Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Aquaman #18 Review and **SPOILERS**

Well, There’s Your Answers

Writer: Dan Abnett 
Penciller: Scot Eaton 
Inker: Wayne Faucher 
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb 
Letterer: Pat Brosseau 
Cover: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy & Gabe Eltaeb 
Assistant Editors: Amedeo Turturro & Diego Lopez 
Editor: Brian Cunningham 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: March 1, 2017


I gotta tell you, world events have really made me consider the value of good diplomacy. I mean, blustery pride in the arbitrary boundaries that comprise your nation-state is important, of course, but it’s nice to be cordial with your neighbors as well. That’s the line Aquaman has to dance, to remain the stalwart leader of the proud Atlantean people while maintaining good relations with folks on land. The fact that Atlantis could fairly well eradicate most of the world’s population with their far superior military makes his job even trickier. We’ve been sort of dwelling on this fact since the series began, but the idea of world relations is of current interest, so Aquaman’s burden gets special consideration. But what about issue #18? Is anyone going to consider that? You bet I do, right here!

Explain It!

Over at Beckman College in Upstate New York, Aquaman is in a warzone…taking place inside Warhead’s brain! He figures out pretty quickly that he’s not actually in Bialya, which is being bombed by Khandaq in this scenario. These countries are DC Comics’ Lybia and Iraq, if you hadn’t noticed, but they are really stand-in for many war-torn Middle Eastern countries. On this phony battlefield, the Bialyans run in terror from a relentless Khandaqi bombing that is taking place after they’ve surrended! That’s just not fair fighting. Just then, Warhead starts speaking and explains that he was used by the Khandaqi army as some kind of tactical weapon against the Bialyans, but when they surrended the Khandaqis wanted him to continue on a course of revenge. This did not compute for Warhead, so they recalled him back to base and shot him in the head. Man, I’ve had those kinds of days with the computer too.
Per protocol, Warhead explains that he fled to several secure locations to perform repairs on himself, but he was woken from stasis when Black Manta used his aquatelepathy to kill his N.E.M.O. operatives way back in Aquaman #14. Which is a decent tie-in. Warhead is explaining all of this, incidentally, while throwing Aquaman around the laboratory and Secret Service agents assigned to Aquaman’s protection are pounding on the door. Despite this, Aquaman feels compassion for Warhead, seems to have a special understanding for him, and so offers him sanctuary in Atlantis so he can complete his repairs. Uh, didn’t this guy get someone to kill himself last issue? Also, should a weaponized android be brought back online? Warhead admits that he was created by China’s Ministry of Self-Reliance (the same folks that created New Super-Man!) and sold to the Khandqi army, so…does that give anyone pause? No? All good then?
When Aquaman projects his brain-pics of Atlantis in Warhead’s metalized melon, at first Warhead sees it as a great tactical advantage to control. That’s when Aquaman starts beating him down and explains to Warhead that he’s got Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is sort of a current events issue if you didn’t know. Aquaman tells Warhead to run his scenarios to evaluate the real threat here, and surprise, surprise, it’s Warhead. He shuts down his “technopathic” abilities, making his eyeballs look human again, and then Warhead and Aquaman simply stroll out of Beckman College like it ain’t a thing. Arthur dumps Warhead at Atlantis, then goes to meet Mera at Amnesty Bay, where Major Ricoh of the Aquamarines is waiting to speak with them—to fight against some new menace or such!
Well, you can’t say this issue didn’t answer any lingering questions you might have had about Warhead. It’s sort of strange to go from two issues where he’s the mysterious telepath in the shadows to a full issue infodump, but I am glad to see a story technically done in two issues. And a pretty good one at that. This is really a solid comic book and the pacing has a lot to do with it. I’m also heartened by the fact that Arthur addresses the fact that he’s gone from the Justice League’s joke to someone many people fear—I dunno if he’s been all that scary lately, but I do embrace any attempt to lighten the proceedings. Up until now, I’ve said that if you are already a fan of Aquaman, you’ll enjoy this book…but I’m starting to think this is becoming a good place to hop on board if you’re so inclined.

Bits and Pieces:

You'll go from neophyte to expert where Warhead is concerned in this issue, but it's a pretty engaging story that deals with a very current topic. There's some great characterization of a compassionate Aquaman, as well as another diplomatic wrinkle that I'm sure will turn up in the future. The pacing and action of this series is very satisfying and consistent. You should give it a look.



  1. I wish more people would read this title the sales aren't bad or anything (for Aquaman, could be better) but it is definitely one of the best and most consistently good titles in Rebirth definitely deserves more attention.

    1. The art is a big turnoff. When you get used to Reis and Pelletier you get spoiled and the goosebumps costume of Aquaman is horrible. Abnett does a great job with the story and doesn't overlook the legacy part. I wish he revamps as many old Aquavillains as possible and bring back Merder, The Trench, Orm, Nereus, Dead King, Scavenger, Chimera, the Giant Born, Karaku lava king, Siren, Legend and his creation Dead Water.