Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1 Review

I Don’t Get No Respect

Written by: Dan Abnett
Pencils by: Paul Pelletier
Inks by: Andrew Hennessy
Colors by: Rain Beredo
Letters by: Carlos M. Mangual
Review by: Simon West

On the surface, an Aquaman/Jabberjaw crossover is one of those ideas that makes you ask “why hasn’t this been done before?”. Nobody’s favorite Scooby-Doo rip off meets nobody's favorite character from the Super Friends, is there anything more these two outcasts share? Let’s dive in and find out.

Jaws in the summer of ‘75 caused a wave of shark-mania to wash over the pop culture landscape resulting in the creation of Jabberjaw himself, fittingly this is where Dan Abnett chooses to start his story. Shark attacks are on the rise in Amnesty Bay and the local law enforcement have asked Aquaman to look into it before the game fishers arrive to claim the bounty, turning the town upside down in the process.

A meeting between our titular heroes in the grocery store and a quick dive into the ocean to confront a swarm of angry sharks sends them through a time portal to Los Aquales in 2076 where Dan Abnett does his world-building, laying out a timeline that not only sets up Aquaman as a popular figure in Jabberjaw’s world but also incorporates another forgotten Hanna-Barbera property of the 1970s. Here Dan Abnett takes the time to draws more comparisons between the two properties he’s been handed, Aqualand is an effective representation of the Aquaman’s own desires to see peace between Atlantis and the surface world, but Los Aquales is a city beset by inequality and prejudice that makes Aquaman question if his two worlds ever could coexist.

Aquaman's melancholy is rudely interrupted by our introduction to the rest of the Neptunes. Having rewatched some old Jabberjaw episodes for this review I can say that thankfully the most irritating aspects of the Neptune have been heavily curbed. Quickly relegated to background characters Biff, Bubbles, Clamhead and Shelly never get in the way of the main focus of the book, while the Neptunes remain present for the rest of the story this never stops being an Aquaman/Jabberjaw story and for that I’m thankful.

The gang start their investigation into whose sending angry sharks back in time but quickly fall foul of some pacing issues and a giant mechanical shark. It’s here things seem to start happening purely because there's only a set number of pages left and the story needs to be wrapped up.

The Ocean Master announces himself and after clarifying that this is definitely not the Ocean Master Aquaman is used to he, unfortunately, becomes a bit of a character, eyes were rolled as he stands there complaining about the liberal inclusivity of Aqualand. Its then quickly revealed that Ocean Master is working in league with Dorsal and Aqualands own Atlanteans, at this point Aquaman has decided that the differences between this world and his own are too great and this story is no longer a time travel story and instead is a multiversal one instead. This whole sequence felt rushed, and while it provided the opportunity for Aquaman to flex his muscles and prove his hero credentials as a reader it ticks along a bit too quickly with villains announcing their motivations to whoever is willing to listen.

Aquaman’s adventure in Aqualand ends, as all good kids cartoons of the 70s should, with the bad guys in handcuffs being taken away by the police and the band putting on a show in the local club, the dream of Aqualand is shining brightly once more as the Neptunes set out to use their music to bring together man and marine life.

Captain Caveman Backup
Written By: Jeff Parker
Art By: Scott Kolins
Colors by: David McCaig
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual

There's an 8 page Captain Caveman backup, where nothing happens. The Spectre and the Wizard Shazam have a disagreement about something which is never quite settled upon, at the start, it’s about whether heroism is a recent trait or not but at the end of the story the Spectre concedes that nobility is not a recent concept. Regardless of what the bet was to start with it's just used as an excuse for the Wizard to pull Captain Caveman out of his prehistoric home and into our world, where through a bunch of hit and miss Scott Kolins art he punches a bunch of things and bakes a cake. I don’t really know what the point of this was, it feels like an elevator pitch that somehow got printed.

Bits and Pieces:

Dan Abnett’s sea-based crossover goes beyond the basic comparisons between these two characters to explore some deeper themes that reside in both franchises. A healthy amount of laughs and solid artwork are let down by some pacing issues and an entirely unnecessary backup.



  1. This was a fun one. The two brands actually worked well together.

    1. Nice! We are doing a Patreon thing for all four of the issues and I hope I enjoy them!