If Aquaman: The Becoming #1 was about heart, the second issue is about protecting that heart from being crushed forever. Brandon Thomas has done well to make Jackson Hyde hopeful, strong, and a proper successor to Aquaman. There’s just one problem: somebody wants to knock him off his pedestal and lock him up. The second issue takes place moments after the first issue ended and soldiers from Atlantis are trying to lock him up and ask questions later. That never works for valiant heroes, right?
Funny enough, Jackson not so much the focus in this issue, at least after the exciting opening action sequence. Much of the narrative is about Mera and her being questioned by Atlantis guards. The lack of respect for Mera is one thing, but the racism towards people from Xebel takes things to a whole other level. Mera and Jackson are from that same location and in her interrogations, she must navigate the racism around that. Ever the clever hero, it’s fun to see how Thomas has Mera interact with these guards and eventually make a move.
Outside of these scenes with Mera, this issue also develops a few other characters like Jackson’s mother. The complexities in relationships between Jackson and others are tugged at in a way that makes for interesting combinations and allies. That said, Jackson isn’t in the best shape by the end, which should make the choices made going forward delicate as he’s in no shape to find the person who framed him.
Diego Olortegui and Skylar Patridge share penciling duties with colors by Adriano Lucas and letters by AndWorld Design. Generally, the style of the book is reminiscent of what Patrick Gleason has done on other DC Comics. There’s a thicker line reminiscent of cel shading, a good level of detail, and yet a slightly cartoony look to the characters. The drama never wavers despite much of the book being centered on an interrogation scene, which is a testament to how the art keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Aquaman: The Becoming #2 is a good issue, albeit it’s more table setting than one might want. The setup is moving key characters around to new positions while supplying readers with some interesting Atlantis cultural elements that make it feel real and relatable. Jackson may not be the central focus, but it’s clear as day Brandon Thomas and his collaborators are creating thoughtful superhero comics.
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