By John Ostrander, Geraldo Borges, & Netho Diaz
Aquaman’s first annual looks at an old adventure featuring Aquaman’s old team, The Others. This annual format lends itself well to this story because it is a fun and easy jump on point for new readers while offering new insight to established characters like The Others.
The story takes place as The Operative and his grandson are attacked while making repairs. Aquaman shows up and soon reunites The Others to take back Vostok’s stolen helmet. Writer John Ostrander fits a lot of development into this issue. Ya’wara and The Operative in particular are given a spotlight in this issue and the reader gains much stronger knowledge on their motivations.
Ostrander does hit on some fairly cliche story beats here as well. Whether it is a forbidden love between The Operative’s grandson or the assumption of lost trust due to a mind-controlled betrayal, some of these moments feel cliche and overdone. On top of that, the final battle feels like it is over a bit too quickly.
The art by Geraldo Borges and Netho Diaz supports some solid action scenes. Both the opening assault and the final battle are drawn with a lot of energy and variety. Each character in the story has a slower moment where they are offered something they want in exchange for helping the villain, and these are all drawn great, showing great facial expressions.
Sometimes annuals miss the point of what they should be doing. Instead of continuing an ongoing story it should be a stand alone that is friendly to new readers while adding new material for longtime readers. While some of the story ideas aren’t the freshest, Aquaman Annual #1 manages to fill out both of those categories.