“You are receptive to contact but resistant to control – you will give me back control –!”
Aquaman confronts Warhead head on as he attempts to understand the machine’s programming and its violent behavior.
Aquaman #18 takes us inside the mind of Warhead. This powerful military strategist and enforcer uses his technopathy to directly connect with Aquaman’s aquatelepathy in an attempt to take control of the King of Atlantis.
Writer Dan Abnett and artist Scot Eaton take us through both a physical and mental battle between Warhead and Aquaman as the latter tries to understand why the former is attempting to take control of him. The concept for the story is interesting, but it isn’t executed as well as it could have been.
Abnett continues to do a great job of characterizing Aquaman. He makes sure that Aquaman isn’t the type of superhero who hits first and asks questions later. In fact, even as Aquaman gets pummeled, he’s asking questions trying to figure out why Warhead is acting the way he is. It showcases his diplomatic nature and his need to find peaceful resolutions over violent conflict. Yet, there are also times where Aquaman throws this to the wind and resorts to violence right away. It can be a tad confusing. This characterization also has its flaws. It’s highly unbelievable that you are going to stand there and try to get to the heart of someone’s problems as they pummel you into oblivion.
Warhead’s own characterization is mixed and muddled which Abnett might be going for as he reveals the true cause of Warhead’s problems. However, the reveal of Warhead’s motivations seemed a little cheap and Abnett barely dives into the problem as much as he should. It’s surface level and is almost brushed aside at the end of the issue.
Scot Eaton’s artwork is solid. There is a bevy of different visuals that keep the story engaging and visually stimulating. He truly excels at bringing to life both the mental battle and the physical battle between Warhead and Aquaman. One of the ways he does this is through his page layout. He will put a mental connection on a long horizontal panel and then put three smaller rectangular panels opposite showcasing the physical battle.
The camera angles in the action panels are also unique. Eaton will mix in a first person point of view with a third person to really draw us into the battle and almost feel the impact of each blow and attack. His facial features are also expressive, showcasing a wide range of emotions on Aquaman and Warhead whether it is pain and agony or empathy.
Gabe Eltaeb’s colors bring out Eaton’s pencils. He can make a battlefield feel like hell with his mix of reds, yellows, and oranges. It really brings out the brutality and destruction wreaked by war. He is able to contrast this when he showcases Atlantis or Aquaman’s people by using blues to evoke peace and tranquility. It really captures and highlights the differences between Aquaman and Warhead throughout the story.
Aquaman #18 is probably one of the weaker issues Abnett and company have put out in a while. While there are some strong characterization points, there are also some pretty weak ones that can be downright confusing and contradictory. The major character definer for Warhead is also not fully explored and doesn’t give it the depth it truly needs. The art is solid with really good page layouts that help capture the multi-layered battle between Aquaman and Warhead. It’s definitely one to pick up if you’ve been continuing the series, but it isn’t a must-have.
- Interesting page layouts that capture the multi-layered battle
- Colors that highlight the differences in Aquaman and Warhead’s nature
- Contradictory characterization of Aquaman
- Warhead’s main character definer is poorly explored