By Dan Abnett, Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessey & Gabe Eltaeb
Dan Abnett’s Aquaman debuts a new arc this week entitled “Warhead” that explores the consequences of the war with Atlantis. Aquaman is still seen as a hero, but this coming arc looks set to put that to the test with plenty of interesting ideas being explored here. What’s great about this book is that it also doesn’t lose the humour, with a few great lighter moments that really shine, with the balance between humour and a more serious tone being an effective one.
The plot itself is fairly simple, and works as a way to both act as an epilogue to the previous arc as well as one that establishes the new one, bringing forth a formidable threat to Aquaman into play. One of Abnett’s strengths is the added depth to the supporting cast and he’s really able to give side characters like Erika room to breathe, fleshing them out a bit more and developing their relationship with Aquaman. The book also works in bringing Aquaman’s Aquatelepathy to the forefront as it deals with that in an interesting way, looking at its untapped potential. Because after all, Erika’s right when she says “Aquatelepathy? That sound a lot cooler than ‘I can talk to fish'”.
Aquaman himself also has to deal with his celebrity status, which includes being surrounded by lots of fans and having to deal with constantly signing autographs. “What Kind of Hero is Aquaman?” is a question that’s asked in this issue and it’s interesting to how Abnett addresses this, particularly in looking at Aquaman and his relationship with his fans. As well as this Abnett also devotes time in this issue to explore the prophecy, and the lengths that Mera will go to avoid it coming to pass. The Prophecy will no doubt have interesting ramifications in future issues as well, but for now, it’s dealt with effectively in one of the best scenes of the issue.
The artwork goes from strength to strength in this issue with the team of Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessey and Gabe Eltaeb really working well. Walker’s pencils are excellent, and it’s great to see attention to detail throughout this issue, with supporting characters being given as much emotion and depth as the main protagonists, and each location that we visit always has something going on in the background. Eltaeb’s colours also really work, adding more depth to Aquaman’s character and together the art team always make sure that his presence is felt.
With everything taken into account, Aquaman #16 is an effective epilogue to the previous arc that also sets the foundations for what is to come as Abnett finds a way to balance both plots effectively in a way that one never overshadows the other. The fact that this series seems to be headed in a new direction as well also seems to be a welcome change, and based on this issue, Aquaman has everything that it needs for it to be a successful approach going forward.