What writer Brandon Thomas and artist Diego Olortegui created together in Aquaman: Becoming # 1 is a remarkable debut issue. In this brief 22-page comic, they fully catch up with readers unfamiliar with Jackson Hyde (aka Aqualad) while also weaving references to other Atlantean activities in an incredibly satisfying way. While the first issue is bound to rely on a little help from Jackson’s friends, and much of its narrative momentum comes from his relationship with other (perhaps more popular) heroes, the fact that the story works overall makes it a very impressive number 1. from DC Comics.
Even though the opening sequence throws the reader into the deep end without a flotation device, To become allows readers to quickly learn about Jackson Hyde’s status in the DC Universe, and how this new series will take him past. Olortegui, with inker Wade von Grawbadger, quickly shows a kinetic style of motion capture and action within those opening pages that give readers a great distribution of character across the action. It is sometimes easy for artists to skimp on detail when a lot of movement occurs in comic book sets, but Olortegui and von Grawbadger never shy away from making sure there is consistency throughout. problem, especially in panel-to-panel transitions.
While readers quickly learn that the first few pages aren’t exactly what they appear to be, they do lead to parts of To become that work best, Jackson Hyde’s relationship with those around him. The scenes he shares with other DC heroes in the room (Aquaman, Mera, multiple Titans) are like a kaleidoscope of his personality undertones, but a sequence where he shares a meal with his mother and receives flirtations could be. his best. Or To become really sings in its quieter moments – the large splash pages that revel in the setting or the larger action panels that complement the dialogue that sets them up. A panel of Hyde emerging from the sea and into the morning air at Amnesty Bay is simply wonderful.
Thomas works in the intricacies here through dialogue, but the panel-to-panel facial expressions of Olortegui and von Grawbadger are what really sells the emotions of this storytelling. Jackson, like most of us, is awkward at times, and even in times when he does become a hero, his personality allows that to shine through. In fact, the subtlety of the storytelling regarding Jackson’s place as a DC hero and also as a queer person are all impressively married.
As Jackson returns to Atlantis towards the end of the issue for some additional simulation training, he hears all the things we just learned about him, but told from the perspective of Aquaman: The To become villain with no name. It is a moment that delivers the thesis for the entirety of To become, bringing this character down to size in a way that will make his journey to become Aquaman that much sweeter.
published by DC Comics
At September 21, 2021
Written by Brandon thomas
Pencils by Diego Olortegui
Inks by Wade von Grawbadger
Colors by Adriano lucas
Letters from Andworld Design
Covered by David Talaski