If you haven't read the first issue of Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman, I suggest you do so before diving into the second issue. Or for the review for that matter! Spoilers ahead!
It's almost as if writer Tony Bedard has been waiting his entire career to write his very own Aquaman story. First things first, this issue is really awesome. Bedard has this clear vision of what he wants for Aquaman and he has managed to find a way to balance telling the story of Aquaman's war with New Themyscira, and a more personal story that digs deeper into Aquaman's identity. One of the problems with some of the Flashpoint off-shoot books is that it's very hard to actually care about a character that only appears for three issues. If you think about it, essentially, all these characters are new to us. Sure we may be predisposed to like specific characters because we have been reading them for so long, but the only thing the same about them are their names. The Aquaman of this Flashpoint universe is nothing like the Aquaman we know. Bedard explores that concept in this second issue by providing the reader the back-story of Arthur Curry's character -- in doing so, Bedard makes me care about Aquaman and his decisions. That history he has provided will directly impact the upcoming events and decisions that Arthur makes, and it's so cool. I really, truly enjoyed the way this issue was written. The structure and pacing could not have been better and the decision to delve into Arthur's history is fantastic. I almost found myself rooting for Arthur...almost.
I actually really enjoyed artist Vicente Cifuentes' work on this issue but I did notice that some of the characters anatomy was a bit off. For example there is one scene where one of the Amazons that appears in the issue she looks fantastic, save for the fact that her head seems rather off center and small.
Even though I did have some trouble with the anatomy of some of the characters in this issue (baby Arthur's face looks off, as though they shrank adult Arthur's face). I really enjoyed the writing and the direction that Bedard has taken the character and the story. I think adding a glimpse into Arthur's past we can better understand his decisions and we in turn become more invested in the story.
Quote of the book: "You've become quite the monster, Arthur. And to think, I almost _____'ed you."