Written by Geoff Johns
Drawn by Pete Woods
*Review contains spoilers*
One of the best books to come out DC’s rebooted ‘New 52′ universe for me has been Aquaman and this latest issue is the best yet in my opinion. Aquaman was a character that before this had very little importance in the DC universe. I really enjoyed how Mark Waid wrote the character in ‘JLA: Year One’ and Peter David’s run on the character, but other than that, not a lot of quality Aquaman stories come to mind and Arthur had become something of a joke to not only comic readers, but also in other media such as TV and film. Enter Geoff Johns who has built a reputation for taking heroes and villains, putting his own spin on them and re-establishing them as credible characters again.
Since Johns got hold of the character he has turned him into a major powerhouse and sales on the book have reflected that. This latest issue serves as a prelude to ‘Throne of Atlantis’, a crossover that will take place with the Justice League book also written by Johns. As a prelude, the issue serves as a foundation and plants major seeds for the entire crossover. The issue mostly deals with Aquaman confronting his brother Orm, who sits on the throne of Atlantis as ruler since Aquaman gave up his birthright in favor of the surface world, about his possible involvement in a plot to attack it. Before the re-boot of the DC Universe, Orm was well known as the Aquaman villain, Ocean Master. As this is all new we are only starting to see his origins. We also get possible motivations for Aquaman’s suspicions of Orm’s hatred for the surface world in back story relating to the two brothers’ great-grandparents and their murder at the hands of sailors and the subsequent revenge Atlantis had on those involved.
Geoff Johns has been one of, if not my most favorite writer of modern day superhero comics. After being introduced early to his work on The Flash and JSA back in 2000 by a friend, I’ve collected everything with his name on it since. Being very fond of DC’s vast array of colorful villains and Johns’ penchant for re-inventing them I was instantly drawn to him as a writer. Another thing I love about him is his ability to plant seeds and plot threads and have them grow to fruition over a long period of time making the pay-offs and reveals that much more satisfying. This is one of the reasons I’m excited for Aquaman and this crossover. I’m drooling to see what he can accomplish with his take on Ocean Master and which way he’s going to take this story here and when it crosses into the Justice League book as well. There’s nothing more personal than a villain who has a blood tie to a hero so we could have the makings of a classic Aquaman story here. On a side-note, there’s a scene in this issue, which deals with another incarcerated Aquaman villain, Black manta, being potentially recruited to the Suicide Squad. I am a massive Suicide squad fan and have always wanted Johns to write an incarnation of the squad so if this is indeed planting that seed, color me excited!
For this issue we lost the regular series art team of Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. This team has now moved onto the Justice League book so for this issue we had Pete Woods on art duties. Ivan Reis will be sorely missed but did provide the gorgeous cover to the issue featuring Ocean Master. Pete Woods, whom I haven’t seen a lot of over the last few years does a more than competent job. His style bore enough resemblance to Reis so that it wasn’t a glaring transition but it was in his own style so he can’t be accused of aping the previous artist. I found many pages quite striking and especially loved the scenes between Aquaman and his brother. One thing that I found quite mystifying was while Ocean Master is featured front and center on the cover in all his glory, in the issue itself any scene he was in, he was cast in the shadows. I can understand why Johns chose to do this and it was to create tension and a mystery surrounding the appearance of the character but it didn’t serve a purpose when he was portrayed so evidently on the cover, but this was a small gripe with an overall fantastic issue. The last page cliffhanger featuring the return of a group of villains Johns established early in this series really has me excited and I think anyone who hasn’t tried the New 52 Aquaman, should do with this issue and jump on with the start of this storyline.
4.5 out of 5 nerds