Why isn't Will Pfeifer still writing comics? His Aquaman is awesome!
I hate stories that start off with massive death counts, but Pfeifer actually throws a bit of a swerve with the creation of Sub Diego. A secret group of villains sinks half the city of San Diego, but many of the inhabitants (and their dogs) survive because of the genetic engineering of a young scientist in the city. It's an interesting choice to use this idealistic scientist as the heavy for the first arc, he actually isn't a villain. He's misguided and foolish, but he really thinks he's saving the world with his water-breathing serum.
The setup works well because it lets Aquaman's powers actually come in really handy. He's got normal, understandable Americans that need his protection, but they're trapped underwater. We’re not dealing with oddball Lemurians or Atlanteans; Aquaman is saving "regular people." I dug how Pfeifer had the Red Cross showing up for the disaster too, even on the ocean floor there is some help available after the tragedy.
The arc suffers from not having a true villain yet, but the shadowy cabal watching Aquaman is interesting enough that I'm confident there will be a payoff. I love the new Aquagirl too. She's feisty and brave, and she's immediately more capable and helpful than all the other survivors. As I read it, I got a distinctive "companion" vibe from her (thanks a lot, Dr. Who!)
Patrick Gleason brings his normal level of excellence to this book. Aquaman and the ocean creatures look fantastic, but of course, what I like best is how many scenes Martian Manhunter appears in. The best sequence of the arc has J'onn greeting Aquagirl after she wakes up after the disaster. Seeing that his normal form is making her uncomfortable, he immediately morphs into a teenage boy wearing a Motorhead shirt. That J'onn, he knows how to blend.