REVIEW: ‘Aquaman: The Becoming,’ Issue #1

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Aquaman The Becoming #1

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 is written by Brandon Thomas, penciled by Diego Orlotegui, inked by Wade von Grawbadger, colored by Adriano Lucas, and lettered by Andworld Design. It is published by DC Comics. With Aquaman headed on a mission on Mars, Jackson Hyde—better known as Aqualad—is stepping up to protect the sea and land in his mentor’s place. However, a mysterious new enemy is hellbent on destroying everything Jackson holds dear, starting with his reputation.

The idea of Jackson becoming Aquaman full time has been explored in DC Future State, as well as Young Justice: Outsiders. Thomas, who wrote an Aquaman story for the former, returns to both the character of Jackson Hyde and the concept of him taking over from Arthur Curry. His script leans into the idea of Jackson achieving a work/life balance: he runs training sessions with Arthur to prepare for apocalyptic events—quite literally, as one of the sessions is a holographic reconstruction of Apokolips; he talks freely about his superhero duties with his mother, and he even video chats with the members of Teen Titans Academy after taking down a criminal. And he has a crush on a waiter named Davi who works at his local restaurant, which adds an interesting wrinkle to his personal life.

Orlotegui and von Grawbadger provide the perfect balance of action and character scenes with their artwork. The very beginning of the issue features Aquaman and Jackson in the fire pits of Apokolips, fighting against a swarm of Parademons. One page features Jackson diving into the waters of Apokolips, gaining speed as he swims at a furious clip into the dark. Another page is set up like a Zoom call as Aqualad talks with Kid Flash, Raven, and Beast Boy-their word balloons even overlap as they say the Titans’ trademark battle cry “Titans Together!” And Jackson’s home of Amnesty Bay feels like the picture-perfect depiction of an All-American small town, with Lucas’ color art giving it a bright and sunny look.

The biggest development in the issue comes from Aqualad’s new enemy, who is named Deluge. Deluge seems to have a grudge against Jackson and engages him in combat, and in the end, succeeds in turning Jackson’s life upside down. Not only does Deluge seem properly menacing, but I applaud the creators for not taking the obvious route and using Jackson’s father, Black Manta as an enemy. Thomas said in an interview that The Becoming is meant to be a coming of age story for Jackson, and coming of age stories often feature tragedy as well as triumph. The best superhero stories often show their hero overcoming near-unbeatable odds, and hopefully, the remaining issues will live up to that tradition.

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 serves as the beginning of a new status quo for Jackson Hyde, featuring a new enemy and a life-altering series of events. If you are a fan of the Aquaman mythos or the Young Justice animated series, you’ll definitely want to pick up this series. Between this series and the upcoming Aquaman/Green Arrow: The Target miniseries, Thomas looks to be putting his own unique spin on the Aquaman mythos.

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Aquaman The Becoming #1
4.5

TL;DR

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 serves as the beginning of a new status quo for Jackson Hyde, featuring a new enemy and a life-altering series of events. If you are a fan of the Aquaman mythos or the Young Justice animated series, you’ll definitely want to pick up this series. Between this series and the upcoming Aquaman/Green Arrow: The Target miniseries, Thomas looks to be putting his own unique spin on the Aquaman mythos.