This week we go under the waves with Aquaman‘s new DC Rebirth series, and get bitten by the She-Wolf!
Aquaman #1 (DC Comics)
Poor Arthur Curry. After being the butt of many jokes for decades, he finally got the chance to show how badass he was with Geoff Johns’ New 52 series. But much like Green Lantern, Aquaman quickly took a turn for the worst after Johns departed the title. Thankfully though, DC Rebirth has hit, and with it comes a new start for the King of Atlantis. With fan-favorite writer Dan Abnett and artist Brad Walker taking over the book, it’s time for Aquaman to show how awesome he really is.
Much of Abnett’s opening issue follows Arthur’s attempts to show off his new Atlantean embassy to the public. As a being of two worlds, Arthur is desperate to mend relations between Atlantis and the surface, and everything seems to be going smoothly until Black Manta attacks. Searching for revenge for the death of his father, Manta makes quick work of Mera and some of the press at the embassy, which causes Aquaman to attack, and…..
Well, that’s it. If there’s one negative thing with DC’s new twice a month schedule, it’s that the pacing of these new Rebirth books is really weird. Once Aquaman gets going, it suddenly hits the brakes and says, “see you next issue”! It’s almost like many of these books are so focused on creating a good jumping on point that they forget to set up some actual cliffhangers to get you to come back for issue two. Aquaman #1, for as well as it sets up this series, just kind of ends.
Despite this, artist Brad Walker’s pages are really well done. Walker presents Aquaman and Mera as imposing but kind figures that you wouldn’t be surprised seeing as leaders of a kingdom. The few action scenes in this debut issue are also handled extremely well by Walker, with the splash page of Aquaman attacking Manta being the highlight.
Aquaman #1 may end a little too soon, but it’s also setting up a strong foundation for what Abnett has planned for the book. With time, hopefully the weird pacing problems will be worked out, or perhaps it’ll read better as a trade. In any case, it seems like Aquaman is back on the right track, and hopefully this time it’s for good.
She-Wolf #1 (Image Comics)
Image has calmed down with the #1 issues lately, but now they’re going to be gearing up with some new titles pretty soon. Of all of these new titles, Rich Tommaso’s She-Wolf was the one the piqued my interest, and not just because I’m a fan of werewolves. Tommaso’s series seemed like it would be a really interesting spin on the horror of turning into a werewolf. Unfortunately though, nothing about this book was appealing to me.
Tommaso’s She-Wolf is very disjointed and unclear, which might be the point of the story. We’re never quite sure if our lead character was truly bitten by a werewolf, or if she’s just lost her mind. However, there were moments in the story where I was generally confused as to how we got from Point A to Point B. Even if Tommaso wanted to have us question our lead character, the fact that this book was so difficult to follow does his story no favors.
Tommaso’s art doesn’t really help the book either. His style is very loose, much more than I like, and his werewolf design jumps from a large dog at one point to a human with lots of fur and slight dog features. Again, some of this art is probably helping build up the weird sense of unease in this book, but honestly, there’s a part of me that kind of wishes Tommaso hired a different artist instead of doing the art himself. There’s nothing here that really enhances the story, and in fact it actually detracts from the book.
I’m pretty bummed with the end result of She-Wolf, as I was really intrigued by the concept, but it’s okay that I didn’t enjoy it. I’m sure there’s a market for this kind of book, and even though it didn’t appeal to me, it must appeal to someone to be approved by Image. But if you were going to ask me if I was picking up issue 2, I’d have to tell you that I would give it a hard pass.