Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Aquaman #32 Review and **SPOILERS**


Ready, Get Set, On Your Marks, Counting Down…

Story: Dan Abnett 
Artist: Riccardo Federici 
Breakdowns: Rick Leonardi 
Color: Sonny Gho 
Lettering: Steve Wands 
Cover: Stjepan Sejic 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: January 17, 2018


I’ve been giving this current story arc, now bulging at around more than a dozen individual comic book issues, for being a little slow and plodding. I mean, in monthly comics, that’s more than a year spent on essentially the same story. In truth, though, actual political revolutions take a longer time to put together. There would be a series of injustices, building up in the minds of a certain segment of the public, who would then gain each others’ confidence over years while sliding the necessary components for revolution into place. In truth, a political coup might happen in one day, but it will have been preceded by a decade’s worth of planning. And you know what the revolutionary force would not require during that decade? FOUR DOLLARS A MONTH TO READ ESSENTIALLY THE SAME STORY TWELVE TIMES! Sigh. Okay, I hope I haven’t buried the lede, but read my review of Aquaman #32, right here!

Explain It!

I remember very well the wall clocks I saw during my time attending public schools. For one thing, they were permanently affixed to the walls, clock tumors that seemed to bulge from the very brick face itself. Sometimes a thin conduit stretching from the bottom and stretching down the wall like some kind of twenty-five cent sticky toy, before disappearing into the invisible electrical system somewhere near the vinyl-tiled floor. Better-planned rooms would have no visible power source at all. The clock itself was protected by a plastic bubble or, in later years, actual locked cages, so none could tamper with the hands of times. Perhaps public school struggled to control various aspects of student life, but they made sure to control the campus’ time—a fact made painfully clear when they wasted yours in detention or some other motionless punishment. I can remember watching those clocks for so long, I thought the hands started moving backwards.

I suspect that, in the age of digital clocks updated to a uniform moment by satellite, this is not such a thing.
This story has been going on for too long, with not enough happening. We’ve been treated to some absolutely gorgeous artwork, first by Stjepan Sejic, and more recently from a team led by Riccardo Federici. But there’s nothing happening here, and too much telling, not showing the moments that might actually be compelling. I’m putting this commentary here and not at the end of the review because I have so little to add to what happened last issue. Aquaman frees Mera from King Shark’s imposed prison, which he tries to couch as some kind of recuperative machine, but we know it was about ransom—the same type of ransom attempted by King Shark’s predecessor, Krush. While being healed by the Widowhood, they have this super long conversation with Arthur about how they want Mera to be the Queen of Atlantis, uniting Atlantis with Xebel and putting a real ball-breaker in the throne for once. Mera tells her story, pertaining to what she’s been up to since Arthur’s been presumed dead: longing, hanging out with the Justice League, more longing—and now seems resolute in the fact that she may have to rule Atlantis to bring about peace. So that’s some new stuff. Not terribly fascinating stuff, but new.
Then, King Shark does not agree to join the revolution—the Drift, or the Deluge, or whatever they are calling themselves today—and they finally attack and breach Corum Rath’s throne room in a terrific splash page that looks like Aquaman is flanked by two Tyrannosaurus Rexes while surging into the palace. So after all this standing around, and having to tell the same story twice, this looks about to wrap up. And with this art team in place, I can’t wait to see the next issue. But lord, we have walked too long and boring a road to get here. And what we have in this issue is basically four bucks for one great page worth of art.

Bits and Pieces:

On the very last page of this issue, it's the moment we've all been waiting for. Otherwise, this book is mired in circular conversation and the same conundrums that have persisted for the last ten issues. This new art team is absolutely terrific and I hope to see a lot more from them to come. As for this plodding story arc, I hope it wraps up next issue.


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