Story: Steve Orlando
Art: Ken V. Marion, Sandu Florea
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Wes Abbott
What They Say:
Aquaman and Tempest race to stop an enraged monster that has escaped its magical tomb under the city of New York.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Aquaman standalone takes brings in a new writer with this one as Steve Orlando takes a shot at the character. I’ve enjoyed a lot of what Orlando has done over the years both in the big two and on creator projects so it was easy to get into his style for this story. He brings in Garth as Tempest for this story and it’s one that works well as a mentor/student type piece. And it’s made all the strong thanks to the art team as Ken Marion and Sandu Florea give it some wonderful life, especially with the waterwielding and the magic, while Andrew Dalhouse delivers wonderfully on the color design. There always has to be a strong palette used when working on Aquaman because of the character himself but also because of all the usual water-related elements and that shines through beautifully here to really give it life.
The premise is good in how it works the larger picture of what Aquaman’s life is at this point as he’s dealing with ruling Atlantis and cleaning up problems from its past, something that his being of both worlds allows to happen a bit easier. The latest is that a seal placed deep below Manhattan has been broken from a time when the sorcerors used to rule this area long before people existed and it’s unleashed a giant serpent. It’s running havoc across the subway station and its expanding area of destruction with water rushing everyone and people being caught up in that. And people trying to avoid getting chewed up by the serpent or getting swept away in the currents or even crushed by its body while holding onto something. It’s got all the right elements of danger for this pair to contend with.
While that sets up the tension, the story works well in Aquaman trying to get Tempest to do more than just waterwielding. Since he has a lot of strong magic at his disposal, there’s a lot he can do to wrap this up quicker. But Garth is frustrated and concerned about this because he’s lacking in the confidence to do it right in this situation and a mistake can cause more problems. But that’s part of what Arthur is trying to get through to him in that he has to take the risks, to push himself to do his absolute best, because there are lives on the line and he may be the only one that can save them. It’s presented very well as it unfolds as the stakes rise and as Aquaman finally gets close enough to hear what the creature is thinking as communication isn’t the easiest thing. It helps to smooth out a few wrinkles here and there and why things are trying to be cleaned up without having to kill the creature.
There’s a lot to like with this standalone tale. Orlando’s script gets us to feel the bigger scale of events and what Aquaman is doing as the ruler of Atlantis but it also paints the smaller picture of him teaching the next generation how to do what’s needed in the future – and in the present. Both work well as do the ties to the distant past that gives it a bit more weight. Marion and Florea’s artwork is great throughout with all the water effects while Dalhouse’s color design brings it to life beautifully. It’s a wonderful little standalone tale that touches on the key points of both characters very well.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology and Kindle
Release Date: May 7th, 2020