Aquaman shows a world where Darkseid beat the Justice League in The Becoming #1 preview

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 excerpt
Aquaman: The Becoming #1 excerpt (Image credit: DC)

Following August 31's Aquaman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular, there is a new wave of Aquaman-related comics coming - and according to a key staffer at DC, it's setting up some "big" changes for undersea DCU.

"I love that Aquaman: The Becoming and Black Manta both lead directly to the next big moves in the Aquaman corner of the DCU," series editor Andrea Shea tweets. "I cannot stress enough—we did not release these books in a vacuum, they are the building blocks for What Comes Next. Seeds we plant here will pay off SOON."

The seeds for Jackson Hyde to become Aquaman were planted 10 years ago when he debuted in animation and quickly jumped over to comics as the new Aqualad. And now with the upcoming Aquaman: The Becoming limited series, he will 'become' more than a sidekick to the original Aquaman Arthur Curry, but a peer, sharing in the title.

"Aquaman: The Becoming is a coming-of-age story for Jackson Hyde, marking his final transformation from Aqualad to Aquaman," says writer Brandon Thomas in a press release. "When the series begins, Jackson has everything he's ever wanted -acceptance, respect, and a strong web of found family and friends around him. He and his mother are finally on the same page and his training with Arthur Curry (with an assist from Batman) is going extremely well."

Here's concept art for Aquaman: The Becoming by series artist Diego Olortegui:

While he's the long-time pupil of Aquaman, he can't deny his parentage - Aquaman's top villain Black Manta is his father. Thomas says "the shadow" of that continues to loom over Hyde, but he's refusing to let that completely define him and his life."

All of that will be called into question when the Atlantean palace and Hyde's training facility is blown up, and he's being accused of being the one behind it all.

Don't worry though, Jackson Hyde isn't turning evil. The main villain of Aquaman: The Becoming is the Atlantean terror organization Deluge, who Thomas says has been "waiting and watching, enraged at what Jackson has built for himself, believing that he never deserved it."

Thomas says the series will force Jackson Hyde to fight for everything he's ever had and "prove himself worthy of even having it."

"Jackson's spent so much time trying to distance himself from his infamous father, but if he's going to endure what's ahead, he'll need some of that darkness, that commitment to survive against all odds," says Thomas.

Check out this preview of Aquaman: The Becoming #1:

The new story will also introduce two new love interests for Jackson Hyde, Dani and Ha-Wea. That's right, the new Aquaman has his first love triangle.

"I love the character and what he represents," Thomas says. "Here is a young man who spent a long time ostracized and estranged from his birth family, who was forced to go out and create his own surrogate one to survive and thrive, which, unfortunately, is something I think a lot of people can relate to. There is also a darkness in him, that both tells him he doesn't deserve all the great things finally happening for him and is a constant reminder that his father will always be a part of him, whether he likes it or not. Coming to grips with that is the final step in freeing himself and becoming the hero and man he wants to be."

According to the publisher, the current Aquaman, who is training Jackson with help from Batman, will step away from the role to focus on raising his and Mera's daughter Andy, who according to the Future State event is destined to become Aquawoman as a young woman, with Jackson by her side. 

Thomas and Olortegui will be joined by inker Wade von Grawbadger, colorist Adriano Lucas, and some assists from Scott Koblish and Skylar Partridge.

Aquaman: The Becoming #1's main cover is by David Talaski, with variants coming from Khary Randolph/Emilio Lopez and Francis Manapul (a connecting variant with the upcoming Black Manta #1). Check out the covers here:

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 (of 6) goes on sale on September 21.

Dive into the best Aquaman stories of all time. 

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)