Review: Aquaman #52
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Robson Rocha & Daniel Henriques
Colors: Sunny Gho
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Aquaman and friends fend off an attack by a sea monster, but not without the cost of one of their allies. The funeral ends with a surprising arrival….
There a few character moments which are done very well, otherwise, the strength of this issue is the action sequences. I mean, Aquaman vs. Sea Monster is pretty epic. The final surprise at the end may be the single best aspect of Aquaman #52.
Jackson Hyde continues to be enjoyable. His youthful enthusiasm is contagious. He has the potential to be a break out character. It seems that he has a decision to make in the coming months if the solicitations for December are to be believed. Aquaman fights hard for his friends from Amnesty Bay, his connection to the place in moving and heartwarming. Additionally, it’s nice to see Tula in almost reconizable Aquagirl attire. Perhaps, she will never be called such, but it’s a nice call back to a classic look.
The fight between Aquaman and the sea monster has a traditional feel to it and Arthur basically gets down to the business of protecting the people of Amnesty. It’s a well executed action sequence as Jackson gets to show his enthusiasm and Arthur exhibits his tenacity, one element consistent with any depiction of Aquaman.
The twist at the end with the arrival of author Tristan Maurer seems to indicate he himself is the …. Well, I shouldn’t spoil it, but that’s a pretty interesting development. Seems like Maurer’s story might be more interesting and complicated than Aquaman’s!
It’s interesting that almost every positive in the issue leads to a counter negative. Jackson Hyde seems to be the most glaring. It’s really a shame that classic Arthur Curry is not here to mentor him. This kid needs Aquaman and this modern interpretation is just not interested in being a father figure. Its a real shame that we’ve lost that Arthur to this Arthur.
Tula’s appearance in Aquaman #52 in nearly classic Aquagirl garb reminds the reader of Garth, Aqualad- the first Aqualad and his limited role in the contemporary DC Universe. He appeared in Titans Hunt and Titans when it launched during “Rebirth,” but he hasn’t really been seen in Aquaman. What is Garth’s role in this contemporary DCU? It’s a glaring omission that needs to be explored, especially with the re-introduction of Jackson Hyde.
Speaking of glaring omissions, what happened to Mera this issue? We saw her make a fateful decision last issue, but what of her now? She’s become as important as Arthur to Aqua-fans, and it seems like a poor choice to have left her out of this issue. Every issue is better with Mera!
This issue is evenly balanced between the good and the bad. While the technical aspects of DeConnick’s writing are hitting on all cylinders, it’s very hard to feel right about the depiction of Aquaman. It’s a far cry from Geoff Johns’ “New 52” run or Dan Abnett’s “Rebirth” issues. There’s clearly an editorial directive here that is pushing DeConnick in a direction. While Aquaman feels like a stranger for the most part, Jackson Hyde is a truly enjoyable character to explore. The mystery of Tristan Maurer pushes things slightly over the middle. One might have to muddle through until reason returns and the Aquaman we know and love actually returns.