DC has released preview images and character sketches from its upcoming September-debuting six-issue limited series Aquaman: The Becoming starring current Aqualad Jackson Hyde as he ascends to the title of the DC Universe's Aquaman, as seen in Future State: Aquaman.
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.
The series is written by Brandon Thomas and drawn by Diego Olortegui and the publisher says it finds Jackson in a good place at its start, having found "acceptance and honesty in his relationship with his mother, made peace with the truth about his father (the classic villain Black Manta) and been embraced by Aquaman, Mera, and the people of Amnesty Bay."
So Jackson is ready to step up to become a hero to Atlantis and the world until it all is destroyed thanks to a new supervillain named Deluge.
"...Deluge has been waiting and watching, enraged at what Jackson has built for himself, believing that he never deserved it," reveals Thomas. "The truth puts everything at risk, because it turns out his perfect life was anything but, and this series is all about Jackson learning that the hard way and gaining a powerful new adversary that will threaten to define him just as strongly as his father has. And there’s no famous mentor (Arthur), or surrogate mother (Mera), or supportive friends in sight."
More than just a superhero with a growing profile, DC calls him a significant character within queer comic book circles and the publisher is positioning the Black, gay Jackson (who in the future will be a mentor to Andy, who is also LGBTQ+) as the leader of one of the "more fascinatingly diverse corners of the DC Universe."
"The future of the DCU's Atlantean superheroes is decidedly queer, and it starts this September with the release of Aquaman: The Becoming #1," reads DC's description of the series.
The new story will also introduce a new Amnesty Bay love interest for Aqualad but DC says the character represents far more than just his sexuality and Thomas calls the character's journey up to and through the new limited series relatable whether a fan happens to be queer or not.
"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."
Check out preview images from Aquaman: The Becoming #1 along with more character sketches in our gallery:
Jackson seems poised to join Newsarama's list of the most iconic LGBTQ+ superheroes in comic books.