Aquaman #32 (DC Comics)
Runners Up: Damage #1 (DC Comics), Batman #39 (DC Comics)
I should start by saying that this isn’t the issue to start reading Aquaman. Now, that seems like a weird thing to say about a comic that I have chosen as the top of the week, but it has a lot to do with why it holds that spot. Since Dan Abnett took over the reins of the long standing Justice Leaguer, he has been subtly crafting a complete and contemporary vision of Arthur Curry and his supporting cast. Though not every issue was spectacular, they all seem to have been purposeful and driven by a desire to bolster the character’s role in the reborn DCU. Aquaman wasn’t always a blockbuster, but it hasn’t been boring. Here, many of the seeds planted are beginning to come to fruition as Abnett puts his cast into play and finally brings them all together. Mera and Dolphin have been adeptly developed, they truly hold weight in this issue; Mera, almost as much as the title character. Ricardo Federici’s unique style also works well with our regal protagonist, and it is nice to see his work here. He doesn’t quite compliment the whole of Superherodom, but Federici is a wonderful talent who can enhance certain narratives.
Tony Daniel, Robert Venditti and Dan Miki bring us the action-packed Damage, a new character with an old codename’s first outing. Rumor has it that DC is using the old “Marvel Method” on The New Age of Heroes initiative, and that certainly would make a lot of sense here. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the method is basically this: a writer gives a plot to the artist, the artist draws the book and then the writer returns to fill in details, dialogue, etc. Tony Daniel, an underrated writer in his own right, is the perfect artist for this type of system. Whether or not the method was used here, the audience is treated to an intriguing first issue with Daniel and Miki’s expert visuals.
Last up this week is Batman, brought to us by Tom King and Joëlle Jones. This wasn’t my favorite issue of King’s run by any means, but I like his commitment to highlighting the relationships that Batman has with his fellow heroes. There is also an exploration of what it means to be a superhero and, perhaps, the sacrifices one must make to get there. The last page, while not a shocker after the issue, should lead to an interesting pay off. Also, Jones delivers again and DC should keep her on these big books as long as she’s game.