Aquaman #44 / Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick / Penciler: Robson Rocha / Inker: Daniel Henriques / Colorist: Sunny Cho / Letterer: Clayton Cowles / Published: January 23, 2019
Aquaman is in search of his lost memories. He does not remember who he is or anything before washing up on the shores of the small fishing village of Unspoken Water. However, the residents are much more than they seem and may know how Aquaman can restore his memories.
Aquaman #44 opens on a beautiful image of Mera longing for her lost love. Her words describe her love for him and the ways she knows him through the water. A single image of him in water sculpture shows everything we need to know about her love. Others take advantage of Aquaman’s absence from Atlantis to vie for Mera’s attention.
Aquaman, or Andy as the people of Unspoken Water call him, searches for any clue about his past. He has a connection to the water but is terrified by it. We find out the villagers are more than just simple fishing folk as we witness a ceremony where they reveal their true selves. They are old gods of the sea, a pantheon that has been cast away. Aquaman’s only hope for salvation is with the mysterious woman, Caille, daughter of someone who left the village long ago.
Kelly Sue DeConnick’s wonderfully tragic story of love and loss, beginning in Aquaman #43, is a great jumping on point for new readers. Aquaman doesn’t know anything of himself, so we are learning along with him, but we are not forced to sit through another origin story or any retelling that a longtime fan wouldn’t already know. Answers are revealed, but they lead to more questions about what exactly is going on in this small fishing village.
Robson Rocha’s pencils are well done, clean and simple with good character designs. Daniel Henriques’s inks and Sunny Cho’s colors combine to create a fantastic looking book. The opening splash page of Mera’s longing and the gods revealed in the flames are among my favorite images. The colors create a very muted palette as if this island is a dream or another land. Caille’s red dress stands out against shadows.
Aquaman #44 is a great story of loss, and the final panels have me excited for the next issue. I’m new to Aquaman, only starting to read it now because of the new creative team. However, I worry that the bar is set too high for anything that follows because of it. Based on what I’ve read so far, I can’t wait for more.
VERDICT: 4.5 out of 5
Opinionated geek and writer born in the desert, raised on the beach, and now living in the mountains, Paul is a lifelong nerd who loves Star Wars, costuming, comic books, and all manner of geeky things.