Story: Dave Wielgonz
Art: Jose Luis, Adriano Benedetto
Colors: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Wes Abbott
What They Say:
Story 1 – Aqualad fights off a surprise attack from the Electrocutioner! Story 2 – Black Manta recruits Aqualad to assist him on a very personal mission.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As much as I do like Aquaman and all the tales that can come from him, I like the idea of the Aquaman: Deep Dives book exploring more than just him. This installment brings on Dave Wielgonz who provides two short tales of Aqualand that are about eight pages each, which requires a different style of writing. He’s paired up with Jose Luis and Adrianao Benedetto on the art duties with Rex Lokus coloring and it looks great with a lot of good detail and some wonderful sea blues in a few pages that are really striking. Too much of it is on land for my tastes but Aqualad lives a different kind of life than Aquaman does for the most part so it’s not a surprise.
The first story sees Jackson trying to get set up on a dating profile with a friend of his helping but he’s finding himself being encouraged to lean into the Aqualad stuff too much and to add some Batman color to it. Since he’s actually interested in his friend, but not reciprocated, it’s all just awkward. Which makes his walk home afterward frustrating for him in general, only to have the Electrocutioner appear looking to take him down so as to embarrass Black Manta, Aqualad’s father. It’s not exactly a bad plan but it allows Aqualad to detail just how bad his relationship with his dad is and why this approach won’t actually work. There’s a nice twist to it overall but it’s at most just a decent little story that gets us into Aqualad’s life a little.
The second tale focuses on family as well since Aqualad is always worried about ending up like his father. So when Black Manta comes to recruit him to help deal with a family issue, he’s reluctant but realizes eventually that he was brought on to keep his father from doing something bad. It’s a good bit of generational history as Aqualad learns a little and we get more reinforcement of just how much Black Manga abandoned over the years in pursuit of his goals with his own father and the collateral damage from it. Aqualad can see the cycle of violence and heartbreak in his family and the desire to not repeat it, but feeling the tug of it pretty strongly. It does flesh both characters out a bit more and while it doesn’t make Black Manta likable it does make him more of an interesting character knowing this aspect of him.
The Aquaman: Deep Dive series is definitely playing the field with its creative and that works for me so that it’s not singularly focused. Exploring these characters and settings definitely helps to showcase the DC Universe and Aqualad definitely has a following considering all of his TV exposure to a younger audience years ago, making for a good hook here. The shorter stories are a little rougher but they provide good hooks and come with solid artwork, making them enjoyable short pieces to get into without feeling like it’s drawing the whole thing out for what is a simple small tale. Definitely still enjoyable but the structure of t and the use of Aqualad does bring it down slightly compared to the first few issues.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology and Kindle
Release Date: May 14th, 2020