Aquaman's daughter, Andy, has been kidnapped! Aquaman charges to battle against the most likely suspect, Ocean Master!
Ocean Master, though, successfully convinces Arthur that he isn't the culprit, even offering aid and compassion to his foe. Notably, though, he does sow the seed of doubt in Arthur's mind that Vulko could have been behind the kidnapping - because whoever controls the princess, controls the throne. But there's more going on with Ocean Master than meets the eye.
Meanwhile, Jackson Hyde, a.k.a. Aqualad, embarks on his own search for Andy - dredging up is father's recent past in the effort!
It’s a good rule of thumb not to anger a parent in defense of their children. It’s an even better rule when that parent is Aquaman. With daughter Andy kidnapped, Arthur Curry is taking no prisoners in his search for her, and that leads him to the most obvious suspect – the Ocean Master, Orm. Interestingly, though, the scene plays out with Orm in the sympathetic role after he successfully convinces Aquaman he isn’t behind the kidnapping, and directs him toward Vulko instead.
This scene plays as well as it does because of course Ocean Master is the prime suspect. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has done a great job of rehabbing this villain in recent issues, making him a tragic villain in search of redemption more than a guy with a funky mask who gets punched in the head by Aquaman with alarming frequency. Other writers – Geoff Johns and Dan Abnett in particular – have done a good job of muddying Orm’s motivations so that he isn’t so much a clear-cut villain but rather a man of great internal conflict who wants to do the right thing but generally goes about devious means to accomplish it. In other words, to make him a relatable human being. This makes him a perfect foil for Aquaman, who often finds himself having to make hard choices for the right reasons and is forever misunderstood by those he seeks to protect.
The other half of this story centers on Jackson, who feels a certain responsibility (though not so personal) to help find Andy as well. To that end, he dredges up the A.I. from the recently-thrashed Mecha Manta to use as a sonar device for locating the lost child. It’s an interesting twist, especially in how it leads to this issue’s conclusion (sorry, no spoilers) – which will no doubt make this situation even more deadly.
There’s a multilayered mystery here surrounding thrones, succession, and power reminiscent of an aquatic Game of Thrones. There’s also a monster red herring that might under any other circumstances seem obvious, but thanks to DeConnick’s deft hand, comes as a surprise nonetheless.
Robson Rocha’s art, usually stalwart in its execution, comes across as slightly rushed this issue. It’s still gorgeous for the most part, but lacks that certain je ne sais quoi of previous issues that made the work so strong and singular. The finishes are by usual inker Daniel Henriques, so it’s not a change in line-up that’s necessarily at issue. Perhaps the artist was up against a deadline; maybe he was just a little out of rhythm this month. No worries, though. Rocha is still a formidable artistic force to be reckoned with; pair him with that gorgeous cover by Stjepan Sejic and you have a book that quite frankly looks head and shoulders above most other books on the rack. If you haven’t checked out Aquaman lately, now is definitely the time!
Aquaman #59 shifts and spins its narrative deftly, keeping readers off-balance as to who is responsible for Andy's kidnapping. Don't ask questions, just check out the best Aquaman run in years ASAP!
Aquaman #59: A Game of Thrones
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10