Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Aquaman #20 Review and **SPOILERS**

Take Me to the Strange Water

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: April 5, 2017


Last we left this book, Dead Water showed up in some clandestine mining aquarium and was about to eviscerate everyone—including Aquaman! So let’s not dilly dally, folks! Here’s my review of Aquaman #20, right now!

Explain It!

We’re back to the creepy prehistoric fish store that is the U.S. Navy Research Station at the Gulf of Mexico, where Dead Water and Aquaman are going mano a mano…or mano a claw-o, I suppose, and frankly it looks like the claws are winning. While being choked to death, Arthur is able to shoutggest to Mera that she use her water powers to suck all the water out of the room. This drives Dead Water bonkers and it takes off through a hole in the wall…and shouldn’t everyone be, like, dying? I mean, human beings need water to live, at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe by the insidious water police. Anyway, it turns out that being instantly dehydrated just wreaks havoc on everyone’s sinuses. Mortimer is freaking out because he didn’t expect to see Dead Water to be here, and he does look an awful mess. To be fair, though, much of that is because Dead Water slashed his face open back at the end of the New 52. But still…he looks like his eyeball is hanging out. Gross.

Because Aquaman is the baddest ass in the area, he orders the Aquamarines on patrol while he goes to work on the signal jammer that folks at the salvage site were working on before they all vanished, and somehow figures out that it’s really some kind of sonic shield to deter Dead Water, sort of like those invisible fences for dogs that work by sending high-powered electric shocks through their collars. That’s how they work, right? Aquaman needs Mortimer aka Scavenger to help make this thing work, and over course Mortimer is a complete prick about it but his ego is stroked enough that he gets to work. At the same time, Major Ricoh of the Aquamarines sent Ballard back to the boat to get some serious weaponry, despite Mera’s objections. Before they can argue the point in earnest, Wilks radios in that he’s found Dead Water—the monster was lurking in the sewers, at the latrine level! Mera, you expelled all the water on the base but didn’t do the bathrooms? How does the toilet work in Atlantis?

Dead Water kills Wilks pretty handily as the rest of the Aquamarines and Mera rush to the scene—and the Aquamarines actually “shark up!” Awesome! Maybe we’ll see…oh wait, no, just then Mortimer switches on the Dead Water deterrent and the fish monster turns back into a pink and very confused human being. Without missing a beat, Sergeant Toye riddles the poor dude full of bullets, because that’s how Aquamarine justice works. He figures Dead Water took enough lives to deserve a face full of lead. Aquaman and Mera decide to go scuba diving to the Strange Water that turned this poor sap into Dead Water in the first place, and to do so they need masks because Atlanteans can’t breathe in Strange Water. So are the scuba tanks filled with ocean water, then? I’m dying to know. While Arthur and Mera swim deep beneath the surface, encountering weird-looking ancient fish along the way, back at the Naval Base folks discover that the fellow who turned into Dead Water didn’t even touch the Strange Water—something else is turning people into snakefish monsters!

Okay, we have to address this: it was a dumb idea to have the name of the beast-creating font and the beast itself contain the word “water”.” It just sounds ridiculous. “Dead Water” is a mediocre name for a monster anyway, but “Strange Water?” The last time I had strange water they called it absinthe. Beyond that, this story is decent and I am not having any trouble following it, but I feel like this could have been done in one issue. Perhaps it will unfold into a complex story with ramifications for the next two-thousand issues of Aquaman, but it really looks to me like they could have stuck a plug in the Strange Water drain and moved on. That’s really supposition about the story, on the face of it there’s nothing wrong with this comic book. Just not anything particularly fascinating, either.

Bits and Pieces:

This story is to be continued for at least another issue, which may its biggest crime. Not a wholly bad comic book, just not a lot more than what we got last issue. Maybe I shouldn't have so many expectations, but what can I say? I had a very entitled childhood.



  1. Hi jim! Big fan of your podcasts, been listening to you guys during this confusing superman reborn.. haha anyway this comic is a slow burn brah!! Just like wonder woman these days, gone are the days of good old action packed fighting and sexy ass wonderwoman.. instead we have rucka covering everything and the long dialogues he replaced it with.. haha just my observation.. although i really like steve trevor though and i hope diana & steve keep it real this time.. hehe peace out!!!

  2. Wow the fact I care for the deaths of Jonah Payne, Koah, Neol, Marcel Ollie and the 30 scientists even for baddies like Scavenger is indication that someone is very good at character development. So good that they look very real people and the dialogue is unstudied and lets you drift along smoothly into the story without spoiling too much. I think we have another case of Chris Claremont with fresh new ideas and higher standards. The art of Phillipe Briones is beyond amazing and Dead Water reminded me of a cross between Cedric and Venomvamdemon cool stuff. Shark up mode of Aquamarines is so priceless and I have discovered my new anti-hero team crush. I'm hooked like a trout! 9/10