Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Following the death of close friend and fellow member of The Others, Vostok, Aquaman loses it and goes on the hunt for Black Manta who has stolen ancient Atlantean artifacts. Aquaman, blinded by revenge is looking to put an end to Black Manta once and for all.
Aquaman is the series that just keeps giving and hasn’t let up since Johns started with his New52 takeover of the title. Johns’ ability to craft really great stories has pushed Aquaman to the front and center of the DC Universe as one of the best books coming out of the New52. Issue #13 pushes the pace even more as The Others story arc comes to an end. For those who haven’t been keeping up The Others are another superhero squad Aquaman had aligned himself with many years ago who were in charge of protecting various Atlantean artifacts, each deriving different powers from the artifacts in their possession. Black Manta has claimed the lives of two members of The Others and that’s just too much for Aquaman’s frail psyche to handle. After Black Manta killed Vostok, Aquaman goes on a bid for vengeance, wanting to go at it alone for fear of losing more friends. Mera sees how personal Aquaman is taking this situation and reminds him of just what Aquaman stands for.
I loved seeing Aquaman hell bent on revenge. The way he stays so focused on Manta drives home just how personal this is to him. This is one of his greatest adversaries after all, but seeing how nothing short of Manta’s death would suffice was really eye opening to me. I usually would not associate Aquaman with that kind of justice, but I dug it all the same. Johns has really added another facet to a character that no one took seriously before and has made him into a very well rounded character. Even Aquaman is allowed to have a bad day from time to time. I did find it interesting that in the end it’s Mera who provides the voice of reason since she has always been the one who I would associate as the more blood thirsty of the two. Trust me folks, Mera is no joke and not someone who’s bad side I’d want to be on. Again though this is another way that Johns has shaken up the characters a bit to flesh out more character development. I loved the way she does this too by presenting the Aquaman costume to Arthur, on its stand. He’s forsaken the costume as of late since his need for Black Manta’s blood has blinded him to what he really stands for. This was the perfect way to get through to him and provide him with a much-needed moment of clarity.
The final fight serves to reaffirm Arthur’s stature as Aquaman and as the hero he really is, not the bloodthirsty man he was at the start of this issue. Of course we also learn here that Black Manta was not acting alone, though we never find out exactly who was pulling the strings. Another great cliffhanger that definitely left me wanting to grab the next issue the moment it’s released. There was also a very touching moment when Prisoner-of-War, another member of The Others who is haunted by the souls of his former military unit, seeks out the family of the souls haunting him so that he can finally get some peace. I loved this scene since I, for one, am a person who enjoys a little tug at the heartstrings from time to time.
As always this issue packs in some great art and action. The panels of Manta and Aquaman’s finale battle were done so beautifully and serve to show how a fight is done right. I can’t say enough how wonderful Rod Reis colors are. Combined with Ivan’s pencils, they have elevated the great stories Johns’ scripts serve up. Kudos to the whole Aquaman team for shining a huge light on a character that really needed some shine.
4 out of 5 nerds
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