Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis
Somehow I didn’t expect me to be reviewing the second issue of Aquaman this week. I mean, it was definitely going to get reviewed by someone, but I was going to handle New Guardians, and Spider-Island, and figured…someone else can tag Aquaman. It’s not that the book got dumped in my lap because someone got busy, or even that I just needed something to do (I have a horribly short attention span, the stuff of legends). Really, truth be told? I just really enjoyed the book all the way up to the “it’s over already?” ending.
Last issue we saw Aquaman try and do his thing. He helped some people, got some lunch, and everyone made jokes about his powers. It was effective for what it was, but it was damn near driven into the ground in one issue. It returns in this issue, to a point. Aquaman explains to someone that his “orange shirt” is scale armor, but really the heavily cut down Aquaman jokes are replaced with people being educated that “Her name is Mera.” The Queen of Atlantis came around late last issue, but she’s a staple in this one, and don’t call her Aquawoman. Johns is hanging heavily on the general fan opinion of Aquaman in his attempts to change perception, and really, he isn’t doing a bad job. There’s characterization to come out of it, like the fact that Arthur is willing to explain without getting heated while Mera grows far more annoyed with it. And when I say explain, I mean virtually everything about them as everyone in the DCU seems to think of them in the same way that the internet community does.
The villains are flat. I mean, last month I said they were the Piranha’s from Piranha 3D, and this month I feel more or less the same about them. They’re ridiculously vicious, hunt in packs, covered in scars and battle damage, and care only about food. The most characterization they get is that when one marks their food the others will back off, and they are apparently smart enough to set up a trap. Now, the way the issue develops we are more or less told to end the issue that the next issue will be all about just what they are exactly, so that’s not too bad. The vicious nature was gotten over nicely here, but that’s really the sum of what we know about them after two issues. They slaughter and eat and at least one can mark its territory.
What can be said about this art team that hasn’t been said before? Ivan, Joe, and Rod have been working together for ages, generally with Geoff, and there’s a certain level of quality we’ve come to expect. This title takes a lot more from their run in Blackest Night than Brightest Day or Green Lantern, and it’s fitting here. You’ve got monstrous bad guys in dark colors with your brightly colored heroes. Arthur and Mera look like they wear armor, not costumes, and I can’t stress how nice that little touch is. Then you’ve got Mera’s abilities in action which is excellently rendered. Oh, and the fact that visually Aquaman turns into quite the badass when fighting, that is a huge plus here.
I don’t think I’ve ever bought two issues of Aquaman in succession in all of my years of reading comics, but hey, this is Geoff Johns, I said the same thing before he wrote Barry Allen…but unlike his Barry, this book has me coming back for the quality of the title and not me trusting my gut that it will get better. Yes, the misrepresentations of Aquaman and Mera over the years are being played a little bit too strongly still, but really it just makes them look that much more awesome when they beat the crap out of something right after being made fun of. That instant feeling of some d-bag being shut up somewhere. I’m interested in where this is going, and I really hope the next arc brings Aqualad and Aquagirl back to the forefront.
Tags: Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Mera, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews