Aquaman: Deep Dives has been a solid series thus far. The series has been developing how Aquaman is expanding his and Atlantis’ reach as it joins the world’s governments. The last issue saw Aquaman make the move of making the Sea Devils team the official representatives of Atlantis. Now Aquaman is shifting gears a bit by going on an adventure with his first sidekick, the original Aqualad, in Tempest. How will things work out with this team-up adventure between Aquaman and Tempest? Let’s find out with Aquaman: Deep Dives #3.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: V Ken Marion
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colorist: Andrew Dolhouse
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Aquaman and Tempest race to save Manhattan after a hurricane broke a magical seal deep beneath the ocean near New York.
Aquaman and Tempest finally reach the location of a giant serpent that was being contained by the magic seal. With the serpent raging through the area Aquaman and Tempest work quickly to save the people who are caught in the uncontrollable water.
As they are saving people Aquaman realizes that Tempest is holding back in using his full magical power. Aquaman questions Tempest on why he isn’t using his magic powers to their full potential. Tempest says that if he makes one mistake in casting the spell it could cost him a lot. Aquaman yells at Tempest for not being prepared when agreeing to join him in saving people, reminding his protégé he was taught better than this.
As Aquaman battles the serpent he notices a kid being caught in one of the waves the serpent caused and is in danger of dying. Tempest uses one of his spells to pull the kid out of the water and to a safer location.
The serpent suddenly bites Aquaman in the shoulder. This somehow gives Aquaman a close connection to the serpent. With it, Aquaman is able to sense how the serpent is growing angrier and will soon bring down the entire train station they are in.
As Tempest is about to use a water-wielding spell Aquaman tells him that it will not work. He goes on to say there is another spell that can work. Tempest, knowing what the spell is, says he can’t use that spell.
Aquaman attempts to communicate with the serpent once again. Aquaman is able to get the serpent to calm down by telling it that he understands how frightened it is being released after living in relative peace for a long time. Aquaman’s words eventually fully calm the serpent.
With the serpent calm Aquaman once again tells Tempest he must use his full potential to save the people who are in danger. Tempest still doesn’t believe he can do it. Aquaman reaffirms that he has full trust that Tempest can do it.
With those words, Tempest releases his full magic power to push the water that has been flooding Manhattan back to the ocean, in the process saving everyone in the city. Tempest then uses his magic powers to rebuild the seal so that the serpent can go back to its dimension.
Now that everyone is safe Tempest notices that Aquaman is smiling. Aquaman reminds Tempest he is still the King and could accuse him of treason.
Hearing that the storm is still going strong throughout New York City Aquaman tells Tempest that there are still lives to be saved. Tempest tells Aquaman to be sure to keep up with him. End of issue.
The Good: Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 was a great change of pace for the series. Having Tempest around gave this issue a completely different tone as we get to see Aquaman return to be a mentor as well as being his normal superhero self. Through that relationship, Steve Orlando is able to make this a standout issue.
Not having much experience reading Aquaman comics I don’t have a firm grasp on what kind of mentor-protégé relationship Aquaman and Tempest had in the past. But even with my lack of knowledge on this duo Steve Orlando never made it seem like I was missing out on big character pieces. Orlando made sure to write Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 in a way where you immediately recognize that these two have a long history working with each other. Through that, you get a good understanding of what their relationship once was and where it is when they team up in this issue.
Having Tempest in a spot where he is not fully confident in his current power level is a good, familiar point, especially for Teen Titans fans. Tempest is one of the strongest magic users in the DC Universe. The thing that has kept Tempest from being considered on the same level as other magic users like Zatanna is his own confidence. We’ve seen many instances where he holds himself back due to the many events he has been through.
Positioning Tempest in this way opened the door to have Aquaman step into the mentor role again to give his former protégé the confidence he needs. Even though he was busy dealing with the serpent and saving people in danger of drowning Aquaman was still aware of how Tempest was holding back. This gave Orlando the opportunity to show a different side of Aquaman as we see how he does take being a mentor seriously.
Even with Tempest having graduated from being Aqualad there are still times he needs guidance. Aquaman giving Tempest some tough love throughout Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 showed that to still be true. At the same time, Orlando was careful to not make Aquaman look like a jerk in what he was saying. The dialogue was carefully chosen to make Aquaman’s words more inspirational of tough love.
All of that made Tempest finally stepping up and showcasing his powers a sight to see. It was a clear reminder of how powerful the character can be when allowed to shine. This showcase of his powers along with the light-hearted banter that concluded Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 was all a good example of how much potential Tempest has when written correctly.
Through the story of the serpent that was attacking Manhattan, Orlando was able to add more to the mythology of Atlantis. We are seeing with each issue of Aquaman: Deep Dives that this has been an important aspect of the series to be establishing. By making this choice Orlando and other writers are showing readers that Aquaman’s reach does not end with Atlantis. There is a whole world and history that Atlantis is connected to that goes beyond the main city.
V Ken Marion’s artwork throughout Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 was solid. Marion got over the scope of the crisis that Aquaman and Tempest were dealing with as the serpent’s rage only made things worse. The fear people had made the sense of urgency in Aquaman and Tempest saving them be at the forefront of the story. It made how both heroes were able to save the day even more impressive.
The Bad: While Tempest had a good character during Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 the meaning of that arc will fall flat for those that don’t know some of his past. If you don’t have some background on Tempest’s history then the reason why he was against using his full power will be lost on you. The way Tempest held back made him look like he was still a rookie who just became a sidekick, not a hero who has years of experience under his belt.
That all falls on the fact that Tempest hasn’t been a major character within the DC Universe in a long time. Even when he serves time on the Titans those series haven’t lasted long enough for Tempest to get a true showcase. Given how much Aquaman: Deep Dives has been exploring Atlantis mythology it would be good to see Tempest work with his mentor more to establish the character for the modern day.
Overall: Aquaman: Deep Dives #3 was a good change of pace as we got to see our lead hero’s role as a mentor shine. Steve Orlando was able to showcase how there is a lot of potential in the duo of Aquaman and Tempest. Their chemistry comes across as natural and makes you hope there are more stories where we see them team up in the future. The story itself was a good showcase of how both Aquaman and Tempest can step up to save the day during a major crisis.
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