Thursday, November 27, 2014

Aquaman #36 Review

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

Martian Mystery Theater

I have been a big supporter of Jeff Parker's run on Aquaman since he took over from Geoff Johns.  While Johns legitimized the character, Parker made the book fun.  I know some may scoff at the idea, but some of my favorite issues (class reunion!) have been by Parker.  With his new story, Maelstrom, Parker is setting his sights on something bigger than a few chuckles.  Last issue started the mystery of Arthur's missing Mother and a living Atlantis and this month, Parker gives us a heavy hitting guest star. Martian Manhunter is in the house and while it seems like an odd fit at first, it makes sense...for the most part.

This issue starts with Arthur ripping Vulko out of jail and forcibly taking him to his Mother's empty tomb.  Vulko still sticks with his story that he saw her die and he's telling the truth.  How do we know?  Because Martian Manhunter says so.  Yes, J'onn J'onnz is in Atlantis and while the idea seemed weird to me, seeing why he's there makes sense.  This isn't just a wacky teamup (though that would also be cool), Arthur is calling in favors to find the truth.  Of course, Arthur inviting yet another outsider into Atlantis causes a few ripples.

One thing that I was wary about after last month was the idea of a "living" Atlantis.  However, what I thought was just a forced story hook is developed into something more this month, thanks again to Martian Manhunter.  Because of his psychic connection, J'onn can see the murder scene of Arthur's Mother.  When I say "see", I mean a play-by-play of the actual event.  After hearing Vulko's version, we get to see what really happened.  It's no surprise that the stories differ in one major way.  It opens up so many questions and is a great continuation of a really interesting mystery I'm looking forward to seeing more of.

Just when everything seemed good, Arthur and Parker go a little too far.  Arthur forces the issue by pushing Martian Manhunter to find out more information.  Parker turns it into a battle royal between a possessed Martian and everyone else.  It goes on way too long and just seems out of place in an otherwise impressive issue.  When the fight ends and the water (and fire) clears, Martian Manhunter forgives Arthur and gives him a new nugget of information.  It looks like Arthur is going back to the stargate...I mean the portal.

Paul Pelletier's art since Jeff Parker took over has been up and down.  This issue was right down the middle.  Nothing really wowed me, but it let the story flow nicely and the action scene was exciting enough.

Bits and Pieces:

The mystery of Arthur's missing Mother continues this month with the help of Martian Manhunter.  Jeff Parker uses him to advance the story in such a cool way, but then throws him into an unnecessarily long fight.  In the end, however, this issue continues the Maelstrom story in style and leaves the reader wanting


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