REVIEW: ‘Aquaman: The Becoming,’ Issue #2

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Aquaman: The Becoming #2

Aquaman: The Becoming #2 is written by Brandon Thomas, penciled by Diego Orlotegui & Skylar Patridge, inked by Wade von Grawbadger & Partridge, colored by Adriano Lucas, and lettered by Andworld Design. It is published by DC Comics. After the ending of the first issue, a terrorist attack has been attempted on Atlantis— and Jackson Hyde is framed for it! With Jackson on the run, the people of Atlantis question Mera about his whereabouts. But what does this attack have to do with Jackson’s Xebel heritage and the mysterious Deluge?

This issue has all the makings of a high-tension chase thriller in the vein of The Fugitive, with Jackson filling the role of Harrison Ford’s Richard Kimble. He has to fight off nearly every guard in Atlantis, and a page toward the end shows the toll that takes on him; his costume is covered in dirt, fresh wounds are bleeding on his face, and one of his eyes is swollen shut. Orlotegui & Partridge draw the hell out of the fight sequences, with a two-page opening spread depicting him as a speedy orange blur tearing through the various guards. Their take on Atlantis gives a distinctly aquatic element to its inhabitants’ clothing; many of the guards wear dark blue armor, and Mera wears a flowing white dress that looks made of coral to bed. Paired with Lucas’ bright and vibrant color art, the issue is a visual feast for the eyes.

Thomas’ script tackles the ever-present issues of prejudice, as two Atlantis guards believe that Jackson being a native of Xebel, is what supposedly led to his bombing the kingdom. Even Mera is put under suspicion as she was the princess of Xebel before marrying Aquaman. The fact that she’s trying to get her daughter Andy to sleep doesn’t even matter to them —though it does lead to a rather humorous sequence where everyone has to whisper around the baby. Andworld Design leans into this by depicting the words in everyone’s speech bubbles as tiny as possible, creating the illusion of whispering.

I do appreciate that the series is willing to tackle these themes, which only deepen its narrative. Jackson has long had to deal with the legacy of his father, Black Manta; the war between Atlantis and Xebel has only added to that baggage. When you factor in the fact that he’s an openly gay Black teenager, this adds an extra layer of meaning to his predicament; a Black kid being accused of something they didn’t do is way too familiar in the real world. And to top things off, his mother is keeping secrets from him, which also ties into the Atlantis/Xebel conflict. At times, this issue reminded me of a Young Justice episode—a series that also features Aqualad as a protagonist and features characters keeping secrets.

Aquaman: The Becoming #2 sends its hero on the run while bringing themes of persecution and prejudice to the forefront. With Jackson now considered an enemy of Atlantis, his road to becoming Aquaman will be more complicated than he thought.

Aquaman: The Becoming #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Aquaman: The Becoming #2
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TL;DR

Aquaman: The Becoming #2 sends its hero on the run while bringing themes of persecution and prejudice to the forefront. With Jackson now considered an enemy of Atlantis, his road to becoming Aquaman will be more complicated than he thought.