WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Aquaman#50 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Robson Rocha, Eduardo Pansica, Daniel Henriques, Julio Ferreira, Sunny Gho and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Aquaman #50 is an issue filled with many happy (and some unhappy) returns. Following his apparent death, Aquaman has spent time rediscovering who he is and how he fits into the world. He left familiar shores and explored a world of magic gods and ancient legends. Now, Arthur Curry is out of the water and back in Amnesty Bay, and that means both friends and foes are back in the fold.
Mera is seen tending to matters of the Atlantean state again. Wonder Woman welcomes Arthur back to the land of the living. Tula is reintroduced into Aquaman's world again. Even Black Manta has resurfaced and is plotting a new attack against his mortal enemy. However, it's one fan-favorite hero's surprise return that sets the stage for an all-new storyline.
The Not-So-Smooth Return of Aquaman
Arthur Curry is back in Amnesty Bay seeking a life of simplicity and normalcy. He may be an expecting father, but Aquaman is no longer King of Atlantis and has severed his ties to Mera after she killed him. He doesn't want anything to do with the kingdom under the sea, so instead he returns to where it all began.
In order to pick up his life where he left off, he moves back into his childhood home and attempted to reconnect with the town people he knows. Unfortunately, the life of a superhero is never that simple. The problems he thought he left behind aren't going away, and are instead trying to break down his door almost immediately.
The media wants to know where he has been and who the gods he brought with him are. Wonder Woman greets him almost immediately, proving that he can't just ignore the Justice League and the fight between good and evil. He also can't escape the drama with Mera, even if she's off ruling Atlantis on her own.
Just when things couldn't get any worse, he receives a phone call that is bound to change his life forever. Aquaman thinks he can escape responsibility, but he will soon learn that there's no escape from doing the right thing.
Everything Goes Wrong for Aqualad
If Aquaman thought his return to the surface world was already going poorly, things are about to get a whole lot worse. And at this point, we're not even dealing with Black Manta yet, who has seemingly received the upgrade he needs to take out his enemy once and for all. What is about to complicate matters is the return of Jackson Hyde, the teenager who has taken on the identity of Aqualad in recent years.
While the character was previously a member of Damian Wayne's Teen Titans at the beginning of the Rebirth era, Aqualad has not been seen in about a year. His appearance has also changed slightly, with him ditching the blonde look from the cartoon in favor of the dreadlocks he wore during his initial comic book debut in 2010.
From the nature of his conversation with Aquaman, we can also assume that Aqualad has never actually met his namesake in Rebirth continuity. While he was previously introduced as an ally and protege of the sea king before the New 52 reboot, it seems the two don't actually know each other in this version of continuity. Though we do know that he is still the son of Black Manta, it's now worth asking what else has changed about him.
Aqualad and Aquaman might not know each other yet, but it's pretty clear that Jackson trusts his would-be mentor. The young hero has been arrested for some unknown crime and has called Arthur to come help him out. Now it's up to Aquaman to take some responsibility and rise to the occasion.