The haunting and deeply weird Aquaman: Andromeda returns this week with its second issue. Ram V, Christian Ward, and Aditya Bidikar tell a dark mystery set under the sea where a mysterious alien object has been found. A crew of people with super high tech from the government wants in, but Aquaman is on the scene who decidedly wants them very far away. There’s a mystery here involving the alien vessel and what Aquaman fears. If it wasn’t complicated enough, Black Manta shows up in Aquaman: Andromeda #2 seeking plunder.
Picking up where Aquaman: Andromeda #1 left off, the crew is nearing the strange orb lying on the bottom of the ocean. Soon the story shifts, though, continuing the trend for the series to defy your expectations. Ram V and Ward establish some rather unsettling behavior with government types running the show around the vessel. This not only plays into some dark, twisted stuff going on in the orb later, but further shows the operation is run by men with machismo and emotional issues.
With a book that imbues a sense of awe with its imagery on top of the very idea of a spacecraft humanity can only begin to fathom, one gets the sense humans aren’t evolved enough for what they encounter in this story. That’s further obvious when Aquaman shows up appearing godlike and all-knowing.
The art by Ward continues to be a perfect match for the story. There’s a sense of isolation and alienation found in the eyes of characters or in the scale at which characters stand amongst incredible technology. Just as you start to lock in on a character, Ward pushes in, creating a sense of unease as we’re far too close, but they’re seemingly lost. From there, a smash cut to another time and place takes us into their mind, which helps connect the reader to specific characters in this issue.
Even Black Manta, a character typically rendered in simple-looking armor, gets a fantastical look thanks to whisps of blue. It’s like he, like Aquaman, is godlike or from the stars. It’s a great way to establish that the human characters are in over their head just by the very sights of Black Manta or Aquaman.
Aditya Bidikar’s lettering continues to enhance a moment or what is being said. I particularly like how he’s using the tails on word balloons. The captions have a sense of dread or sullenness that’s also well done with black text over teal boxes.
If you’re seeking answers, this issue delivers a few to satisfy the impatient. Ram V helps define the crew a bit more, and the orb on the bottom of the ocean begins to have more of an identity. It’s still a titillating mystery, though, and the role of our hero and villains are well done.
Readers of a certain age will liken some of what you see here to The Abyss with an unnerving horror underbelly. If that sounds appealing to you, you’ll love Aquaman: Andromeda for how it makes you feel dread and uncertainty. In the same way Michael Crichton made us fear corporate overreach in Jurassic Park and the unknown in Sphere, so too does Ram V and Christian Ward spark the imagination.
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