Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Aquaman Annual #1 Review and **SPOILERS**


Aw, Mercy

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Jackson 
Artist: Max Fumara 
Colorist: Dave Stewart 
Letterer: Deron Bennett 
Cover: Max Fumara 
Cover Price: $4.99 
On Sale Date: November 29, 2017


Whee, it’s a fifth week and you know what that means: a bunch of Annuals that may or may not be part of the series continuity! Such a statement makes a fellow like Eric “The Continuity Kid” Shea tremble in his cowboy boots, but I embrace the opportunity to see people stretch their creative wings a bit. I’ve probably been burned more often than not, but I won’t stop believin’! And you shouldn’t stop reading, because my review of Aquaman Annual #1 is just below!

Explain It!

Despite the obvious allusions to an entire season of the television drama Dallas, I have always liked stories where it turns out that the protagonist’s perception does not jibe with reality. Fight Club, the Matrix, even Mazes and Monsters are movies about a deluded main character and a rich, false world of their own devising or that has been thrust upon them. And I dig them, on screen or on the page, when they are done correctly…or so stupidly that you can’t help but to like them anyway. Seriously, check out Mazes and Monsters for some early Tom Hanks excellence.
Plot reversals are nothing new in comics, either. There are plenty of Imaginary Stories from DC Comics, or crazy “hallucination while in a coma” instances to be found in the funny books. Indeed, DC Comics has a device, invented by Alan Moore and now overused to the point of ridiculousness, that is like an instant O. Henry ironic twist in a plant. It’s known as the Black Mercy, and once it gets its hooks into you, you slip into unconsciousness and endure a your greatest dream life, while in an inert state that will ultimately, we can presume, lead to your death. So this has been a way for DC creators to show what the greatest dreams of our favorite characters might be.
The problem is that it’s been used so often, and so recently, that you can smell it right away. It’s no longer a surprise revealed at the end, but a foregone conclusion that has to run its course before the inevitable realization of the dreamer(s) and shrugging off of the Black Mercy vine. Here, Aquaman and Mera live in a gorgeous spire, half in and half out of the ocean, in a world where land and sea are unified in a common purpose. Murk and some Aquaman-loyalists keep trying to break into the dream, but Arthur is happy with his family, including a really annoying son, until he figures it all out and pops the Black Mercy off like a dried booger.
It’s not a uniquely bad story, there’s members of the Justice League of Aquaman’s dreams featured, including Batman who behaves like Arthur’s suspicious conscience. The art looks pretty cool, though it gets a little loose in places. I think the Black Mercy is a toy that needs to be put away for a while, or used in a completely new way that the reader can’t possibly expect. Because I doubt many DC Comics loyalists couldn’t spot this ending a mile away.

Bits and Pieces:

We see a future as it might be, if Aquaman had his druthers, but of course it turns out looks are deceiving. Loyal readers of DC Comics will know what's coming by the fifth page. Some cool-looking artwork goes a long way to make this issue interesting.



  1. Honestly I think I enjoyed this story more than you but I thought this was some of the worst art I've seen in a comic in a long time the faces were just twisted and disgusting looking the entire issue and I will now specifically avoid anything drawn by this artist