Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Aquaman #52 Review and **SPOILERS**

Ain’t Nothin’ Happenin’

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick 
Pencils: Robson Rocha 
Inker: Daniel Henriques 
Colorist: Sunny Gho 
Letterer: Clayton Cowles 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: September 18, 2019


We’re back at it, after the pause in the action presented by that Year of the Villain tie-in…with another Year of the Villain tie-in. It does portend taking place during a full year, after all. Let’s see what Black Manta does with Lex Luthor’s gift in this review of Aquaman #52, right now!

Explain It!

In the time since Geoff Johns wrote Aquaman, its writing duties have been handled by a few people: Jeff Parker, Dan Jurgens…Dan Abnett probably handled most of that post-Johns era, up until Kelly Sue DeConnick took over. In all that time–it’s been around six years, hasn’t it?—Aquaman has consistently been a nice, forgettable comic book, whose stories move at a snail’s pace and in which the stakes are relatively low. Nice enough for extant fans of the character, but nothing you’d go out of your way to recommend. And this issue, it really reminds me of the interminably drawn-out stories of yesteryear. There’s just nothing of note to report here. The big C’thulu monster that faced-off against Aquaman, Jackson, and the Elder Gods takes one of the Gods out and literally winks out of existence. It also knocks out the lighthouse at Amnesty Bay, by chewing Aquaman up and spitting him out almost literally, but that invokes a prophecy to be named later. There are lots of allusions to larger stories—between Jackson and Arthur, with Caille and the Elder Gods—but nothing to hang our hat on in this issue.  That really makes me feel like it’s not worth the cover price.

There’s also a weird stiffness to the dialogue in the second half of the issue, such that it makes me think something changed editorially. Or maybe not. But it makes the experience even less pleasurable. And I don’t mean to be so down on this issue, it’s just a wholly unremarkable thing. Even the plotting is pretty routine, cookie-cutter stuff.

The big Year of the Villain tie-in is Black Manta using the giant Manta-mech Lex bestowed him, which seems to have been programmed with his father’s acerbic personality. Once Black Manta does that, it’s time to show what this thing can do—which is destroy some pre-Atlantean artifacts long sought after by Black Manta’s father. Huh? Wanna make this thing clash with a sea monster or something? Perhaps the Lovecraftian behemoth that winked away at the beginning of the issue? It’s just missed opportunity after missed opportunity here.

Bits and Pieces:

A sliver of story sliced thinner, this issue will prove to be without great meaning later on when bigger stories have usurped it. Or when Year of the  Villain concludes, whichever comes first.

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