Review: Aquaman #16
Published by DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Paul Pelletier
Coloured by Rod Reis
Cyborg is undergoing his procedure in order to help his colleagues at the bottom of the sea. Meanwhile Vulko and Dr. Shin are watching the news coverage and Vulko blasts Shin as well as vocalizing his displeasure over what’s happening to Aquaman and the League. Aquaman discusses what’s going with Batman (who is in a vessel) at the bottom of the ocean. They are soon met by one of the Trench. On the surface, the reserves called in by Cyborg (Hawkman, Black Canary, Element Woman, Black Lightning, etc.) are fighting against the Atlanteans. Aquaman and Batman discover some ancient writings that possibly echo some current events. Aquaman discovers Superman and Wonder Woman being overcome by the Trench. The success of the Trench looks to be inevitable, but Cyborg and Mera make a timely arrival. At the same time, the Trench are invading the surface much to the surprise of Orm. It is then revealed who the true villain and instigator is in this war.
Another solid issue in this crossover. The Justice League’s effectiveness was nullified by being way out of their element. I enjoyed seeing Aquaman having to take such a strong role again in this issue. How do you keep Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman from dominating a crossover and taking center stage at handling the situation? Throw them to the bottom of the ocean. Even so it was still cool to see that Batman really can make himself useful in pretty much any situation. I marked out when seeing the other heroes banding together and fighting the Atlanteans. It was common pre-reboot and now it is anything but. Watching Hawkman savagely (no pun intended) attack and shout orders was a familiar sight and I enjoyed Firestorm’s reaction to him because there was a lot of new-ness to it. I am very happy to see the Trench back and being a big threat to…well basically everyone that isn’t a member of the Trench. Back in Aquaman #4 I didn’t like how they were quickly defeated because for some reason I thought that they were done (still can’t believe I fell for that one). I thought that they were a vicious enemy with a good look to them and I want to see what they’re going to do next issue. Orm’s reaction to them was great as well. Speaking of Orm, there seemed to be a level of sincerity on his part in the prelude a few issues ago and it was somewhat validated in this issue, which provides his character with more depth and complexity. I wish they thought of reinventing some of these older characters prior to the reboot (a la Catman), but I’m glad that they finally did. Watching Cyborg make a significant sacrifice was sad, especially seeing that it did have an effect on him. As long as I can remember reading, Cyborg was always Cyborg and if he ever did regret his condition, it happened well before I started reading him. Seeing him struggle with his condition makes me feel for the character. He continues to show a level of leadership and valour that surpasses his colleagues. Gah! The cliffhanger got me in this one and I really want to see how this all plays out. There was some very solid artwork done by Pelletier and Reis’ colours continued to provide this book with a consistent look. A very enjoyable issue.
The art had some spots that I didn’t care for. The one panel with Mera’s face didn’t look very good for instance. Overall, the art was good though. I didn’t care for how old Cyborg looked in this issue. He’s about 22 or 23 years old and he looked like he was in his 30s. I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on in one panel, but I didn’t think that Wonder Woman could breathe so far under water. Also, I was also unaware that Wonder Woman and Superman could talk clearly under water. There were just a few minor quibbles in this issue, but nothing that kept me from enjoying this book a lot.
Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?
Buy It. I’ve really enjoyed this crossover and it’s actually made me commit to getting the Trinity War when it comes out this year. I’ve been slowly and steadily building up a dislike for events and crossovers, but this one has worked out very well thus far. Seeing Aquaman and Cyborg get a lot of screen time has been refreshing and has also made this story much more engaging as a result. There are some things done in this storyline that have really worked and I plan to go over them at the conclusion over in the next issue of Justice League. The Throne of Atlantis has been a consistent and entertaining story.