CONVERGENCE: AQUAMAN #1
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Cliff Richards, John Rauch
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: April 15, 2015
What is an Aquaman who is domed away from inhabitable water? Well, he’s brooding and rather grumpy!
Hooked-hand Aquaman is the star of this tie-in and I will admit that even though I am a big fan of Aquaman and Mera and their dynamic that has been around in the Aquaman ongoing, brooding, grumpy Aquaman works for me too. Bedard’s look at how Aquaman would react to be stuck in the dome is very interesting and certainly is a different take than much of what we’ve seen in Convergence. This Arthur is still a hero, he will do what he has to in order to save others, but he’s not going to be overly pleasant about it…which totally fits. There are challenges that are unique to Aquaman in this issue that keep it very interesting and Bedard captures what about this situation is unique to Arthur quite well. This surly hero is darker than what we’ve seen from other characters in the Convergence tie-ins, and appropriately his primary foe is very dark. The entire issue is a grittier take on Convergence which is a nice shift in tone, as an event like this certainly would not be filled with amicable superhero brawls in all directions.
Where the issue falters for me, in places, is with Cliff Richards’ artwork. Some of it is absolutely brilliant – he captures the moodiness of Aquaman very well at times – but there are aspects of his art style that do not make the emotional impact the situation could have. His style, especially with respect to facial work, is very minimalist in that there is next to no detail in the cheeks and structure of a characters’ face. The contours of their faces are non-existent and, at times, this leads to faces that are completely devoid of emotion. Their eyes may look shocked but the rest of their face looks like someone who has had too much Botox and can’t express emotion of any kind. Considering some of the emotional weight of the themes this story is looking at, there were points where the art just didn’t drive the message home, even when it was obvious what the story was going for. In those moments I found myself pulled from the issue rather than drawn in, and that was disappointing. John Rauch’s colour work is strong and, at times, attempts to make up for the lack of definition in the facial structures, but it doesn’t quite fly. The issue is not a write-off though, by any means, as there are panels by Richards that are excellent, but there are definitely issues at points.
Convergence: Aquaman #1 is a darker take on the event and Bedard and Richards give readers a brooding Aquaman that operates at Batman levels of grumpiness. This darker take works, for the most part, and when the art is on, the issue excels. When the art is lacking the emotional wallop it could have, it is a middle of the pack read but I will be back for more of this take on Aquaman when the second issue drops.
The Verdict: 7.0/10