Aquaman is getting a brand new creative team soon, and Kelly Sue DeConnick is giving a breakdown of what classic takes on the character she is looking towards for inspiration.
DeConnick is teaming up with artist Rob Rocha to take Aquaman in some new directions starting later this month. Fans know what DeConnick did with Captain Marvel at a similar time of change in the character's long career, so anticipation is high to see what this new team can do with Aquaman. There have been several amazing takes on the character already though, and DeConnick explained what elements of those are being brought in for this new adventure.
That starts with a more recent incarnation of the character, that being Geoff Johns' New 52 version of Aquaman, which reestablished the character as a force to be reckoned with. For DeConnick, the run also presents a unique way to connect his powers to his past.
"I spent a lot of time with everything from the New 52 forward," DeConnick told DC Universe. "I love Johns' run! Johns had Arthur kill Black Manta's father. There is a lot of guilt there. Guilt is a great engine. I can't really connect that to his powers though. So what else have we got? There's this moment where Johns revisits his origins and sees how his mother was an Atlantean royal and his father was a lighthouse keeper. She leaves to return to her duties and his father takes him to the water on occasion to look to see if his mother will return."
"That is a hole," DeConnick said. "That is a foundational pain. Now can I connect that to his gift? Yes, he can speak to any creature in the ocean, except his mom. That's how we start to understand the character. A young man who has been abandoned by his mother. What character does that produce? Well, often that'll produce somebody who's an overachiever because they want to prove to the missing parents, 'I was worth it, you shouldn't have left me, you made the wrong call because of what you missed out on."
As for the Peter David run, it was Arthur's struggling identity on the surface and in the sea that was the main attraction.
"The Peter David run was great... For Aquaman, the traditional approach has always been that because he's half Atlantean and half human he's not at home in either place. I think that works very effectively in Atlantis," DeConnick said. When you bring him up to [the land], it's different. He is handsome. He is a king. He is in the Justice League. He is literally bulletproof."
The Atlantis Chronicles also shine when Atlantis is involved, and that's part of the reason DeConnick is making some changes to the location. "The Peter David Atlantis Chronicles are really fun. I love the myths. I love the Atlantis stuff," DeConnick said. "So it's a little funny that we're actually moving away from that, but it's been done so well for so long."
DeConnick is also paying attention to the movie version of the character, brought to life by Jason Momoa in Justice League and now the solo Aquaman film.
"We didn't want to ignore a Momoa characterization because, let's be honest, more people would see that film than are picking up the books. So we wanted to have something of that spirit," DeConnick said. "But we also didn't want to completely record-scratch change the characters. What we settled on was that there is a feeling in the Momoa character, and I see it in the stills... He looks like a roadie from Metallica, Aquabro. But a good bro. A bro I would totally hang with! There's this one still of him and his hair is hanging down from his face and he's looking up and there's this twinkle in his eye. That swagger, we wanted that. We want that moment in our character, and then to marry it to this regal history that Arthur has.We were trying to find this space that was not a record scratch but kind of a natural progression into that moment."
You can read DeConnick and Rocha's take on the character when Aquaman #43 hits comic stores on December 19th.