of Transportation) and actions Arthur, who had been stabbed by our baddie, Goran, would have died.
Plotwise we last left Ya’Wara waking up what looks like a clone of Vostox on the moon, who mind you had been dead. He is aggressive and speaks only Russian. She gets in a tussle and puts his Atlantian helmet onto the awakened Vostox as Vostox’s “ghost” told her to and he suddenly remembers everything and speaks English once again. Ya’Wara and Vostox then crash the party and assist in Arthur getting healed and dispatch of Goran. It’s cool stuff really. Vostox-X seems to be of a Moon (2009 film)-like Russian cloning program. The new Vostox claims he’s the original and the other was the clone, but we are not given a clear answer which one is which. Sayeh is also really impressive, I like her role, the respect given to her in the artwork, and in general the active role they gave her. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for her character now that she has taken up her sister’s mantle. The art in general is good, it’s pretty, but it’s not going to be winning any awards. The fact however that the women have distinctive faces is something all artists need to take notes on. Aquaman and The Others do deliver in that regard.
This issue, however, felt a bit rushed due to “Future’s End” issue being the next one, and the solution and ultimate resolution against Goran and his alchemist buddies was a bit weaker than I would have liked. The art also tended to do a little bit of fast forwarding and while it’s economical and sort of retro in a pulpish way, it lends a very jumpy feeling. Sky Alchesay wasn’t given much to do either, and while I know her powerset is very specific, they still could have had her doing more once the big tussle started to happen.
I really think this series deserves a lot more attention. Aquaman being a viable character is the last thing many people ever imagined after so many years of being treated as second fiddle and then being killed. The fact he has a really cool occult-y fantasy team book in addition to his regular title, well that’s really intriguing. The additional fact it’s so diverse is nothing to dismiss either and people should point this out when dealing with arguments that DC isn’t doing anything. They’re certainly not perfect and in general aren’t doing enough, no, but again they do have this, and it’s pretty solid stuff.