Review: Aquaman Annual #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick & Vita Ayala
Art: Victor Ibanez
Colors: Jay David Ramos
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
After a two-bit wannabe destroys Amnesty Bay’s Founder’s Day celebration, Aquaman and his friends must find a way to salvage the event, despite the sign of Doom hanging in the dark skies. Along the way Arthur learns a bit more about two of the Elder Gods who now make their home there.
The best things about Aquaman Annual #2 is the change of pace, day in the life type of story that DeConnick and Ayala tell. Unfortunately, that’s about it. There are a few little things, such as Jackson Hyde’s characterization, he brings a freshness to this group of characters. This tale also reveals a little bit about the Elder God’s on a personal level that adds some humanity to their depictions.
This story takes place after the current arc “Amnesty,” running in Aquaman, and at least one aspect to the conclusion of “Amnesty” is given away. That’s a bit odd, even if it was probably an obvious one. Additionally, the effects of the Legion of Doom’s sign in the sky is treated as if it’s already been addressed. Regular readers have probably already put the pieces together on this one, but it feels slightly awkward.
Usually, a break from super-villains that focuses on the lead character and the normal people around him is a great change of pace. Aquaman Annual #2 does this, but something just doesn’t seem right. It’s the portrayal of Aquaman himself. He seems overwhelmed. Characters can be overwhelmed at times, but he doesn’t handle it with any sense of confidence, intelligence or experience. It’s disappointing. Consequently, when Arthur does learn a little something new about the Elder Gods, it feels sort of empty.
This direction from DeConnick which launched in Aquaman #43 , and is clearly inspired by the 2018 Aquaman feature film, is still difficult to reconcile with the Aquaman series by Geoff Johns in “The New 52” and Dan Abnett’s “Rebirth” issues. From his visual depiction, to his speech patterns and way he reacts to things, it’s just not enjoyable. It almost hurts at times. This more mundane type of story really exposes the weaknesses of this characterization of Arthur Curry.
While DeConnick and Ayala have the right idea in slowing things down for a day in the life story of Amnesty Bay, this also turns out to be the issue’s biggest weakness. It forces DeConnick and Ayala to focus on Aquaman’s character, and the dense, slacker of Jason Momoa’s portrayal in the DC Extended Universe films just doesn’t feel right at all. Instead of giving the reader a warm fuzzy with Aquaman and the people around him, it begs the question, “when will the real Aquaman return?” And can we get that guy in the movies, too?