Sunday, October 9, 2011

Aquaman #1 Review

Of the entire pantheon of superheroes, no has endured more ridicule and fan boy derision than Aquaman. From South Park to Robot Chicken to The Big Bang Theory, the orange shirted ruler of Atlantis has long been the butt of more than a few jokes and superhero parodies and like the late Rodney Dangerfield, seems to get no respect, no respect at all. Maybe it’s the whole talking to fish thing? Or the fact that the guy cavorts around the ocean on a giant sea horse? In the nineties, DC attempted to de-sissify the character by ditching the iconic look and giving him a grungier, more warrior like appearance complete with beard and harpoon hand. Although well received at first, Aquaman’s pirate makeover was almost too much of a departure for fans to ever fully get behind and despite rubbing shoulders with the likes of Superman and Batman in The Justice League, the character more or less toiled in obscurity before being killed off in the early 2000’s.
Enter Brightest Day. A bi-weekly miniseries from DC that ran from summer 2010 to around Spring 2011. In it, both heroes and villains who had met their end at one point or another were brought back from the dead and given a second chance at life by a mysterious white light expelled fromas deep within the earth. One of these characters was Aquaman who had apparently been able to grow back his missing hand, and with it, rediscover how to use a razor. The series went on to be a success with the Aquaman storyline regarded some of the its strongest material.
Given the characters sudden upsurge in popularity it was no surprise that when DC announced its new 52 relaunch Aquaman #1 made the grade along with Batman and Action Comics as one of the most anticipated books set to hit the shelves in September. Of course it did not hurt any that the formidable writer/artist duo of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, arguably two of the most talented people working in comics, were selected to restore the sea king to all his aquatic glory and prove, unmistakably that even a guy who chats with fishy’s has the potential for untold awesomeness.
If Aquaman #1 is any indication of what lies in store for fans of the character than they are definitely off to a great start. Geoff John’s is once again at the top of his game with this book and one of the things I enjoyed most about this first issue was the clever way he directly tackles the subject of the character’s inherently cornier aspects while setting out to prove them wrong. Ivan Reis’s artwork is outstanding. Aquaman looks regal and imposing like a true king should, and it is amazing how he can make something as common as a seafood restaurant pop off the page and be fun to look at. I really liked the child of two worlds aspect of the story and how Arthur Curry has trouble reconciling his role as protector of the seas with his desire for an ordinary life on the surface. Judging by the ending, a life of domestic bliss may be entirely out of the cards for the trident wielding superhero as a sinister new threat rears its ugly, and I mean UGLY leaving the reader with a certain dread filled notion that Aquaman is about to be pushed closer to the edge than he’s ever been.
If you can’t tell by now I really dug Aquaman #1 and am glad the character is finally getting the respect he deserves. Unlike Raj in “The Big Bang Theory” I would have no qualms about dressing in a tight fitting Aquaman outfit complete with ride-able seahorse. As long as the Batman outfits weren’t sold out first. And Superman, and Green Lantern, etc.


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