Friday, November 4, 2011

Aquaman (2011) #1

Aquaman (2011) #1 
  by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado


OMG!  I Think I Might Be An AquaFan!

Aquaman is one of the most lampooned and maligned of the major characters in the DCU.  He has undergone many different looks, with the most traditional and liked being the Orange scaled top and green finned bottoms.  Based in part on the SuperFriends cartoon series and programs like Robot Chicken, Aquaman has been a soruce of comedy and parody for many years.  However, this book takes this head on and it...actually...works.

As far as when and where this takes place, it has to be after Brightest Day, but I don't know about as it relates to Flashpoint.  Aquaman is living in a world like ours where, even though he is among the strongest of the DCU, he is often ridiculed.  Even as he helps police, they feel ashamed Aquaman beat them to defeating the villains and wonder how much grief they will get from the other cops at the station. 

Geoff Johns, who revived such series as Green Lantern, Flash, and my all time faves the JSA, appears to have gotten his mojo back on this one.  Once again, we see Johns taking aim at the stereotypes and "weaknesses" of the character and coming out with gold.  This book does not shy away from Aquaman being a joke.  It has Aquaman dealing with it and deciding he will rise above.  Johns uses the jokes as motivation for a character many think is shallow, but, even in this issue we see that Arthur Curry has many, many layers to explore.  We get more insight into his childhood with his father, and how it motivates him.  We really, really see the struggle internally between the undersea world and the surface world that Arthur must decide where his future lies. 

Ivan Reis does a great job with the visuals.  Aquaman's armor is shiny but not cheesy.  His costume is gaudy, but not overly so.  While the colors are bright, they do not overwhelm.  His characters have smooth lines and the colors are quite well done.  And, he does great justice to one of the most beautiful women in all comicdom, Aqua's wife, Mera.  Like the art in Brightest Day, Mera is celebrating her 2nd chance at life and is not afraid of her nature or her sexuality.  She makes a great complement to the serious and at times dour Arthur. 

This is not your Superfriends Aqua or Batman Brave and the Bold Aqua.  This is an Aquaman working hard to be taken seriously, who loves people but can't understand why everyone makes fun of him.  The scene in the seaside diner is funny, interessting, and at times poignant.  Maybe Johns has finally decided to quit believing his own press and write some really good stuff again.  I cannot believe I am saying this, but you should give this book a serious look as a potential keeper on your buy list.  However, time will tell if we will fall back into the staid, dry, hokey storylines or the overly taking oneself seriously stuff.  Aquaman needs to find his level and just not care what others think.  I think that is where Johns is leading him, but only time will tell.  Four out of five shields, and maybe a side of fish and chips.

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:
  4 out of 5 Shields
 
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