Aquaman: Rebirth #1. Dan Abnett- Writer, Scot Eaton & Oscar Jimenez- Pencillers, Mark Morales & Oscar Jimenez- Inkers, Gabe Eltaeb- Colorist.
For those of you worried that these Rebirth issues offer some sort of major continuity shift or reset, put your mind at ease. This issue could easily have been Aquaman # 53 or Aquaman #1 which comes out in two weeks. However, much to Dan Abnett’s credit he uses a mystery narrator to tell this issue’s story as well as provide the reader a primer on Aquaman for the uninitiated. If you’ve never read an Aquaman comic, then you’ll have no trouble understanding what’s going on in this issue. Clearly, it’s not the beginning of the characters adventures, but it’s a well thought out and executed starting point. In the case of this issue, the Rebirth moniker is more of a branding, that says “Jump on here!”
Much like Geoff Johns’ Aquaman #1 that launched the “New 52” run of the character, this issue takes great pains to address the ridiculous notions of Aquaman as someone who just talks to fish and is a bit of a joke. The narrator makes it clear that Aquaman is quite formidable and capable. Most importantly, Abnett adds depth to Aquaman’s character by elucidating his responsibilities to both Atlantis and the surface world. This is handled particularly well in that it both addresses the narrative as well as introduces new readers to this element of Aquaman’s mythos. This issue features Aquaman going after an Atlantean splinter group intent on committing a terrorist act against America. While this is entertaining enough, it is really what we learn about Aquaman and the mystery narrator. The reveal of the narrator at the end is perfectly obvious once he’s revealed, and it is a treat.
Mera. Mera is always a positive in an Aquaman comic. For many years Aquaman has been paired with Mera and that has been the iconic version of Aquaman. Her role in his life is examined in a way that makes it clear she will continue to play a key role in this book.
While this issue did a lot to elucidate Aquaman’s character and explain his status quo, the story itself was not that remarkable. Additionally, it did feel that it pulled a bit much from the “New 52” Aquaman #1 thematically. While I understand the reasoning behind this type of book for a jumping on point for new or returning readers, it felt a bit unnecessary for those already familiar with the character. While excited to see the mystery narrator, it does pose the question, “Haven’t we done this before?”
This title seems like it will flow seamlessly with the previous run. It appears that there are a number of themes in this issue that were mentioned in reference to Aquaman that will appear again in the upcoming series. Aquaman is a top tier character and this issue feels like a book designed to accentuate this. Aquaman is no joke!