Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Colored by: Rod Reis
Lettering by: Nick J. Napolitano
Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99
Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology
It’s nice to actually get to review Aquaman this month (INSIDE JOKE ALERT).
Summary (contains spoilers): Last issue ended with the pulse-pounded cliffhanger of Aquaman’s wife MERA IS GOING TO BUY DOG FOOD! This issue picks up with Mera having a flashback thinking about how her father had sent her to the surface world to find and kill Aquaman.
Back today, Mera has arrived at Rudy’s Groceries to find dog food. Only to find the owner is a sexually-harassing asshole. When he tries to find the zipper on her costume, Mera quickly solves that problem:
Even though she was totally in the right here, people start to freak out and say she attacked him. A police officer draws a gun on her, and Mera uses her water manipulation powers to start to raise some havoc. Before she can really cause some damage, another cop comes in and tells them that a local man who murdered his wife has escaped police custody. Mera allows herself to be arrested, so she can ride in the police car to help track the man down.
They arrive at the man’s house to find he has taken his own daughter hostage. Mera escapes custody and uses her powers to drain the water from the man. His daughter begs Mera to let him live; she hates him for what he’s done, but it is still her father. This hits a chord with Mera, who leaves him for the police, and heads home.
Another flashback and we see that Mera told her father that Aquaman was not their enemy. She ended up having to kill her own father.
As she thinks about this on the beach, one of the clerks from the store arrives with a bag of dog food and promises to bring more as needed. When Mera asks her why, the woman explains, “I just wanted you to know that we’re not all bad.”
Mera arrives home to find Aquaman pretty worked up. He says they need to talk to Dr. Stephen Shin (a man Aquaman has a bad history with), because Aquaman is certain that Shin knows what caused Atlantis to sink.
All in all, that is a much stronger ending than “MERA IS GOING TO BUY DOG FOOD!” Just saying…
Review: I am a fan of Peter David’s Aquaman, but I will admit that a lot of what made Peter David’s Aquaman work so well is that he seemed to make a conscious effort to change Aquaman in drastic ways. I also loved Aquaman in Brave and the Bold, but again it was such a departure from the character.
And that is what has made Aquaman so interesting in Relaunch. In both books he writes him in (Aquaman and Justice League), Johns has seemed determined to not change Aquaman, but instead change the world’s perception of him. This feels more true to the character, and the result has been some terrific Aquaman comics that never feel like they need to cheat in order to make Aquaman fun to read.
This issue pretty much leaves Aquaman out entirely and focuses on Mera, known as Aquawoman to the general public. A name she cringes about at first, but seems to embrace throughout the issue. I really didn’t have much of a connection to the character until Blackest Night and Brightest Day, but she has started to come into her own. This issues expands the character more, telling her back story and showing how she deals with the surface world. There is a lot going on here, and it was amazing that this comic was only 22 pages.
I did think at times the story seemed to play it a little too obvious, like Mera having father issues of her own, and the daughter trying to save her father even if he doesn’t deserve it. And the sexually harassing shop keeper was a little over-the-top. His behavior seemed better suited for an afterschool special. But none of these things distract from the fact that this was still an excellent comic.
Ivan Reis and Joe Prado make a terrific art team! I especially loved how their work complemented each other on Brightest Day, and that continues to work here on Aquaman. I am sure this will no go over well with the angry women who seem to occasionally pop up to comment on my insensitive reviews and comments, but Mera was really hot in this issue.
I also like that panel because it seems like the world’s strangest dog food ad.
Who would have ever thought that Aquaman would be a top ten comic book? And this book definitely deserves it! Johns, Reis, and Prado are staging a coup here and making Aquaman not only relevant but one of the best comics any company is putting out.
After reading this comic, I hope DC considers giving Mera her own mini-series or maybe even an ongoing. It’s clear there are many great stories to tell about Mera, and DC needs to get on that right now! HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!
Final Score: 9.0 – Johns has proven that it’s possible to write a great Aquaman comic that stays very true to the character. This Mera-centric issue is just another great issue in a great series.
Tags: Aquaman, DC Comics Relaunch, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Reviews