DC Comics has spent a lot of time trying to prove that Aquaman isn’t a joke, but the best way to do that is by putting him in a great comic. Writer Dan Abnett’s run on Aquaman during Rebirth has been pretty bland from both a narrative and artistic perspective, but the arrival of new editor Andy Khouri and new artist Stjepan Sejic suggests very good things for the future of the series. The situation with Aquaman is similar to that of Green Arrow, which experienced a major upswing in quality when Khouri joined the team, helping writer Benjamin Percy give the book a stronger direction while teaming him with exceptional artists. The major change for the series is that Aquaman is presumed dead by the authoritative new ruler of Atlantis, and Arthur Curry has relinquished his old name to create a new life for himself in the slums of Atlantis. This new status quo forces the series to stay in Atlantis rather than venturing onto the surface world, allowing Sejic to work his magic on the lush underwater environment.
Abnett is a better storyteller than the past year of Aquaman stories would suggest, but he also does his best work when paired with an artist that has a distinct style. Sejic’s digitally painted artwork is an outstanding fit for this series, and this exclusive preview of this week’s extra-sized Aquaman #25 showcases the beauty and spectacle of his visuals. The splash pages revealing Atlantis and The Ninth Tride are stunning establishing shots that highlight Sejic’s imaginative architecture and dramatic lighting, and he brings a lot of intensity to the character moments, reinforcing the high stakes for this new story. Sejic also recognizes the value of sex appeal, and he draws a very attractive Aquaman, who is now rocking a beard that brings his appearance closer to the version of the character Jason Momoa will be bringing to the screen in Justice League later this year. These pages show a lot of promise, and readers looking for gorgeous underwater superheroics should definitely check out Aquaman’s new direction.