Aquaman #46 // Review
Finally, the action returns to Aquaman, but is it too little too late? Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the tale of Aquaman #46, with pencils by Robson Rocha, inks by Daniel Henriques, and colors by Sunny Gho. Previously, an amnesiac “Andy” (aka the titular hero of this book), was sent across the sea to reunite a young woman named Caille with her mother, who also happens to be an evil monster/goddess named Namma. Upon arriving, it was revealed that Caille was not actually Namma’s child, but had just been a means of hiding a beast that, upon being absorbed back into her body, would make Namma whole again. Now, Arthur must protect his new friend at all costs, or lose her to Mother Salt.
This issue, thankfully, gets back to the main story of Arthur rediscovering himself, but it still leans heavily on the Namma/Caille relationship. Unfortunately, DeConnick hasn’t yet given the readers much of a reason to care about either of these new characters. True, she has given a fair amount of backstory over the last two issues on both women, but none of that has endeared people to Caille, nor made anybody love Namma as a new villain. This late in the story (chapter 4 of 5) the readers should be invested in Caille, and want Aquaman to reclaim his inner hero so he can save her. Instead, Caille and Namma’s story comes off feeling like a paper-thin reason to push Arthur back into the world of heroics.
On the plus side, DeConnick fully delivers on Aquaman fisticuffs after four preceding issues of slow-burn drama, and the results are everything they needed to be. Arthur may still be having a hard time remembering who he is, but his reflexive fighting skills are back in full force. Almost as if Arthur is trying to prove he’s still got it, without hesitation, he runs headfirst into a fight with a giant salt goddess and doesn’t even flinch. If you’ve been missing Arthur punching things, DeConnick has heard you, and given you your heart’s desire in spades.
The art team, after struggling to tell Namma’s flashback story last issue, seems to be back on their game, too. Maybe the action is what was needed to wake them up, as well, but they definitely deliver the goods in this chapter of the story. Rocha does some top-notch monster design work and provides crisp, clean storytelling to boot. Henriques also does a great job bolstering Rocha’s work, but Gho delivers a somewhat dull palette that makes the story seem overly dark. That’s not to say he’s doing lousy work by any stretch of the imagination, but a brighter mix of colors could really make the art pop.
Overall, even if you’re not a fan of the Namma/Caille angle for this arc, this issue still gives the fans something they have been waiting for five chapters for. It’s worth checking out if you’ve been on the fence about continuing to pick up this book, but the next few issues will be the real test of whether or not DeConnick has an excellent long-term plan for Aquaman.