Review: Aquaman #1

Written by Geoff Johns, Art & Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

Solicitation Info (from Previews): The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths! Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!

Bias: I’ve always liked the idea behind Aquaman more than the execution. Having said that, this creative team might be just what the doctor ordered – a team that can make the execution as good as the concept.

What I liked: I really liked this issue. I mean, I really liked it. When Geoff Johns said he wasn’t going to flinch away from the mockery usually attributed to Aquaman outside his own title, he wasn’t kidding – and it felt…right. The story was funny, and Aquaman proved himself to the reader. The artwork was absolutely stunning, as well.

What I disliked: Without giving away too much, I felt his decision toward the end of the comic felt odd in light of the events that happened throughout the issue leading up to it. I mean, I liked where the decision would lead the story in future issues, but it didn’t feel natural, given events.

Verdict: I’m collecting this title.

As always, SPOILERS in comments, including my favorite scene, thoughts on what happened, and questions about what’s to come.

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One response to “Review: Aquaman #1

  1. My favorite scene was Aquaman taking down the…bank robbers? (I just realized that I’d assumed they were bank robbers, but never does it mention that they are, so I guess all we know is that they’re the “bad guys.”) The scene was the first where we see Aquaman, and it set the stage for the rest of the issue (and probably the series). Aquaman was bad-ass, and definitely proved himself to the reader. He leaps from the harbor, stands his ground against a moving truck (and flips it on its hood using only his trident), withstands gunshots with only a minor scrape (head wounds always tend to bleed more, so that really was a minor scrape), before knocking out the bad guys. And yet, after all that, the cops aren’t impressed. No, their comment after its all said and done is “I can’t believe we just got upstaged by Aquaman. They boys at the station are never gonna let us hear the end of this.” He can shrug off bullets, and the normal cops are never going to hear the end of getting upstaged by him? Aquaman gets no respect. Oh, and I absolutely loved that he took that minor scrape from an automatic weapon – is he in Superman’s weight category? Nope, definitely not. But he’s a super hero in his own right.

    I was amused by the scene in the restaurant – what else would Aquaman eat except fish? And if he has the option of cooked fish, wouldn’t you want to eat it prepared instead of raw? (Especially since he was raised by a human father!) I half expected him to ask “what did you think I eat?” I think the bigger question is: if the people in the restaurant believed that fish were intelligent enough to speak, just in a language they themselves didn’t know, then why were they eating fish?

    The set-up for the big bads was fun – these guys aren’t evil, so much as primordial. They just want to eat. They’ve found a new place that was only supposed to be a rumor (“There is an above.”), and they’ve gone in search of food. Unfortunately, they’ve found mankind. With bad guys who aren’t evil, I’m interested in seeing how Aquaman handles the situation (though I can guess that the humans aren’t going to be happy about it if he takes their situation into consideration…)

    The decision he reached, however, was to give up being a king in Atlantis so he could try to make a life for himself on land. Right after a flashback of his father telling him the importance of responsibility, he states that he doesn’t want the responsibility of being king. And he chooses this in favor of living on land…where he’s constantly belittled and humiliated by the people he’s trying to protect. I really think we needed a scene where someone actually does like him and appreciates him. (Maybe a kid saying that Aquaman is his favorite superhero in response to the guy who says he’s no one’s – and throw in a thank you from the waitress.) Just that little extra to make his decision make sense – and maybe a comment about different responsibilities. I can see choosing to protect the people on land is a responsibility as well, so he should’ve made a comment to that effect (especially since the lighthouse operator vs. captain of a ship responsibility is very similar to the protector on land vs. king of Atlantis – Aquaman just doesn’t say so, so it feels odd…) Anyway, for all my griping about how it was handled, I do like the decision itself – it gives a lot more potential storylines for those of us living above the water, after all.

    As for the mysterious, hooded woman from Flashpoint #5, she can barely be seen, poking her head up on the far right of the fourth panel down on page 18.

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