Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aquaman #28 Review

Written by: Jeff Parker
Art by: Paul Pelletier
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: February 26, 2014

Arthur and Mera's High School Reunion

Aquaman dodges torpedoes, fights off sharks and looks for answers.  Mera might just be Ariel and Arthur wasn't on the high school swim team, but took wood shop.  High School Reunions suck even if you are the King of the Sea.

Jeff Parker had the unenviable task of taking over Aquaman from Geoff Johns.  I mean, all that Johns did was take a character considered a joke by many and turn him into a kickass character.  So what did Jeff Parker do?  In his first three issues he has respected Johns' run while slowly injecting his own take, mainly his humor, into the book.  Aquaman #28 shows that Aquaman is in good hands going forward.

Aquaman is stuck between worlds.  Last issue he really pissed off the Atlantians by killing the Karaqan, but this issue opens with the hope the monster is still alive.  Unfortunately, their search for it leads them to the underwater Triton Base where they are not welcome.  Arthur again is in a tug-of-war between Atlantians who don't trust surface dwellers and surface dwellers who fear Atlantians.  In this case, I'm going with the Atlantians.  These guys of Triton Base are bad news.  When Arthur saves the diver who was being attacked by sharks last issue (those sharks were really savoring that meal), he isn't thanked, but threatened.  He has a brief reunion with Dr. Shin who promises to fill him in on the whole base thing later.  There is plenty to fill in with the Karaqan's brain and the mysterious human experiments going on in the underwater base.

Reunion is the theme this month so when Arthur and Mera decide to spend some down time in Amnesty Bay, they find out Arthur's High School Reunion is happening.  Arthur can face sharks, Pacific Rim Monsters and alien threats, but he is afraid to attend his High School reunion.  Brilliant. Jeff Parker doesn't use the reunion for humor sake only.  It really shows the humanity and vulnerability of Aquaman.  As Arthur figures out if he'll go, the reader gets a great flashback of a young Arthur figuring out his powers and place in the World.  It is a great scene and one that has haunted Arthur since.

This reunion isn't just flashbacks and somber times, though.  It's also hilarious.  Mera convinces him to go to the reunion and the interaction between Arthur and his former classmates is great.  Parker has definitely been to some reunions of his own because he nails it.  Arthur runs into a few friends, a few guys who thought they were friends, his ex girlfriend and a guy who did something to Arthur's car that he regrets, but Arthur doesn't remember.  Arthur even has to work a little Atlantian PR concerning the recent events in the book.  I may be in the minority, but I love seeing Arthur have to deal with his Human side as well as his Atlantian.  It makes everything that happens in the book more believable.

Paul Pelletier is on this issue full time and it shows.  Everything looks great.  Pelletier is one of the best artists in the New 52 and having him remain on this book made the transition between Johns and Parker even more seamless.

Bits and Pieces:

Aquaman #28 continues showing fans that Jeff Parker wont just maintain the quality of the book, but bring something very special to it as well.  The character moments and humor make this issue my favorite of his short run so far.  With the mysteries that were hinted at this issue, Aquaman better enjoy his down time because thing are surely about to heat up.


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