Review: Aquaman #0 By Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Aquaman #0
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis

The short of it:

A few issues ago we were introduced to Doctor Shin and were given a few tastes of Arthur’s new origin, and his first trip to the sea. Here we see it elaborated upon as the issue essentially picks up with Arthur diving into the sea. I mean, sure, the book starts out with his father telling him his dieing wish, and that’s why he went to the sea but that’s….well, that’s the whole point. His father wanted Arthur to find his mother and let her know that he never stopped waiting for her. Then, with all the vultures looking for a story about the boy from Atlantis, he just says screw it and dives into the deep.

He promptly wrestles a shark. I love this book. Then he discovers his fish controlling telepathy just in time to not be out wrestled by the shark. All of this just in time to remember a lesson about lighthouse keepers his dad taught him just in time to realize…he’s somewhere that needs one. He’s just in time to save a father and daughter and their boat from a rock. When he tells them of who he is, the father tells him of a person he once heard of, and a trek that takes Arthur to Norway

Enter Vulko. Vulko who knows who he is immediately, and proceeds to tell him the story of his mother, and what happened to her after he was born. The story of the current king of Atlantis, the one sitting on a throne rightfully his. That of his brother Orm. Now, he takes Arthur on a journey to gain that which is his, as well as the relics of the Dead King.

First stop…Atlantis!

What I liked:

  • Finally a version of Vulko I like! The version I’m familiar with (the nineties) always came across a bit too pretentious.
  • Arthur versus the shark.
  • Man, the art team absolutely kills it this issue. The entire issue feels epic, and it really does deliver the big screen feel that makes Arthur feel like the A lister he should be and not the D lister he was perceived to be. In other words, it really matches the writing.
  • More on the art, the splash of Atlantis is poster worthy.
  • The things that he learned from his father are what made him a hero. He watches out for and protects others just like a lighthouse keeper. It’s a nice little metaphor for his role as a hero.

What I didn’t like:

  • I hate Orm’s origin. I mean, I get it, he’s the evil half-brother, and that part is cool. But the fact that he up and slaughtered his parents for power before he was a teenager just made me roll my eyes.
  • For as much as I enjoyed the book, I can’t deny that it was more than a little bit cliche. I pretty much knew what to expect from plot point to plot point, with the only real surprise being Vulko. Hell, even when I saw him I knew to expect something about the trident and Atlantis by the end of the issue.

Final Thoughts:

Man, something horrible must have happened in Atlantis or with Orm or both for Arthur to have turned from this still relatively wide eyed kid (despite the murdered father) into the jackass we keep seeing in the flashbacks with the Others.

This book is absolutely killing me with the constant teasing of the full origin. I mean it totally in the best way, it’s unfolding nicely, but I just keep wanting to know more. Geoff is doing a nice job of rehabbing Aquaman through his origin, he’s much more in line with the classic version of the character and he’s managing that without any cheese.

Funny thing for me is that I just finished reading Peter David’s Atlantis Chronicles a week or so ago, so I have this vision of Atlantis in my mind that I know full well doesn’t really matter any more. It’s an awesome story though.

I like how Vulko escaped with the gems, I mean, of course he would have something to present Arthur with that would symbolize his importance to all who look at him. He needs that so he doesn’t just get killed on sight.

Geoff Johns can make just about any character cool if he gives them enough time and effort without shoehorning in a needless crossover. He can make them postively badass with a good crossover, however, and I’m hoping Throne of Atlantis (which crosses Justice League and Aquaman) will be the latter.

I’m going to miss Ivan, Joe, and Rod on this book. I’ll love them on Justice League (and they deserve it) but they have just been killing it here.

Overall: 8.5/10

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