REVIEW: ‘Year of the Villain: Ocean Master,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Dan Watters, with art by Miguel Mendonca, colors by Ivan Plascencia, and letters by Wes Abbott. Filling in the space between the events of Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth and the present, Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1 has Ocean Master explaining his absence to his former fiancé, Erin. The many trials and tribulations he endures are laid before both Erin and the reader. In the end, leaving both to decide what to make of the Ocean Master’s deeds.

Everyone loves a redemption story. We love to cheer for the long, hated villain who has finally come around and become something better. It helps us believe that anything we can overcome anything as well. Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1 takes a different path. Choosing instead to show its main character in a more conflicted light. The viewer’s vision of Ocean Master is colored through the lens of Erin. As the woman who was engaged to Ocean Master, whose son had begun to call him father, her opinion of him is justifiably harsh. And it is left to the reader to decide whether these views are correct, or if Erin is vindictive toward the would-be king.

Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1

Following the events of Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth Ocean Master spends a period in hiding. He recuses himself among the underprivileged of Atlantis. While there, he learns of things that guide him to new avenues in his quest for power. This quest and the results of it, bring conflict.

Watters does an excellent job keeping Ocean Master in a genuinely grey area. Nothing he does is approachable from a single perspective. And with all narration coming from Ocean Master himself, even the explanations can be called into doubt. Is his wrath indeed bound in the sense of duty? Or is his honor a convenient cover for his ambitions. Watters leaves enough doubt within the story to leave the reader second-guessing themselves. It is difficult to give a story a truly ambiguous narrative. But I feel that Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1 accomplishes this task with subtlety and skill.

Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1

The art present in Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1 does a solid job of complementing its story. The panel layouts are clear, as well as the art within. Mendonca shows his skills in his portrayal of the more emotional moments within the story. Pain, anger, and grief are all displayed well. He also shows skill when displaying Ocean Master’s emotional changes throughout the book through the character’s body language.

At its core, this is a story of change. Whether or not this change is purely a change in the circumstances surrounding its main character, or a more profound change for Ocean Master, is left up to the reader.

Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1 is available on December 11th, wherever comic books are sold.

 

Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1
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TL;DR

At its core, this is a story of change. Whether or not this change is purely a change in the circumstances surrounding its main character, or a more profound change for Ocean Master, is left up to the reader.