Review: Aquaman #4 By Geoff Johns And Ivan Reis

Aquaman #4

Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Frer Ferreira, and Rod Reis


The short of it:

Aquaman and Mera travel deep into the Trench after the creatures who live there in hopes of rescuing the people they captured. Deep inside they find an ancient Atlantean ship from before the time the city sank which creates mysteries for later issues. They find the throne room of the evil super piranha’s, and realize that this is a dieing race in desperate need of a food source, which is where the surface dwellers come in. Arthur makes a difficult decision, one befitting of a stoic king, to finish things. Returning to the surface, saving the city, Aquaman finds himself more accepted by the same place that mocked his every movement just a few issues ago, and despite the lack of Aqualad or Aquagirl, Arthur really does start his own little family in the lighthouse.


What I liked:

  • Stoic King Aquaman works for me. He’s the guy who bears the weight of the world on his shoulders without issue. He does what must be done without a second thought, he feels sympathy but he doesn’t completely kill himself over what he had to do.
  • The secret history of Atlantis is a pretty appealing topic to see handled here. I didn’t hate the idea when Joe Kelly did the Obsidian Age, but to be honest, the execution there was just awful. I trust Johns with this sort of thing, just like I did with the history of the GL Corps.
  • I’m going to throw the art in this section, as should be expected by now. Ivan, Joe, and Rod are a great group that work magic together. The Atlantean ship was pretty cool looking, and I loved the depiction of the masses of Trench in their throne room. The book had pages that felt super heroey, ones that felt like a horror book, and I can’t credit enough how great Aquaman’s solution looked.
  • What Aquaman had to do to stop the creatures is the kind of moment that sets him apart from the other heroes in the DC Universe. He did what must be done, nothing more, nothing less. Superman would have found another way, Wonder Woman would have shown no remorse, but Aquaman? He makes a difficult decision and does not second guess himself. He feels like a monarch.
  • The ending was cheesy, but I like the direction Johns is taking the characters. He’s humanizing these very inhuman characters that look completely human. I mean, again, really cheesy, but it’s on the right path.


What I didn’t like:

  • I actually dug these super piranha’s that I make fun of every issue, they were really unique, so it’s a shame to see them written off so quickly.
  • I understand that Aqualad and Aquagirl can’t just appear in the first arc any more than Robin can apparently appear in books not named Batman and Robin, you want to set the pace before you start throwing in extra supporting characters that would turn your solo title into a team book. But I want to know if they still exist! Is Garth still dead? Is Jackson still Aqualad? Does Lorena even exist? I want answers!
  • I hate the townspeople. I mean, I get that so far they’ve existed solely as a way of speaking to the readers own thoughts on Aquaman, but I don’t like them. It was funny at first in the debut issue how they hated so hard on him, but it got tired. Now I understand why they would love him after this issue, but they need some sort of personality. Right now they’re DC’s version of the Oklahoma folks from Thor, who I find to be horribly horribly flat.


Final Thoughts:


A four issue first arc was really the way to go here, I mean, yeah, I think the bad guys got short changed with their quick turn around, but this arc didn’t need to be any longer. The characters have been established, the tone is set, and we’re good to go. This is a major improvement from Geoff’s first arc writing Barry on Flash which was the slowest paced mess I’d read in ages.


The battle was a little bit anticlimactic, really rushing to the ending, but what an ending! Aquaman is the only Leaguer that could commit genocide and not look like a bad guy. Seriously, Superman could find a planet of evil space vampires intent on eating the galaxy, and he’d find a reason to either not kill them or forever punish himself for doing it. Aquaman just does it.


I’m really interested in where Johns is going to take all of the Atlantis stuff. I mean, really, anything is better than the Obsidian Age, so as long as a giant made of water Aquaman doesn’t sink the city, I think we’re good.


So if the orange shirt is scale armor, does he have a bunch of them or is he just really good at putting them back together?


Who really thought another Aquaman book would be a good idea, let alone readable? Kudos Geoff and the gang, you proved people wrong!


Overall: 8/10

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