What a week! Almost all of the Avengers titles are steaming full speed towards Infinity. We are starting to to see some of the effects of the Age of Ultron aftermath in Hunger. The Spirit and the Rocketeer had a tussle out in Hollywood, and Kate Bishop learned that inter dimensional travel may not be quite as dangerous as LA. But out of all this, the two best books of this week — Captain America and Aquaman — boiled down to simple things: fatherhood and kingship. Sadly, only one can claim that glowing piece of the radical rock…
Long live the king of Atlantis!
Geoff Johns has done an amazing job revitalizing Aquaman. He has taken him from the butt of every superhero joke to a force to be reckoned with. Along with Arthur Curry’s return to the forefront of the DC Universe, Geoff has also been building one hell of a fantasy epic for Aquaman. What started with the secrets of The Trench has blossomed into a struggle for power amongst kings new and old. There are usurpers, angry brothers, would-be kings, murders, magic, submarines, and SHARKS! Seriously, this series has been kicking so much ass.
If you’re looking for a Game-of-Thrones-style comic, Aquaman should be your pick.
Aquaman #22 saw everything Geoff has been weaving come to a head. A rebel Atlantean faction is on their way to Belle Reve prison to break out Orm, Aquaman’s brother, to restore him as the proper king. Arthur has come face to face with the ancient “Dead King” of Atlantis, and Scavenger has sacked Atlantis and stolen the throne. Who thought Aquaman could be this epic?!
Johns did a wonderful job tying in almost all of his loose threads this issue. There were some great call backs to the beginning of the series and some crazy action to boot. The only thing that could have made this issue any cooler would have been to bring Black Manta into the fold! It also helps that Johns has a knack for throwing characters into situations that make them question everything they know. Arthur’s encounter with the Dead King was wonderfully done. I was expecting a kind of big bad villain archetype, but was given a rather tragic figure who I could sympathize with. Well done, Geoff, I can’t wait to see where this will lead Arthur!
Paul Pelletier has taken over art duties since Ivan Reis took off for Justice-ier pastures back in Issue #15. When I heard Reis was leaving, I was pretty worried. Aquaman is the kind of character were any sort of upset in the status quo could kill all the momentum that had been made. My doubts were all completely unfounded. Pelletier has been doing a beautiful job on this book. I think he has hit his stride with issue #22. He penciled a two page spread of Aquaman throwing a ship — not part of a ship — a whole frigging ship at the Dead King of Atlantis. Eat your heart out, Gypsy Danger.
What I really love his how well his art shows that this book takes place under water. Part of that credit should really got to Rod Reis, the colorist. Anything that takes place underwater has a pale aqua tinge to it. It’s really quite stunning to look at. And in a book where we have action above and below the surface it is essential to be able to tell exactly where you are from frame to frame.
To all you Aquaman haters out there, just stop it. Yep, he was really silly for a long time, but not anymore. Aquaman is now a force to be reckoned with and is one of the best books DC is putting out right now. So grab Aquaman #22 but be warned, you may find yourself throwing down some more cash for to catch up on back issues after reading this!