Aquaman #45 Review
Writer: Kelly-Sue DeConnick
Artists: Robson Rocha
Inker: Daniel Henriques
Colorist: Sunny Cho
Cover Artist: Robson Rocha, with Daniel Henriques & Brad Anderson
Variant Cover Artists: Cully Hammer
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Previously in Aquaman…
Arthur (or as he’s been going by as he can’t remember his true name, Andy), was tasked by the elders of the village to return the daughter of the sea-goddess Namma, Callie, back to her mother. After questioning one of the elders, Wee, Andy agrees to do so, and after an intense confrontation with Callie, he makes his way to the shores of the Unspoken Village of Water. Callie arrives soon after, agreeing to help Andy. However as a storm begins to rage in the sky, the elders of the village all transform, revealing themselves to be elder sea deities, and monarchs and demi-gods, and they attack Andy.
The issue begins third-person narration, about the nature of myths, that they are all true, and all begin with water. The story starts with Arthur waking on the beach, as the elders have left, Callie helping him up and to a nearby small boat, as they set out on their quest to reunite her with Namma.
The comic then cuts away to continue the third-person narration, as it begins to discuss the origins of the ocean, with Mother Salt and Father Sea. Their union brought about the first gods, Sky, Wind, Fire and Earth.
The comic then returns to Andy and Callie briefly, as they sail across the water. They each try to reaffirm that the other’s alright, with Andy realizing how connected he is with the ocean, and how he no longer is afraid of it, for he’ll find the answers he’s seeking there. Callie tries to reassure him in turn that she’s fine, despite heading towards a mother who chose to poison an entire town in order to contact her.
The comic then continues telling the story of Mother Salt and Father Sea, revealing that the new Gods they begat, in turn, created newer gods still. And in doing so more land formed, the oceans receded, and this worried Father Sea. Deciding that his children had forgotten him, Father Sea wanted to flood the world and begin again, but Mother Salt did not want to harm her creations. So she told Sky, Wind, Fire and Earth of Father Sea’s plans. And after hearing this, the new gods killed Father Sea in his sleep.
The comic then returns again to Andy and Callie, as their boat runs aground of large salt pillars spiking up from beneath the water. As more appear the boat is rattled, and Callie is knocked off, crying out that Namma must be there…
This cover is just as stunningly detailed as the previous two issues of this storyline have been! The reveal of Namma in all her glory invokes terror, as she holds Aquaman at her mercy. The added touch of her dialogue is great, invoking a real old-school feel to the image.
Opinions on story and art
This comic was very enrapturing! While the narrative doesn’t spend too much time with Andy and Callie, Kelly-Sue DeConnick, Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques and Sunny Cho weave breathtaking new mythology around Mother Salt and the world’s beginnings. It’s masterfully done and conveys a wonderful combination of intrigue and tragedy over what becomes of Mother Salt. All the while Kelly-Sue DeConnick’s dialogue remains delightfully witty, especially when crafting Callie’s attempt cover her fears with snark.
The artwork on this series continues to be some of the best in DC’s entire publishing line. The crafting of Mother Salt, Father Sea and the new gods that follow them are all beautifully realized. Robson Rocha’s pencilling has reached a new high-water mark, balancing both the epic scale of this origin story of the world, with the intimate moments of Andy and Cassie. And Daniel Henriques inking conveys a weight to the water, bringing about a level of realism to the ocean that I’ve rarely seen in comics. Add to that Sunny Cho’s terrific color-choices, shifting between the dark and grand mythos, and the bright sailing sequences flawlessly, and this is one of the most visually-perfect comics on the stands right now.