When it was first announced in January of last year that HBO Max was developing an Aquaman animated miniseries set after the events of the DCEU blockbuster with James Wan attached to executive produce through his Atomic Monster Productions, most people were surely operating under the assumption that it would follow the template laid out by the hugely popular DC Animated Universe.
After all, the comic book company’s string of movies and TV shows based on their roster of characters have consistently won praise from both fans and critics dating back almost 30 years to Batman: The Animated Series. The thought was that Jason Momoa and the gang would be back to voice their roles in the sort of big budget animated effort that would establish HBO Max as the place to be for any and all DC-related content.
However, the first look at Aquaman: King of Atlantis dropped yesterday, and the response has been very divided to say the least. The image clearly wasn’t what fans were expecting from the superhero’s first ever solo animated series, and you can check out some of the reactions below.
Damn, when I heard they had some of the Thundercats Roar team involved, I didn't think they'd actually go with the same art style. And James Wan is still involved right?
— The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka (@reneiscursed) February 17, 2021
I thought they are going to do some epic type thing. WTF ??
— Sid The Zack Snyder Stan ?? ⚒ (@sidhaarthd) February 17, 2021
Meh.. not a fan of this type of art style.
— kickn8 (@kickn8Reborn) February 17, 2021
Looks …great. pic.twitter.com/axE1Bs7x2X
— Casper Friis (@Casfriis) February 17, 2021
— Marsh (@MJ_PARKS) February 17, 2021
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Um, this is… different. I’ll keep my hopes up
— Isaac #AssociateProducer (@IsaacHopkins14) February 17, 2021
That art style is a big turn off so I'll pass
— D (@EccentricDM) February 17, 2021
Like, as an actual shot it's fine-ish and the colors work alright (if a tad saturated) but god those faces, those eyebrows.
— Bob-Dude (@Bobdude422) February 17, 2021
Oh. This is not at all what I thought it was going to be like when they announced it ?
— Hit Monkey (@skinnypunch) February 17, 2021
Inevitably, a lot of the criticism has been pointed in the direction of the art style. Aquaman: King of Atlantis features several key members of the creative team from Cartoon Network’s Thundercats: Roar!, another fan favorite property that’s drawn criticism from longtime supporters. Of course, if Arthur Curry’s 2D spinoff manages to win over the naysayers and doubters, then it goes down as a big win for HBO Max, but based on the initial shrug of apathy, it might have been a smarter idea to hew much closer to the movie itself for inspiration.