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Written By: Cullen Bunn Art By: Trevor McCarthy, Guy Major Cover Price: $3.99 Release Date: June 24, 2015
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Like Superman this week, this will be my first review of Aquaman and I've been waiting awhile to get a hold of this title. Again, if you read Superman reviews here before and liked Jim's style......well, like that book I'm going to be spoiling the hell out of Aquaman now, so hopefully you can get behind what I do too. We're starting fresh with this one, so if you haven't checked out this title before or fell off at some point, this is a perfect place to start. Let's get into this story and see what all the hubbub is about with Mera wanting Aquaman dead and him being on the run from his own people. Let's check it out.
As our story opens we see St. Louis, Missouri and it's Gateway Arch........ you know just chillin', but all at once a darkness comes from the Mississippi River creating an ancient structure within the arch........ Yeah, that's pretty random........ and terrifying, but don't worry because our King of Atlantis is there to put down this invasion. Immediately we see that this isn't the Aquaman that we're used to because for one thing we see he looks different on the cover....... but then we continue to see him with his new look as he battles black tendrils that retreat within the ancient structure and become actual nightmare monsters. This is all very Lovecraftian and I half expected all the tourists in the area to become insane after witnessing this event, but apparently people of Missouri and even people who visit Missouri are bad asses who don't even blink at the arrival of the Ancient Ones. I'm getting ahead of myself here. As we witness Aquaman taking on the horde of battle ready monsters, we see that our boy here is sporting some new powers. Not only can he turn his trident into a enchanted dagger....... and vise versa, but he can also call upon the power of the Ice King....... and well, call upon ice. I guess, this dark structure that appeared doesn't like Aquaman's trident because after he dispatches all the nasties, he plunges the trident into a wall and all at once the structure is gone and Missouri is back to it's normal self.
Once the battle is over we go into a flashback, where we see things as they once were. Aquaman is sporting his normal orange and greens and Mera, accompanied by a group of Atlanteans back Arthur up as they originally come across this darkness on the ocean floor. After they fight it back, Vulko gives them the lowdown after going over the data they collected. He tells us that Atlantis has been suffering from this for centuries but now, this "disease" is showing it's symptoms and these structures will continue to show up all over the world, poisoning it at a faster rate. Of course Aquaman is planning on stopping the threat and after a pseudo proposal to Mera....... You know, since they were married and then not in the continuity, we head back to the present and find out that shit has gotten real.
In the end, after Aquaman stopped the darkness in Missouri, Atlantean forces come to capture him, but using those nifty new powers he's obtained to stop this darkness, he teleports away and as the issue closes we see some strange things that I can't wait to be explained more. It seems that the reason Mera is hunting Aquaman is because he's protecting one of the cities/structures that crossed over into our world and we find out that it's not all shadow tendrils and nightmare monsters as the people of this structure in the Amazon welcome back the King of Atlantis.
That's it for this issue of Aquaman and even though I initially didn't like this direction for it's lack of exposition, by the end I was given enough information to keep me interested...... but I still would have liked more. It's just that with every example that we were given with this other place forcing itself into our world, it was all darkness and poison associated with it and by the end where we find out that Arthur's protecting these strange people, even though it could mean the end of Atlantis; just comes out of left field and I was left with my own conclusions about what's going on with this new story. Yeah, it's only the first part, but other than Aquaman fighting monsters and running from his own people, there isn't much to allow readers to enter this world and understand what's going on. As for the art, as much as I hate putting anyone's style down because of my lack of anything resembling artistic talent, I really disliked what we got here.......especially the flashback scenes. Everything just came off rough and Aquaman's features in the flashbacks looked like we were viewing them through a fun house filter. You ever hear about someone with a big forehead being called a five-head? Well, Aquaman's sporting a nine-head in those scenes and I just couldn't get into it. I'm on board with this story because I need further exposition for what Bunn set up here and I love seeing Aquaman rock all these new abilities, but the art really spoiled this issue for me and I don't expect this to a great jumping on point for readers like it should have been.
Bits and Pieces:
It seems like all our heroes in the Justice League are getting drastic makeovers this month and in a world where Superman's depowered and Batman's a robocop, it would be easy to overlook a character like Aquaman, but boy can I tell you that this is the most powerful Aquaman that you've ever seen........ It's just too bad that the story didn't do all it could to grab readers right away with a sufficient amount of exposition to make us at least feel like we know what's going on and the art really left me wanting more. The power ups and the ending should keep you interested in finding out more about this story, but I can't help but feel it could have been better.