Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Aquaman #14 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Few, the Proud, the Fishy

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Philippe Briones

Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

Letterer: Pat Brosseau

Cover: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy & Gabe Eltaeb

Cover Price: $2.99

On Sale Date: January 4, 2017


You know, if the U.S. military actually had a team of genetically-modified fish people for use in water-based operations, they wouldn’t call them the Aquamarines. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfect name that describes the group perfectly. But the real U.S. military would name them something boring, like Tactical Specialists, Aquatic Division with an innocuous code name like Operation Puppy Love. Anyway, we’re about to see the Aquamarines leap…or sort of shoot into the water like torpedoes, I suppose, into action! So let’s hop to it and read my review!

Explain It!

Oh boy! It looks like we’re going to finally see the second stage transformation of the elite Aquamarines military squad! I hope we don’t have to wai…oh. It’s on the very first page. Well, you can’t fault the book for pulling its punches. So the Aquamarines have been released into the ocean, and now we see them in their full glory. They’re basically Street Sharks. Except not all of them are sharks. We’ve got Dean Toye, code name Orca, looks like an Orca Whale; Adrian Ballard, code name Octo, sort of looks like a super mean octopus; Rhonda Ricoh, code name Great White, she is like your basic shark-faced human-shark hybrid (and looks awfully similar to the Dan Slott-created character of the same name…but that’s none of my business); Cory Wilks, code name Barracuda, and you can guess what he sort of looks like; Gary Kaleho, code name Lion, looks sort of like a green Lion Fish man-fist thing; and Marcel Ollie, code name Stone, who I guess emulates a Stone Fish? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Stone Fish. Maybe a Rock Fish? I’m not sure what they look like either. So with the team identified, this military aquarium heads to Atlantis to do some stealth assassinating. Emphasis on the assassinating.
Speaking of Atlantis, over in the Atlantean morgue where dead bodies are literally displayed under glass, Joanna Stubbs of the Royal Navy learns that her father died from fast-growing coral that had been implanted in his skull and activated remotely by N.E.M.O. It’s basically the ocean lover’s version of the brain bombs from Suicide Squad. Aquaman has a war with America to tend to, so he asks Murk to console Stubbs, which goes as hilariously awkward as expected. Eventually, Arthur makes it to his council of Old Dudes, who break his balls a while for not retaliating against America with force, when the Aquamarines come crashing through a window and start peeling off laser blasts! Or something. They kill two people and wound another before Mera shows up and breaks up the fighting with her telekinetic water powers. The fight with the Aquamarines is a little disappointing. I mean, they’re based after all these various fish (and a cephalopod) but that seems not to factor in since it seems only to mean that they can swim super fast and stay underwater indefinitely. Which, strictly speaking, an Orca Whale shouldn’t be able to do. I won’t pretend how gene splicing works, but this seems a little suspect to me.
After the assassination attempt, the remaining members of Arthur’s inner circle are pretty fired up to attack America, but he says that sending covert operatives to remove an opposing side’s leader is fair play under the circumstances. Dude, they tried to kill you! Can you maybe take some kind of decisive action here? Have a giant alligator make landfall right outside the Capitol Building just because you can. While considering his plan of inaction, Aquaman and Rowa figure out how to track N.E.M.O.’s coral-growing signal to its source. He sets Rowa to doing that and then addresses his people over an Atlantean Jumbotron…how does that work underwater? He tells them that he will make one last appeal for peace, and if it doesn’t work then he will abdicate the Throne of Atlantis. When he’s done, Rowa shows up with N.E.M.O.’s location, so Aquaman immediately takes off—and will face off with Black Manta and Black Jack next issue! I assume.
Once again, despite my nit-picking, I did enjoy this issue. It’s just that so much of it seems silly—the aquatic menagerie of fishy marines, Aquaman’s bursts of anger followed by tentative legislation are just plain wacky. And in the end, there are some pretty cool action scenes and a nice demonstrative return by Mera, who has been hanging in the background ever since she thought she was cursed to bring about the Deluge. The art is a little uneven in this issue, though it never gets truly bad. It’s just that some panels seem labored over while others…well, they exist. I hope this all wraps up next issue—that would be the perfect length, I think. This issue isn’t one to start reading Aquaman with, but if you began two issues ago when the Deluge kicked off, you could do a lot worse.

Bits and Pieces:

So we see the Aquamarines in action, and it's a little underwhelming. In the context of this story arc, this issue is decent, but alone it would read like the insane rantings of a madman. Which may be the point. All I'm saying that is if you decided 2017 is the year you start reading Aquaman, go a couple of issues back so you can understand the import of a Lion Fish/human hybrid.


1 comment:

  1. Has the Deep Six shown up yet since Flashpoint cause in getting a Deep Six vibe from these guys