Aquaman: The Becoming #1
I don’t know why I believe any more that any superhero comic will be a good starting point. They’re all so invested in their universes that it’s nearly impossible to join in without a lot of work and investment.
I haven’t read DC comics for a while — I have so many other things to read these days, with stories that are more inclusive and welcoming. (Plus, I feel as though I kind of filled up my lifetime quota for the genre a while back.) I was curious to find out more about this new Aqualad, though, particularly given the prominent Pride logo on the cover, so I gave Aquaman: The Becoming #1 a try. It’s a six-issue miniseries written by Brandon Thomas with art by Diego Olortegui and Wade von Grawbadger.
The opening six-page fight scene was expected but not particularly rewarding. I’ve never been interested much in Darkseid, and I had to look up what the Parademons were called, as they’re not identified here. That doesn’t much matter, as they’re simply cannon fodder. Some of the layout choices keep things visually interesting, if you’re involved in yet more punching and violence. I’m not — which probably means superhero comics are not the genre for me, as that’s key to the appeal.
I’m more looking for character interactions, so the next scenes, where Jackson talks with Arthur and Mera, and then we meet his mother at a local cafe, were much closer to what I was hoping for. Remember, I’m assuming this will serve as sufficient introduction to a character who’s new to me but important enough to get his own title. I want to see what’s significant to him, what motivates him, what he does. There’s a bit of that, but most of it are hints or references to other events, and I generally felt a little lost.
The scene where our hero gets flustered when he meets a new cute boy (as Mera had teased earlier) is adorable, although there’s some kind of plot going on, as Mom later pins the kid in a conversation we don’t get to hear. There’s also someone spying on him.
We get a page or so with the Titans, tying into another media property (they aren’t identified, but I generally recognize them), before another attack and a cliffhanger. I know all of this is supposed to whet my interest, but there just wasn’t enough of what I was looking for, particularly since the cliffhanger is very-Atlantis focused. I want to see the lead here, not in the underwater fantasy kingdom. As I indicated above, I’m not the right audience for this, anyway.
I find it interesting, though, that the four preview pages DC was promoting were the only ones with substantial character work, the scene I liked best in the cafe. The rest of the book is very much not like this, so it’s a bit inaccurate in representation. I wanted a comic that was more like that, but that’s ok, there are plenty of those stories outside of superheroes. The genre is trying to reach to be expansive for younger readers with different expectations, but there’s only so far it can flex.