[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Max Fiumara
It opens with Aquaman showing Mera the site where he would like to build a great tower that goes so high, it even towers high above the waterline. His dream is that this would be a place where both sea and surface dwellers could come together to share ideas. Surrounding the tower would be the new capital city of Atlantis
The story jumps ahead to the future where this magnificent tower has been successfully in use for years. Wonder Woman, Superman and Hal Jordan come to visit Aquaman and Mera and are introduced to their new son, Tom. Age has set in for all of the League members, especially Hal Jordan who is the only human among them. Jordan is even missing an arm he must’ve lost in a past battle.
Before they can enjoy their reunion, there is an attack within the capital city and soon things quickly begin to unravel. Things they believed were true end up being lies.
The story is compelling and keeps you entertained throughout. The sheer optimism of this Aquaman is exactly what seems to be missing from the regular ongoing title where he comes across as a defeatist. The ongoing title has been great with that single exception and this is a refreshing departure from that.
It’s also fun to speculate on what all has transpired these long years in the DC Universe, especially how Hal Jordan lost his arm.
Without giving it away, the ending is rather powerful, and a testament to the power of belief over reality.
The artwork in this issue is very inconsistent. The layouts are great, but some of the final illustrations feel like a bad indie comic. If it was the artist’s intention to feel like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, then he was successful in his effort. But if he’s wanting to become a permanent mainstream artist, I would suggest practicing facial anatomy. To be honest, unless he’s really fast and was hired simply because he can punch out such a large issue quickly, then I don’t understand why DC Comics hired him in the first place since I’ve seen them reject much better artwork than this.
As for the writing of this story, the delivery is great; however, the story is very reminiscent of an older and well-known story. In 1985, Alan Moore wrote the story “For the Man Who Has Everything” in Superman Annual #11. In the story, Superman experiences something very similar as Aquaman does here and under a similar reason. This storyline was also adapted into an episode of Justice League Unlimited in 2004 and again on Supergirl in 2016.
Despite the artwork being inconsistent and the story being lifted from Alan Moore, this is still a great read. As a story it’s great; as an original story it’s horrible, so it loses points for originality, but I still enjoyed the issue overall. The visionary and optimistic characterization of Aquaman alone is worth the read and the one thing the ongoing title is missing.