Review: Aquaman #59
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Robson Rocha & Daniel Henriques
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Where’s Princess Andy? Ocean Master? Black Manta? Vulko? Arthur’s not the only one looking for his missing daughter, and the reveal promises an even bigger problem than the obvious.
Emotion is the word of day when it comes to Aquaman #59. And, it’s not only the anger that Arthur exhibits in his attempt to find his missing daughter. Kelly Sue DeConnick infuses moments throughout the issue in all the characters. Orm comes across with real compassion for Arthur’s predicament. You can feel Jackson’s insecurity and regret, and you can feel his mother’s love for him. You can even identify with Caille’s frustration with “the gods” and their inability to intervene. “No! No, you do not get to pull that. Gods interfere all the damned time. Just not when it actually matters.” What a great line! It may even make you laugh!
Rocha and Henriques hand in another solid effort as they capture many of these same emotions in body language and expressions. The draftsmanship is definitely a positive. Care is taken with all the characters.
Like last issue, Arthur comes across like himself. There have been too many issues in which Arthur felt out of character. Back on track, this book feels like it’s going somewhere instead of treading water. (Oh, what a terrible pun!)
One of the drawbacks to comics in general is also the flipside to one of the biggest positives in serial fiction. With comics and any form of serialized storytelling, characters are able to be developed over time. They can experience real life changes that are lasting. But, they can easily revert to their most iconic characterizations and be part of an endless cycle of ups and downs. While Arthur seems to be coming back to an iconic version (though not visually), his brother, Orm, aka Ocean Master fairly recently experienced some life changing events in Mera: Queen of Atlantis, currently being reprinted in Aquaman Giant. This is an extremely powerful story arc for Orm. It beautifully addresses what kinds of change people are capable of. And, in the first half of Aquaman #59, DeConnick has me eating out of her hands. Orm shows the restraint of a changed man. He shows the compassion of a fellow father. Orm makes me believe that he’s turned the corner…and then…? Orm as a reformed villain and reluctant ally to Arthur is much more interesting than, “it was all a trick.” Just like Arthur as a husband and father is much more interesting than an angry, slacker loner.
Kudos to DeConnick for making me believe in Orm, even if just for 1/2 an issue. You spoke to my heart, I’m a sucker for redemption and reconciliation. Despite this turn, Aquaman #59 keeps the ship headed in the right direction. In addition, DeConnick uses the supporting cast well. Though, there’s no sign of Mera, Jackson Hyde gets an interesting plot line in his attempt to find baby Andy.
Now, where’s that underwater barber of which Aquaman is so desperately in need? Maybe for the wedding….