Despite the planet's contentious political climate at the moment, Aquaman yet seeks an accord with we, the land-dwelling folk of the world. This is an engaging and charming story backed up by some dynamite artwork that should really be seen and appreciated. If you walked away from Aquaman for whatever reason, then you might want to take a few tentative steps back, because this issue is certainly worth reading.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Aquaman #1 Review and **SPOILERS**
Art By: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessey, Gabe Eltaeb
Lettered By: Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: June 22, 2015
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
One thing I’ve always liked about Aquaman is that he can be traced back to a specific American state. Places like Gotham and Central City, it’s sometimes implied where they are roughly positioned on a U.S. map. Arthur Curry’s birthplace is Amnesty Bay, which (despite not being a real place) is in Massachusetts. So that really begs the question: is Aquaman a Red Sox fan? Does he celebrate Patriot’s Day? Does he speak with a New England accent??? Because if he does, well that changes just about everything. I’m going to need to read every issue aloud from now on. I’ll use my best Kennedy family inflection: “Er, ah, Ocean Mastah, I’m gonna knawck your blawck off y’got me so wicked pissed awf!” I just made him ten times more awesome. “Mera! Er, ah, Bleack Meanta is creatin’ a clustah in the watah! Theah’s fish all ovah the place, it’s a real shit show!” I suggest you read my review using your best New Englander voice, so you’re in practice for the next issue of Aquaman. Read on!
I don’t normally use this space for political diatribes, but there’s something going on in this country that has to be addressed. We are vulnerable, practically surrounded by terrorists that want nothing less than to swarm our great nation and either convert or eradicate us. I know the bleeding hearts would have you believe that we can get along, that not all of “them” are evildoers, but you can’t let those people lull you into a false sense of security. I’m talking, of course, about Atlanteans, who have waged war on the land dwellers (us) for centuries—and worse, they keep immigrating and taking all of our water-based jobs. Now their half-breed king Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman—Aqua-freaking-man, if you can believe that—has established an embassy for Atlantis right near his boyhood home of Amnesty Bay, Massachusetts, in an attempt to bring peace between land and sea. There will never be peace between land and sea as long as you still have sharks and giant squid down there, dammit! It’s like asking someone to shake hands with a nightmare! Anyhow, the embassy is called Spindrift, and it looks like a scrunched up bedspring. He and his…wife, I thought? He and Mera are hosting a big press conference to show off their new digs, but you’ll never catch me stepping foot in there. I’d probably start another war because I didn’t kiss their sacred crab claw or something.
This press conference is very well-attended, but we need concern ourselves with only two of the attendees: Lieutenant Joanna Stubbs of the Royal Navy, and Ray Delane of the Daily Planet, who is the most conspicuous person in the world. If you find those names difficult to remember, don’t worry: they will reiterate them several times throughout the book. It’s under the auspice of introducing themselves to Atlantean dignitaries which is…pretty clever, actually. Lieutenant Stubbs runs into Sark, Captain in the Atlantean Royal Guard, and they immediately hit it off because they belong to agencies that have the word “royal” in the name. Aquaman and Mera welcome the world’s representatives to Spindrift with an appropriately pithy speech and a sumptuous banquet of the best Atlantis has to offer, which is primarily sea slugs and probably kelp burgers. This sits none to well with Ray Delane of the Daily Planet, who rushes off during dinner to puke.
Ever the gracious hostess when she’s not a calculating war general, Mera tells Sark to go check on Ray Delane of the Daily Planet while she chats up Lieutenant Stubbs. The two of them hit it off because they wear the same lipstick, and Stubbs tells Mera she needs a private audience with Aquaman to talk state secrets. Mera says it can be arranged, but first try some squid guts in poached manatee stomach. Meanwhile, Sark catches up with Ray Delane of the Daily Planet, who appears to be puking in a hallway. Upon closer inspection, Sark sees that he’s planted little bombs in the wall, and Ray takes advantage of his surprise to smack him around a little bit! Ray Delane of the Daily Planet isn’t Ray Delane of the Daily Planet at all, he’s Black Manta in a holographic Ray Delane costume! Manta harpoons Sark to the wall through his shoulder, the blows the bombs so a massive amount of water floods the place and generally ruins the mood. Mera is able to hold back the crushing wall of water with her, uh, water-moving powers, but Black Manta shoots her with a harpoon, too! Curiously, also in her shoulder...is this a special “wounding only” weapon? Aquaman rushes into the rushing wave and tackles Manta, then they fight in some well-drawn panels where Black Manta explains his gripe with Arthur for the uninitiated, then stabs him with a knife…right in the shoulder! Black Manta, you need glasses!
So first off, I really, really liked the art in this issue. A lot. There were some up-the-nostril close-up scenes I might have done without, though they were nicely drawn. Part of me feels like the plotting could be a little more decorative, or interesting somehow, but it’s certainly readable which is what counts most of all. The story is enjoyable and includes lots of funny moments that are worth reading, and which I did not allude to at all in my review. C’maan! It’s three bucks! The dialogue is good, the scenario is intriguing, the art is spectacular, what else do you want in a comic book? What? Oh, you want Batman, huh? You want Batman in your comics, do you? You’ll read Aquaman and like it, it’s good for your heart!
Bits and Pieces: