An extraterrestrial threat has rendered the entire Earth inert. Frozen in song, humanity is now harmoniously united in the performance of a single note. With every hero aboard the Watchtower entranced by this malevolent melody, only two heroes remain unaffected: Aquaman and The Flash. Will these unlikely allies be able to cast aside their differences and put a caesura to this calamitous concerto? Or will this alien hymn leave our world a lifeless husk?
“They have made such a mistake.”
An excellent character exploration built on relationships, Aquaman and The Flash: Voidsong #1 is a refreshing team-up between two unlikely allies. Kelly and Lanzing’s focus on relationships is this issue’s true strength as it allows the reader to understand these heroes more deeply. Additionally, the creators’ juxtaposition of the heroes’ personal struggles draws comparisons between Aquaman and The Flash that aren’t inherently obvious. As a result, it is easy to see that despite their different approaches to being a hero, they still struggle with the same personal issues. Georgiev’s artwork with Beredo’s colors does a great job of conveying every facet of this story. Unfortunately, a few narrative choices and visual storytelling inconsistencies prevent this issue from being truly fantastic.
One of the most exciting elements of any team-up story is the relationship between the characters. Sure, Aquaman and The Flash are members of the Justice League. However, these two characters are rarely, if ever, seen paired together without the rest of the team. As a result, Aquaman and The Flash: Voidsong #1 promises a wealth of unmined story potential as we witness these two unlikely allies save the day. And on this promise, Kelly and Lanzing deliver.
As stated previously, one of the strongest aspects of Aquaman and The Flash: Voidsong #1 is Kelly and Lanzing’s focus on relationships. By starting the issue with two typical adventures of these heroes, the writers juxtapose their crime-fighting methodologies and position these pieces for their inevitable collision and team-up. Additionally, Kelly and Lanzing do an excellent job of illustrating that despite their differing approaches, these two heroes still struggle with relationships in their personal lives. By allowing their story more time to breathe and focusing on these relationships, Kelly and Lanzing have constructed a story that will enable the reader to relate to the heroes.
Within the pages of this issue, the writers present an Aquaman who desires to lead by example and relishes the opportunity to charge into battle. We also see how this creates friction with Mera as her king rushes off to face Black Manta instead of facing royal duties. Additionally, The Flash’s desire to help the Justice League interferes with his commitment to assisting Iris with the block party. Both heroes’ response to conflict feels fitting. Unfortunately, Barry’s dialogue during this reaction is where I take issue.
“Stop thinking with your feet, Flash, and start using your spine.”
As Aquaman races off to fight Black Manta, The Flash flees into the Speed Force. During this sprint, Barry says, “I know that if I just push a little further, time will give way. I can have that argument again. I can say the right thing. Or I can just keep running.” Given that Barry’s meddling with the timeline created Flashpoint and the New 52, this thought is incredibly insensitive, self-centered, and not heroic. It’s hard to imagine that Barry would consider making another potentially worse timeline to avoid arguing with his wife. Additionally, Aquaman confirms how insensitive this is by initially placing the blame for what happened to the Earth on his ally after returning from the ocean’s depths.
The interactions between our heroes help recover any momentum lost by Barry’s self-centered statements. Much of the dramatic tension in Aquaman and The Flash: Voidsong #1 results from these two characters butting heads on how to approach this situation. The result is sometimes humorous as The Flash whisks Aquaman to different locations across the globe. Moreover, the conflict comes to a head as our heroes discuss how to handle this alien crisis and save their loved ones.
Unfortunately, the creators’ focus on relationship building is a double-edged sword as the alien conflict mostly takes the back seat throughout this book. As a result, we learn little of the nature of this extraterrestrial attack. This is problematic as the series only has three issues, and it feels like there is a lot of ground to cover with the remaining books. It will be interesting to see if the narrative accelerates in the next issue.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Georgiev’s artwork with Beredo’s colors throughout Aquaman and The Flash: Voidsong #1. Georgiev’s artwork does an excellent job conveying the action sequences and emotional beats for each title character. Additionally, Beredo’s colors do an excellent job capturing the colorful world of these colorful heroes. Action sequences are vibrant throughout The Flash’s fight with the Rogues or muted as Aquaman faces off against Black Manta. One of my favorite pages in this book involves Barry racing around the world. Each panel bleeds together with lightning effects as The Flash is placed front and center.
Unfortunately, a few inconsistencies from a visual storytelling standpoint prevent the artwork from achieving perfection. For example, during one exchange with Aquaman, The Flash bounces from having his mask on to off. I understand that The Flash could quickly move his mask from on to off without the reading needing to see the motion. However, it is unnecessary for this sequence for him to do so.
Ultimately, Aquaman and The Flash: Voidsong #1 is an excellent character exploration built on relationships. Kelly and Lanzing’s focus on relationships in this issue is a double-edged sword as it allows the reader to gain a deeper understanding of these heroes but also puts the main conflict on the backburner. It will be interesting to see if the narrative picks up momentum in the next installment. Additionally, Geogiev’s artwork with Beredo’s colors does a great job of conveying every facet of this story. Unfortunately, a few narrative choices surrounding The Flash’s conflict resolution and visual storytelling inconsistencies prevent this issue from reaching perfection.
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