Black Manta continues his campaign of revenge against Aquaman while the Atlanteans attempt to contain the chaos engulfing Spindrift Station. Will the disaster at the embassy make it impossible for Atlantis to salvage their tense relations with the dry landers?
After a brief expository flashback, Aquaman #2 picks up right in the middle of the Black Manta vs. Aquaman brawl that began in the previous issue. While these two are viciously maiming one another, the visitors to the Atlantean embassy are in peril from the fire and debris tearing the structure apart. Seemingly, Manta has won no matter what the outcome, as Arthur and the Atlanteans will surely never be able to recover from this stain on their reputation. However, it seems Arthur Curry’s honor and resilience has been underestimated yet again.
The most interesting thing about this first arc of Aquaman is how straight it’s being played. This is truly a back to basics, no-nonsense story that securely stays within the parameters of the established and recognizable Aquaman lore. Dan Abnett seems to be very at home with this, as it has been his calling card ever since last year’s exciting Titan’s Hunt. If you are looking for new ground to be broken here you, will most likely be disappointed. However, I think that given the general confusion surrounding this oft-maligned character and his traditionally polarized reception, going backward to go forward is the smart play here.
Seeing the return of Black Manta to the forefront of an Aquaman story is always exciting, as for such an intriguing villain he seems often underused. Manta’s unrelenting quest for vengeance on Aquaman also serves as an effective vehicle to establish the status quo moving forward with this series. Arthur’s readiness to put his life on the line solely to preserve his people’s honor displays his nobility and sets it as his defining quality. This is Arthur the King who values honor, justice, and the love of Mera and his people above all. While a traditional characterization, it is a contrast from some of the more ruthless portrayals we have had. Furthermore, the fallout of Black Manta’s terror attack will almost certainly be the plot direction moving into at least the next arc.
Scot Eaton picks up art duties on Aquaman #2 after Brad Walker’s first issue. This is slightly jarring as we are coming into the middle of a story, and the two artist’s styles are not particularly similar. Eaton’s art in this issue favors a more straightforward and traditional approach to “camera” positioning as well as straightforward panel layouts that sometimes leave a fair amount of unutilized space on the page. This is a disparity from Aquaman #1 which highlighted a more cinematic style and layouts that featured more variety. Overall, Eaton’s art works fine and in no way should preclude a purchase. The emphasis is not on problems with the art, but on the disconnect between the art in the two interconnected books.
To bridge the gap between the first and second issues we have Gabe Eltaeb on colors. He brings a real sense of vitality to this book, which considering our hero and villain spend most of the book battling in a pool of water, is impressive. The water itself is about as dynamic as can be and the surrounding environments and characters brought to life with a wide range of hues on display.
Aquaman #2 is a solid entry into both its own series, and the Rebirth initiative as a whole. It continues what is a great jumping on series for Aquaman newcomers and seasoned fans alike. Dan Abnett is quickly making himself indispensable to the modern pantheon of DC comics creators.
- Back to basics, no-nonsense plot
- Great for newcomers and long-time fans alike
- Disparity of art style from the first part of the story