Thursday, April 9, 2020

Throwback Review: Convergence: Aquaman #1 (2015) Review

Off the Hook

Written by: Tony Bedard
Art by: Cliff Richards
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 15, 2015

I have been pretty happy with the Convergence Event so far.  While I still don't have a complete grip on the "rules of the game", I've tried to stay positive and enjoy the characters and stories themselves. You see, there have been little differences (and I'm not talking Quarter Pounders in France) amongst the books that have made me shake my head and grimace.  One of the biggest is how the heroes find out who they are fighting and how they get to said fight.  Some are spelled out to the whole city, some seem personal and some don't even get one...then some are teleported, some speed off to fight while others just stumble across a battle.  I don't get it.  Well, I get it in this issue.  In my opinion, Tony Bedard gives readers the best version of setup for the fight of all the Convergence titles.  Does that also make this a good issue?  Yes and no...

Aquaman has not been having a good time under the Dome.  While the other heroes have tried to maintain a normal (superhero) life, he has really struggled.  Sure, it may be his own fault, but it's nothing that a good public relations agent couldn't change, right?  I'm not so sure.  When the Dome enveloped the city, he reacted to his loss of telepathy by taking over the Metropolis Aquarium and polluting the harbor.  Not a good start to things and as Cat Grant reports on television, his reputation hasn't improved in the year since.

So, on the advice of STAR Labs Director Dorrance, he's been out patrolling the streets, but even that isn't helping.  Like I said, he hasn't been having a good time.  Then the Dome goes down.  I won't say that things are looking better, but at least he's got his telepathy back.

This is the part I said that Tony Bedard got so right.  When Aquaman is hearing Telos, he remarks that he thinks that he is personally seeing who he has to fight.  Thank you!  That makes sense to me. With all the other heroes in the city, it only makes sense if each of them is seeing their own enemy.  Aquaman has no idea who it is, but he is sure the guy is coming for him and goes off to prepare.

We then switch to the Department of Extranormal Operations.  Seriously, this was either the most unnecessary or overworked group over the past year, I can't decide.  Now that the Dome is gone and superpowers are back, they stop playing Minecraft or whatever they've been doing and prepare for trouble.  Unfortunately, Aquaman's villain comes a calling and makes it a really bad return to work.

Deathblow is in the house.  If you're not familiar with him, he is a Wildstorm character created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi who will likely remind everyone of Deathstroke.  I can't say I'm a fan, but I love what Bedard does with him.  He has shown up at the DEO headquarters to gather intel on Aquaman and just wrecks shit up.  That's cool enough, but the part I loved was the consistency Bedard keeps with Deathblow's Wildstrom background.  He laughs at the term "meta-humans" for what he considers "gen-actives".  I thought that was a great little touch.  The issue ends with Deathblow acting all Schwarzenegger and preparing to kick aquatic ass.

I'll give Tony Bedard full credit, he may not have been given the best cards in the deck, but he put together a decent hand.  Aquaman and Deathblow...really?  I think he made a good choice by focusing on both the hero and the villain which is something we haven't seen much in Convergence so far.  I can't say I'm on the edge of my seat for next month, but that's more to do with the characters than anything that Bedard did or didn't do.

I will not cut corners, I didn't like Cliff Richards art in this book one bit.  Maybe it fit this darker Aquaman better than a more light and cartoony style, but it wasn't for me.  It really was a "first sight" thing and I didn't like it the instant I saw it.  After reading the whole issue, I can't say I changed my mind.

Bits and Pieces:

Tony Bedard really does the most with what he was given here.  The darker 90's Aquaman coupled with the Wildstrom villain, Deathblow, had no right to be this good.  I'm not saying it's a great issue, but I like how Beadard sets things up and makes everything fit.  I did not like Cliff Richards art, however, and that knocked the score down a bit.


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