Aquaman #1 – The New 52

The final week of The New 52 is upon us, and while I will have a review of multiple titles next week, today is going to focus on a character DC has had trouble delivering to readers on a more serious level. Aquaman. The sea-farring superhero turned 70 this week, debuting in issue #73 of More Fun Comics on September 25, 1941. He gets his reboot today. How appropo.

When I was a kid, my friends and I would sit around and talk about what super power we wish we could each have.  One kid said flight, another said invisibility, a third said super speed.  Then there’s me.  I always have to be the anomaly.  I don’t make it a point (sometimes) to be that.  It’s just me.  So I of course responded with, “Gills.  I wish I had gills…so I could breathe underwater.”  I receveived responses that ranged from laughs to “Come on, what would you really want?”  Hey I wanted to be like Aquaman.  I don’t want to go out on the surface of the water in a boat.  I wanted to go underneath it.  I didn’t want to merely look at fish through the glass.  I wanted to swim with them.  Everything about the ocean has always enthralled me, and because of that, Aquaman was one cool cat in my eyes.  Though not always, he usually received less than spectacular writing from authors at DC Comics which has caused many a reader not to take him seriously, occasionally becoming nothing more than a great background character.

Stories were often mudane and plodding.  He was as colorful as Superman, but not nearly as powerful.  He had no where near the band of key rivals that Batman has, so that distanced him even further from the pack of mainstream heroes.  Nevertheless, the half-human, half-Atlantean has managed to stay afloat through 70 years of comic books.  Today, however, Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman), gets the star treatment as DC prodigy Geoff Johns (Blackest Night, Justice League) pens the literary direction of issue #1 of Aquaman, while artist extraordinaire Ivan Reis (Blackest Night, Green Lantern) breathes visual life into its pages.  This was by far and away my most anticipated title of the 52 that have been released in DC’s unprecedented sales retooling.  Was I disappointed?  NO.  Not at all.  Not in the writing.  Not in the art.  Geoff Johns did the blonde-haired water-breather a serious amount of justice.

There’s a scene in the Eminem movie 8 Mile where he and another rapper are battling out their rhymes on stage.  It involved using faults of the other person in your own rap.  Eminem’s character took his own faults and shortcomings and threw them back, leaving his hip-hop opponent with nothing left to use.  Johns does the same thing here at one point and executed it flawlessly.  He puts out there what everyone is thinking, and does so with a finely sharpened point.  The story ebbs and flows like a natural tide while showcasing a fraction of just how strong of a character, both figuratively and literally, Aquaman is.  He is now the bad ass he always needed to be, and issue #1 is just a taste of what’s to come. Reis effectively compliments Johns’ writing with the dynamic artistry and storytelling that the pair has teamed up for in the past.  Perhaps now, Aquaman will get the readership he deserves.


1 Response to “Aquaman #1 – The New 52”

  1. Matt Goodman

    Loved the 8 Mile comparison.