Aquaman: Secret Files & Origins # 1 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea – The Waterbearer – Family Ties

Written by: Rick Veitch, Steve Conley
Penciled by: Norm Breyfogle, Rob Haynes, Daryl Banks
Inked by: Dennis Janke, Rob Haynes, Bob Petrecca
Colored by: Tom McCraw, Rob Haynes
Lettered by: Mike Heisler, Rob Haynes, Kurt Hathaway
Editor: Ivan Cohen, Dan Raspler
Publisher: DC Comics

Wow that’s a lot of credits!

SECRET FILES & ORIGINS are not the type of books that stand alone, at least when they are compiled properly. They serve as a springboard into a story arc, the introduction of new characters, or to further ignite a storyline. They usually can be missed, and the 4.95 price tag will scare some readers away. Yet, I tend to enjoy them, especially since you get some nice pin-ups and bios for series regulars, along with several stories.

I do believe the most recent SECRET FILES accomplished exactly what it was supposed to; of course it did it in the most unusual way possible. The book title, if you recall, is AQUAMAN: SECRET FILES & ORIGINS. Well, the title character appears on exactly six pages of this 48-page issue. The six pages include the single page bio, as well as the cover! In all fairness a more accurate description of this book would be, ATLANTIS: SECRET FILES & ORIGINS.

The book contains three stories, two of which are written by regular series writer Rick Veitch. The opening story, “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea”, is a full-length tale that focuses on Vulko, an Atlantean bureaucrat. He was instrumental in the expulsion of Aquaman from his kingdom, but he learns the cruel hard facts behind the current regimes tyranny.

Norm Breyfogle’s art in the lead story is amazing as always. He lends a savage beauty to the undersea world, and draws both the Atlanteans and the less humanoid characters with equal precision. I loved Norm’s work on The Spectre and would like to see more of his work on Aquaman.

“The Waterbearer”, also written by Veitch, is hardly a story, it really only serves as a two page recap of the events in Aquaman’s life that led to his gaining new powers from the Lady of the Lake.

Rick Haynes handles the entire art chores for “The Waterbearer”. This is a strangely drawn piece, done in a cartoony style with bright vibrant colors. I don’t know exactly what Haynes secret is, but the layout of the two pages is enthralling.

The final story, “Family Ties”, written by Steve Conley serves to further show the lines that have been drawn in Atlantis. Bonimar (a new character) is reporting on mutations that are being spawned in Atlantean laboratories. He learns that his father, a minister in the government may be involved. The story is mainly a chase sequence that clearly illustrates how far the government of Atlantis will go to protect their secrets.

Daryl Banks, who drew a mean Green Lantern, handles the art on the final story and is up to the task. His style fits well with the rest of the issue, generating the necessary tension for this tragic tale.