Somewhere in the South Pacific, the vessel Esperanza sails toward uncertainty. Its secret mission? To investigate and observe a bizarre signal emitting from the bottom of the sea. A team is dispatched from the ship in an experimental submarine—the Andromeda—to discover the source below…but they’re not alone. Whatever it is, it’s also calling to the Dweller of the Depths, Aquaman. Just who—or what—in the water is beckoning him?
Aquaman: Andromeda #1 is the first in a three-issue Prestige Plus miniseries from DC Black Label. The brilliant team of writer Ram V and artist Christian Ward hint that we’re in for something dark and drastically different from the very first page. Here are just five of the most unsettling moments in this unforgettable dive into the murky depths.
Aquaman’s organic new look evokes creeping dread.
This is Aquaman like we’ve never seen him before. The bright orange and green hues of his classic costume are desaturated, as if Arthur Curry is always submerged in the ocean depths. His shoulders are covered in clinging, armor-like coral and barnacles, giving the King of the Seven Seas an otherworldly feel. And most eerie of all are Aquaman’s pitch-black eyes, reflecting what little light there is in the deep.
All together, it’s difficult to see this Aquaman as the same superhero we’re familiar with, adding to the sense of dread that pervades this first issue.
Point Nemo is a very real and very mysterious place.
Today I learned that there is a point in the ocean that’s the farthest away from any land, and it’s named Point Nemo and it’s the setting of Aquaman: Andromeda #1. Point Nemo is located between New Zealand and South America. Space junk has been directed to crash here for decades to reduce any possible risks to humans…but what else might have fallen to Earth with it?
Thanks to Ward’s gorgeously atmospheric art, the “spacecraft cemetery,” as it’s called in the book, feels like it harbors frightening ghosts from the stars skulking around every piece of rubbish. What cosmic horrors does the deep dark hold? And what happens if they’re unleashed?
That chill isn’t coming from the sunless depths—it’s inside.
Even an experienced marine biologist like Yvette Verne, one of the protagonists of the issue, can’t help but feel uneasy as the Andromeda approaches Point Nemo. Yvette isn’t feeling a chill from the submarine’s recycled air—it’s in her bones. Not only is the team unsure about whatever might be waiting for them, even the prototype vessel they’re traveling in is unnerving. Its highly classified, experimental “quantum gravity propulsion drive” feels almost organic, as if the submarine is a living creature with the team crawling about its innards.
That thought alone is enough to give you the shivers.
The cosmic-tinged color palette hints at the unseen things lurking in the deep.
Christian Ward evokes a perceptible sense of the ocean depths by pulling double duty as artist and colorist. Much like the flashes of fluorescence from the unusual creatures who live far below the surface, the deep colors of twilight are punctuated with explosions of magenta, yellow and green. You can’t help but wonder if there’s something creating those bright lights. And could they be a trap to draw us further and further into the depths like the anglerfish’s prey?
“Gorgeous” doesn’t begin to describe the art of Aquaman: Andromeda #1. The deep might be unsettling, but it’s unquestionably beautiful.
Three words: Giant. Freakin’. Octopus.
UNLEASH THE—well, you know. When a monstrous, tentacled creature finally emerges from the depths, it’s almost a relief to finally find the source of the crew’s constant uneasiness. (Or is it?) Impossibly large appendages crash into the Esperanza on the surface. Aquaman streaks toward the giant octopus like a torpedo to defend and rescue the people on board. Will he emerge victorious? And what other dangers await in the deep?
Aquaman: Andromeda #1 by Ram V and Christian Ward is now available in print and as a digital comic book.
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DCComics.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and pop culture.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are those of Kelly Knox and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.