Review: AQUAMAN #43

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles
Edited by Andrea Shea, Alex Antone, Brian Cunningham
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: December 19, 2018

“The sea is angry.”

The cover declares this issue to be an “All-New Aquaman,” and it’s not wrong. It’s also not right. Most importantly, it also might not be the best way to lead in for writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s debut, as “Aquaman” only appears in flashbacks. Joining DeConnick on Aquaman #43 is penciller Robson Rocha, inker Daniel Henriques, colorist Sunny Gho, and letterer Clayton Cowles.

Following the “Drowned Earth” event co-starring the Justice League, Aquaman is left in an undisclosed location unaware of his identity. This strikes me as kind of a cliché move for a new direction, and one that seems like it’s been done a time or two with Aquaman, if not in exact execution, then certainly in spirit.

DeConnick uses Aquaman’s identity ignorance to seed the title with a new location (“The Village of Unspoken Water”) and the appropriate supporting cast. Members of that cast include a lady in a red dress, a guy with magnifying glasses, and a few other characters.

There’s not a lot of action, and not a lot of character development to sink into, just one-liners and teased plots, but nothing that has bite to it. The most dynamic page in the issue is the woman in the red dress – Caille – standing on a hill looking out to the sea.

Rocha does a great job with that image, which would be even more amazing if it meant something. Unfortunately, that’s kind of how the art goes throughout Aquaman #43. Rocha draws amazing everythings, but sometimes those drawings have nothing to boost them. Two of Aquaman’s most dynamic scenes are of him standing. The drawings look great. Henriques inks them meticulously, and Gho layers in gorgeous color work, but it feels like more could certainly be done.

Technically, Aquaman #43 is sound, even very good, but it’s a lot of set-up that doesn’t have meaning. At least not yet. For now, it’s a collection of characters filling the pages while not being very compelling. I’m hesitant to dismiss this story out of hand, but I don’t have much to hold onto that makes me want to come back next issue. That “All-New” cover also established this is the first chapter of a five-part tale, so there’s more to come that will undoubtedly shore up relevance, interest, and maybe even action, but taken by itself, this one’s a bit of a letdown.

The Verdict: 6.0/10



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