Monday, March 30, 2015

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume XXVII

sgThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents: WHO'S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE, Volume XXVII, The Victory Lap

With the first volume of WHO'S WHO behind us, we celebrate by taking a victory lap! We conclude this run with a look at AMBUSH BUG #3, a couple AMAZING HEROES articles, and a special bonus... an interview with WHO'S WHO artist Dan Jurgens! We wrap up the show with your Listener Feedback! Come back next month when we tackle the first issue of WHO'S WHO UPDATE '87!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for a few pages from this Who's Who issue:!

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Our fantastic opening and closing themes by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas!

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Aquaman Episode 24 - The Sea Scavengers

Aquaman Episode 24 - "The Sea Scavengers" by Oscar Bensol

Aquaman and Aqualad are reading a sinister message received at a oil rig just off the coast of Texas. It comes from someone named The Sea Scavenger, who demands the rig be removed or it will be destroyed. Under the surface, Tusky and the seahorses see a giant robot piloted by Scavvo and his henchmen, ready to rip the rig from its moorings!
The robot does just that, causing the rig to crash. After Aquaman gets the rig's foreman to safety, he and Aqualad chase after the robot. It turns out that the rig is close to Scavvo's hideout where he stores all his stolen loot, and doesn't want anyone snooping around.

The giant robot is quite fearsome, with razor-sharp starfish and missiles that shoot from its fingers. Aquaman and his finny friends help immobilize it, so Scavvo and his men head out to deal with the Sea King personally. They fire compressed air bubbles at Aquaman and Aqualad, which knock our heroes around a bit. Scavvo and his men then take off, heading back to their hideout.

Scavvo activates a giant heat cannon, aiming it at the ocean. Aquaman uses his powers to create a tidal wave which crashes over the cannon, destroying it. Aqualad grabs Scavvo's men, and Scavvo himself falls in the most humiliating manner possible:
With Scavvo and his men trussed up, Aquaman declares its time to take them to the authorities. Which means this case has reached...The End!

Scavvo's plan is dubious from the start--if, in all the time it took to plan, build, and staff the oil rig no one has found his hideout, why worry about it now? I bet he could have just kept going on his merry way and no one would have been the wiser.

Scavvo's robot is fun and would have made a great Shogun Warriors-esque toy. I guess I'll never really get over the idea there wasn't a tie-in toyline for the Aquaman show...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Aquaman (Vol.8) #40 - May 2015


Comics Weekend "Maelstrom Part 6" by Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope, and more.

"Maelstrom" goes out with a bang (several, actually) and starts off with the volcano god known as Karaku descending upon Aquaman, Mera, and the rest:


Atlanna refuses to retreat ("I don't know that direction!"), so her son steps in to help save her life. Unfortunately, he can't do the same for Dr. Evans, who is grabbed by one of the Fire Trolls and is mortally wounded. Aquaman pauses in the fight to speak to Evans as he dies, which gives Karaku an opportunity:


Atlanna still insists that this man is not her son, and is so busy protesting she doesn't immediately notice the thunderous booms that are getting louder and louder. They are caused by Mera, who is using all of her might to form a water creature equal in size to Karaku and do battle, just as Atlanna spirits Aquaman away from further harm:


Karaku falls, crumbling into pieces. As Aquaman and Mera comfort one another, Atlanna is truly impressed at their strength, power, and heroism. But she still denies parentage, and is there to defend her land from these Atlantean interlopers. It's here that Aquaman plays his last, most impressive card: summoning the creatures of the sea:


This finally convinces Atlanna of the truth. With that, Aquaman promises that simple acknowledgment was all he wanted, and he prepares to leave his mother in peace. Using the maelstrom, Atlanna sends her son and the rest back home, with Aquaman promising that world will be left alone.

Suddenly a light flares, and Aquaman's trident--which he left behind--comes through, with Atlanna's signet hooked around it. It communicates with him telepathically that with the signet, his sovereignty will no longer be in doubt to the people of Atlantis:


...The End!

And with that triumphant moment, Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier's extraordinarily successful run on Aquaman comes to a close. As has been discussed before, we wish they could have continued on the book, since they seemed to pull off what seemed impossible: follow Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado. But Parker and co. managed to take the reigns of this book and simultaneously build upon what was there previously while also making their own unique mark on the character. I've heard more than one Aquaman fan say that this era of the Sea King is already their all-time favorite.

The Aquaman Shrine wishes Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, and the rest of the team nothing but success on their next projects. We've seen writers and artists come and go: some good, some bad, some great. The last year and half or so of Aquaman has never been anything but a blast to read, something truly to look forward to each and every month.

Looking forward to seeing what comes next. Cullen Bunn, Trevor McCarthy, you have quite a high bar to clear!

Friday, March 27, 2015

AquaSketch by Dan Jurgens

Along with the signed copies of the Aquaman and the Others TPB (for the winners of our AATO contest), Dan Jurgens generously included this awesome Aquaman sketch for me, along with one of Firestorm for my Fire and Water Podcast co-host The Irredeemable Shag! What a guy!

I think most of can agree that we hope that Aquaman and the Others is not the last time Mr. Jurgens gets to work on the Sea King.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TBT: Aquaman (Vol.8) #1


Comics Weekend "The Trench Part One" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado.

Well, after all the hoopla that met this book upon its arrival on Wednesday, this recap/review might seem a little anti-climactic. But the Shrine will soldier on, nonetheless...

After a brief introduction to the nasty-looking critters who we know as The Trench, we're dropped straight into an action scene out of a 1970s heist movie: three armed and masked men are making a hasty getaway in a stolen armored truck. Suddenly something drops out of the sky, and the crooks are shocked to see this waiting in front of them:


The crooks are less than scared, and speed up. Big mistake! Aquaman sticks his trident into the grill of the truck, heaving it over him, dropping it upside down! One of the crooks fires his automatic weapon at the Sea King, who nevertheless keeps approaching even as the bullets draw blood.

After tossing the one conscious crook into a nearby windshield, the local police are happy but bewildered. One of them asks Aquaman if he needs a glass of water:


Cut to: a seaside seafood restaurant, where Aquaman sits down--trident and all--and orders a meal. Rather than being awed or scared of this superhero in their midst, the patrons are curious, if even a little rude: they pepper Aquaman with questions, about his powers, his diet, his relationship with fish. Aquaman answers all questions, though he seems more than a little annoyed:


We see that Aquaman came to this same diner as a boy, brought there by his father. The nosy blogger, who keeps talking, even has the temerity to ask what it feels like "To be nobody's favorite super-hero?"

Aquaman scowls, grabs his trident, and leaves, but not before paying the bill:


Later, at their lighthouse home, Arthur talks with Mera, and shares with her the decision he's made regarding his future, one that does not involve Atlantis:


While Arthur and Mera enjoy their moments of peace and tranquility, a bunch of fisherman are the first humans to run afoul of The Trench, who seem like nothing less than monsters from the pit of Hell:

sg be continued!

Well, what to say? This is the first true Aquaman #1 in the Shrine's existence, so just having a book called Aquaman in my hands felt like some sort of vindication, in some weird way: after writing about, thinking about, and generally obsessing over the Sea King for so damn long--during times when it felt like DC itself didn't care--to have Aquaman presented here so forcefully and dynamically...well, it's pretty damn cool.

I still have my issues with how slooooow Geoff Johns tends to tease out his stories; I think it took my less than five minutes to read this book cover to cover, and after so many months of anticipation, I have to admit there was an ever-so-slight feeling of "That's it?" after I got to the last page. But I like said on the latest episode of our Fire and Water Podcast, that's simply how Johns writes. I can either just accept that, or not buy his books. Of course, this being Aquaman, the latter is not an option.

That aside, Johns' love of Aquaman practically jumps off every page in this book. Aquaman foils a bank robbery--with extreme prejudice--and then for his trouble gets abused by some annoying blogger (um...), and what's his response? To toss his waitress some gold coins which will change her life. That's my hero!

I was thrilled to get the sequence with Mera, and not just because it had Mera! No, its because of the declaration that this book will not be about Aquaman as King of Atlantis. The whole "heavy is the head that wears the crown" bit has been done to death. Done well, done poorly, but done. I've been saying for years Aquaman needed to get to more traditional superhero trappings if he was going to succeed as a comic book star, and not just a highly merchandisable property. And in just a couple of panels, Johns points in that direction. Bravo!

As a devoted (to say the least!) Aquaman fan, I didn't need to be told over and over in this story how put upon the Sea King is, and how the public's perception of him (both inside the DCU and out) is totally at odds with who he is. But when I had a few moments to think about it, I realized that Johns was not talking to the core Aquaman audience of about 20,000 fans or so (that's the number of people who bought the last book on any sort of regular basis), he was talking to the throng of new readers he (Johns) knew would be coming aboard for the first time. And, judging by Aquaman's sales numbers, that was a smart move, thematically and financially. So while I felt a twinge of "I know all this" reading Aquaman #1, I am totally ready for the ride, for the next issue and beyond.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the art: it's phenomenal. The team of Ivan Reis and Joe Prado (with colorist Rod Reis, who, visually, knows when to be in your face and when to be in the next room with the door closed) are simply producing beautiful work here--they can handle both comic book-style action and more quiet character moments. Aquaman's pissed-off look when he takes a bullet in the temple is one for the ages. Aquaman looks like a movie star action hero, Mera is tough yet alluring, and the Trench are suitably scary. It may be a little early, but we may be on the road to having the team of Reis and Prado be mentioned alongside the Great Aquaman Artists, people like Nick Cardy, Ramona Fradon, Jim Aparo, Craig Hamilton, and others (your mileage may vary).

The Shrine has taken a lot of (IMO, well-deserved) shots at DC over the years for their seeming indifference to one of their most famous and enduring characters, but they seem to be making up for it with gusto. The Shrine has always said that if you just gave the Sea King a fair shake, he would deliver. I think seeing the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Aquaman #1--from new fans and old--shows we were right.

Finally, before we go, I thought this new book was significant enough that we hear from all the members of the Aquaman Shrine Staff, to get their thoughts on this momentous occasion in Aqua-History. Take it away, boys!

Russell Burbage: Let me talk about the things I liked about Aquaman #1 first....

The colors! Yes, the art is beautiful, but wow! what a job Rod Reis did from the darkness of the first pages to the wonderful oceans of the lighthouse scenes to the bloody water of the closing. Aquaman appears to shine, which is awesome. This guy is good. Is Rod related to Ivan?

The flashbacks! From the pirates' treasure scene (established with Tempest back in the old Titans book, but still cool) to the scene of Arthur and his father at this same restaurant and then later at the lighthouse...the scenes seemed to be almost in sepia the way they were illustrated (painted?) It established in an instant that Aquaman has ties to the land from even before he had ties to the ocean. Great!

The love! Arthur and Mera belong together. Period.

The villains! The trench is supposed to be around for four issues. That sounds just long enough for these walking piranha-men. That last page was chilling. Brr!

The action! Aquaman stopping a bank *leaping* to the rescue! I have always thought Aquaman should be at about the power level of Captain America: not as strong as Superman or Wonder Woman, but stronger than any human allies. This scene very clearly showed he isn't a Shrinking Violet. Yes!!!

And now the two things I wasn't as thrilled with....

The humor. Okay, the joke is that Aquaman is treated as a joke, even in the DCU. I get it. I just thought it was a little bit thick.

The pacing. I have more to say about this, but I'll continue next issue. Just kidding. Yikes, that restaurant scene went on for seven pages.

Overall, I'm very happy with this issue. I know I am going to enjoy this series very, very much.

One question, though...what exactly is supposed to be happening when the blogger pisses Aquaman off? What is the "shingg" sound effect supposed to represent? I didn't get that panel at all.


Andy Luckett: Well, it was every bit as good as I hoped and expected, if not more. I picked up my copy of Aquaman #1 on Thursday afternoon, since I wasn't able to on Wednesday, and by that time I was chomping at the bit to read it. I'd read a lot of reviews of the issue, tiptoeing carefully around the spoilers, and I was gratified to see that the issue was almost unanimously liked, even by people who identified themselves as never having liked Aquaman. It appears that Geoff Johns succeeded in his goal of converting those who have picked on the Sea King in the past.

So yes, I loved the issue, even with the super-high expectations I had from reading a wave of positive reviews. I think it's a brilliant move on Johns' part to immediately address the elephant (or blue whale) in the room when a new take on Aquaman begins. That is of course his perception as lame and useless. In this issue, Johns basically lobs every criticism he can right to Aquaman's face, and he lets Aquaman take them on and then shrug them off, revealing the accusers to be ignorant and petty. It stands to reason that if all of the frequent criticisms of Aquaman are addressed and refuted, then the book is free to move on and show people how exciting and dynamic thiese characters can be. Hopefully people whose complaints have been silenced will then be able to fill that new void with an appreciation for how cool all of this is.

Let's break it down. The Trench bookend the issue, at first discovering a passage from their volcanic vent to the surface, and then realizing that "there's food up here". Yikes. While we don't explicitly see what happens to the fisherman pulled overboard near the end of the issue, its pretty obvious that he is devoured completely. The Trench are scary because A) like vampires or werewolves they're strong, fast, bloodthirsty, and driven by a need to feed, and B) like zombies, they look to be numerous. One or two would be bad enough but it looks like dozens or so. Aquaman and Mera are going to have their hands full. These things just look mean too, like anglerfish mixed with piranha and made intelligent; with lithe, agile bodies, claws and those needle teeth. I'm not really into gore, but I do love a good monster design, and these guys are definitely memorable and a new, horror-influenced foe for Aquaman to tackle. I have a hunch the next few issues might have the feeling of Aquaman dropped into an H.P. Lovecraft story.

The armored car sequence was great. First of all, Aquaman is shown leaping all the way from the ocean to the street where the chase is happening. This leaping is an ability I hoped they would use, as it has only been touched on before. But it makes sense: with legs full of super-dense muscle fiber from handling the pressures of the sea, Aquaman should have no problem propelling himself long distances through the air and landing safely. Secondly, his strength is nicely showcased by the trident-to-the-grill move. And then, Johns completes the trifecta by exhibiting Arthur's "nigh-bulletproof" skin. This fits with how I've always thought of Aquaman's powers; sort of like Superman when he was first introduced: he couldn't fly but was able to leap large distances, nothing less than a bursting shell could break his skin, and he was extremely strong but not able to juggle planets.

The way Aquaman reacts to the cop's comment about a glass of water is the same way he reacts to the annoying blogger in the diner. He's clearly irritated and angered by what they say, but he has enough self-control to stay calm and walk away from idiots. After all, he knows that none of these people could survive a blow from him, and he also has vowed to protect them. This issue clearly shows that Arthur is a hero that will take the abuse of those he protects because he is working toward a higher purpose. The eating seafood thing is an interesting idea to bring up. I've always thought of Arthur as a vegetarian, because it would be strange to eat something you've mentally interacted with. But I can get behind the idea; eating there reminds Arthur of good times with his dad, and it also shows his duality (of the sea but also of the land). I love the explanation of how Aquaman commands the sea life, however, that makes the power much more relatable. Actually talking to fish is just too nebulous and vague to wrap the head around.

The little bits of his origin we were given were nice as well. It was good to see Tom Curry again, having fun with young Arthur at their favorite restaurant. And the scene with Mera was very well-done also, getting across their bond, her support of him and his mission to be responsible for the interaction of two worlds. If anyone still complains about Aquaman being lame, at least he's got a gorgeous wife that adores him.

I think I enjoyed the art here more than the Aquaman bits in Brightest Day. Ivan Reis and Joe Prado are clearly excited about this gig and it shows. All the little details, like the tube worms hanging out by the Trench's, um, trench to the individual scales on Aquaman's shirt picking up the sunlight, really add to the whole. The reveal of Aquaman in front of the armored car is as majestic as one could hope for, and some of Arthur's facial expressions to the onlooker's comments are great. Even the background characters in the diner scene all feel fleshed out and part of the scene, not simply tools to fill the panel. If this level of quality in both writing and art keeps up, this is going to be one classic run.

I think that covers my rambling but excited thoughts for this issue. I know it sounds like I'm raving, but I honestly haven't enjoyed a single issue of a comic lately as much as I did this one (of course, I am a bit biased, I admit). It succeeds to me on every level; as a first issue, as an Aquaman story, as an explanation of why he's great, and as a superhero comic.


Joe Slab: Well it's been three years since I returned to comics, having taken a hiatus at the end of Infinite Crisis when the OYL story-lines were launched and Aquaman as I had known him disappeared from the DC Universe. I still followed news of the Sea King but only from a distance, on message boards and as a viewer of the Aquaman Shrine. Then in early 2009 I saw a house ad for Blackest Night in black & white, drawn by Ethan Van Sciver and featuring the tag line "The Dead Will Rise" and my inner fanboy jumped with excitement: "They're bringing Aquaman back!"

Since then we've been treated and teased by Black Lantern, White Lantern, elemental, and Emperor versions of the King of the Seven Seas but not until this week did we truly received Aquaman back into the comics fold properly. The new Aquaman series is by arguably the best, most marketable, all around creative team in comics today and this fan feels Aquaman deserves nothing less. He's paid his dues and so have his fans. With Geoff Johns at the helm and the art team of Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & colorist Rod Reis, they did not fail to deliver a great introductory issue with Aquaman #1.

Taking on the issues that we've all been faced with at one time or another as Aqua-fans, Johns turns perceived weakness into character strength and shows us perhaps the most human Arthur Curry we've seen to date. The story hits all the right beats from the opening sequence showing just how powerful Aquaman really is, to the deadpan comedy of the diner scene (to his credit Johns actually gives the Sea King a legitimate reason for being there), to the flashback scenes with his father Thomas which I understand will be an ongoing theme throughout this series--it all worked for me!

The art was just scintillating and it is here where I think non-Aquaman fans will be won over. Reis & Prado clearly know what's at stake with this new series and one thing is for sure, Aquaman will never be canceled due to bad art if DC is smart enough to keep this team on board. Special credit to colorist Rod Reis who really makes this issue brilliant (I've heard that when viewed digitally with back-lighting its even more amazing!) and thanks to him for checking with us about the color of Mera's eyes because he got them right!

My only art criticism is that some of the smaller panels appear rushed & less detailed, for example Aquaman's hair at times looks like a Mattel-toy doll's, ready to snap off in one plastic piece with a flick of the thumb. But that is a small complaint at best.

One final point, in keeping with DC's New 52 theme of moving forward, Johns' writing deftly maneuvers around any specific mention of past continuity. We know that many of the elements of Arthur Curry's birth story as presented in Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman are now canon, but what we don't know is what has happened with Aquaman in the five years that the new DCU has been in business. My guess is that now the only time Aquaman has lost a hand has been at the hands of Black Manta in Brightest Day and that the Peter David era is but a memory, as is certainly true for the Grant Morrison era of the JLA, the Waterbearer run, and the Sword of Atlantis. The statuses of Arthur Jr., Garth, and Tula are conspicuously not mentioned as well, although we do know that Jackson & Lorena will be popping up eventually in the series. Dare we hope for the former too?

All in all, I would give the issue 4 out of 5 starfish (oh yes I did!) with it needing just 2-3 more pages of story and art to give it that complete feel that would have allowed me to give it the full 5. What say you fellow F.O.A.M.ers? Do we need to put a digital countdown clock up for issue #2 of Aquaman to pace the anticipation?



This post originally appeared on October 1, 2011.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aquaman Shrine Exit Interview with Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker's superb run as writer of the Sea King comes to a close today, with the release of Aquaman #40, the final installment of the "Maelstrom" storyline. Jeff has always been generous with his time when it came to talking with the Shrine, and to celebrate his part in Aquaman history, we've conducted this "exit interview" with him. Enjoy!

The Aquaman Shrine: You said somewhat jokingly that your initial goal coming to the series on the heels of Geoff Johns was "not to screw it up." Obviously you more than met that goal with Aquaman remaining a fan favorite series as well as garnering critical acclaim and making more than one "Best of 2014" year-end list. How would you characterize your run now that its reached is penultimate issue?

Jeff Parker: I'm probably not the right person to analyze it that way, but I hope we continued the book thematically by building on what was there and opening up more possibilities. I didn't want it to suddenly feel like a different book. I did want to continue the greatness of Mera and show a very functional couple having adventures.

AMS: DC Comics is going through a huge transition period with the New 52 brand ending in March. Aquaman is one of the elite twelve original series that will reach #41 in June and while that's quite an honor for the series, many fans feel your run was all too brief. Did you feel you had adequate time on Aquaman or are there stories you had planned that you regrettably won't get to tell? What do you think you'll miss about working on the title?

JP:  I could have definitely gone longer, but I'm very happy the timing worked out for me to do everything I wanted with Maelstrom. That couldn't have come together better, and I know Paul was glad to be able to draw the entire thing. He really brings the magic in this final arc. 

AMS: You, Paul Pelletier, and Sean Parsons really seemed to click as a creative unit a few issues into the run. Did you sense a change in your writer/artist relationship as the series went on?

JP: We got into a kind of shorthand because when you work together a while you sort of know what the others are going for without it having to be spelled out. Let's get Rain Beredo in there too, he really brought his excellence to the look of the stories, he’s a powerhouse as well. The only thing I still haven't solved is how to make Paul take it easy on himself. I can craft a scene to be very simple and low key, give him a few easier days of drawing, and he'll still find a way to make it a lot of work!

AMS: As we said earlier, your grand finale is also the end-cap to the New 52 era of Aquaman and anyone reading "Maelstrom" can tell you plan to end big. Without spoiling anything, what can readers expect from #40 and how did you arrive at your conclusion?

JP: It’s really about Arthur getting some wisdom, seeing the truth behind what was fantasy on his part. I often show him as a mature realist, and it was fun to put him on a course that he couldn’t be objective about, it’s him being reckless. And Mera can see that, but rather than try to talk him out of anything, she goes full bore with him. And that adventurous side clearly comes from the person he's searching for, Atlanna. 

In the end he may not get what he wants, but he gets answers--the uncertainty that has always haunted him is gone. Also he gets pounded by a Volcano God.

AMS: We're hearing that Aquaman will be a visual and tonal departure from the first 40 issues come June. Do you think DC is looking to push the envelope a bit, perhaps seeding the green for a more congruent comics/cinematic portrayal of the Sea King going forward? What in your opinion works for Aquaman and what doesn't? 
JP: I think they don't want everyone to get too comfortable so Aquaman is naturally part of the shaking up--and there's no need to worry as the team of Cullen and Trevor will certainly kick butt. I don't know if they're going to try to synch up to the movie stuff--if it were me I would just do that in a separate book so you could have your cake and more cake.

As I said in the past, I think readers lose interest when Aquaman is underwater all the time and the whole supporting cast is people with fantasy names. He's the bridge between two worlds, and I think you have to keep that balance to get the most mileage out of his concept. Pulling away from Atlantis every now and then lets you revisit it as the wonder of the world it should be, it should always be this amazing section of the DC universe. 

AMS: What are your upcoming projects? Where can fans who were reading your work for the first time on Aquaman find you next?

JP: I think you’ll be hearing about my next DC book very, very soon. I'm sorry I can't give you an exclusive today! You deserve it for pushing Aquaman so hard, thank you for that.

AMS: Was it fun?
JP: If anyone can’t tell how much fun I had, then I did it wrong! I really had a good time. 


The Aquaman Shrine thanks Jeff Parker once again for sharing his thoughts with us, and wishes him good luck on his next creative venture. Aquaman was in quite capable hands during his tenure, and he, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, Rain Beredo, and the rest of the team have contributed mightily to Aqua-History.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Convergence: Aquaman #1 Exclusive!


Courtesy of DC Comics comes this Aquaman Shrine Exclusive--two inside pages from Convergence: Aquaman #1, written by Tony Bedard and art by Cliff Richards, on sale April 15!

As most of you know, "Convergence" is a company-wide event where DC will suspend publishing all of its titles in place of 40(!) different mini-series, all of them covering different eras from the company's long history. To that end, Aquaman #1 will, in addition to the main story, feature a brief recap of the Sea King's history, as it was told in the 1990s:

(Click to embiggen)

Aquaman's time heading Justice League Detroit will also be revisited in Convergence: JLA while Mera will be spotlighted in Convergence: Justice League. All Convergence titles will run for two issues in April and May, and then the regular titles will resume, Aquaman with a brand new creative team in #41!

Here is the first Convergence checklist of the initial titles, also embiggenable:


A big thanks to DC Comics for sending these pages our way!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Zero Month



In 1994 DC Comics published Zero Hour, a five issue mini-series designed to not only serve as a major summer crossover but also fix some of the continuity problems that had plagued their universe after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Some have suggested that Zero Hour caused more problems than it fixed but at the time it was the dawn of an exciting new era for DC. To kick off this new age DC followed Zero Hour with Zero Month.  As the name suggests all of the main DC books were rolled back to zero though each one had a different approach to the idea  Some books featured a new origin. Some contained tweaks to the existing origin.  Some contained brand new versions of old characters. All of them served as a jumping on point for new and old readers alike.

To celebrate this new era (or perhaps to bury it) some of us in the comic book blogging community have banded together from remote galaxies to discuss how the characters we cover were rebooted/revamped by looking at the solicitations of our character's zero issues as well as delving into the Wizard Magazine Zero Hour Special, which was a magazine published around the time of Zero Hour to promote the series, what was coming next and the history of DC in general.

As this is a blog crossover be sure to check out the links below to find out how other characters were treated during Zero Month.

Click the above graphic to embiggen and see what was doing with Aquaman during this event. Hey, is that Jason Momoa?!?

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 120

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 120 - Tales From The Kubert School

Shag is off this week, so I am joined by artist and fellow Joe Kubert School alum John Trumbull for the oft-requested episode, "Tales From The Kubert School"!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades -

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Aquaman Episode 23 - The Devil Fish

Aquaman Episode 23 - "The Devil Fish" by ?

Aquaman and Aqualad get a message about some trouble, which is arriving via dolphin courier. Aquaman heads out, and uses a flashlight to signal he is there. Waiting for him is test pilot Mark Bartholomew, piloting an experimental seacraft known as The Devil Fish. The Navy has asked Aquaman to watch out while the ship does its test trials.

Neither Aquaman or Bartholomew realize that they are being spied upon by one of Black Manta's Manta Men, who takes this news back to his boss.
Black Manta takes one look at the Devil Fish and declares he must have it. While one of its runs, the ship is caught by Black Manta's paralysis ray. Bartholomew calls for help, and Aquaman and Aqualad are attacked by a horse of Manta Men!

Bartholomew tries to help out by chasing after Manta's ship into a whirlpool, despite Aquaman telling him not to. Bartholomew is knocked out, and the ship is dragged to a dock where Black Manta tries to kidnap him. Aquaman and Aqualad follow, dealing with the Manta Men by being faster and smarter:
Bartholomew wakes up and pilots the Devil Fish into one of the dock's stone pillars, causing it to collapse. He then takes off on Aquaman's orders, who commands some whales to knock a giant boulder into the entrance of Manta's hideout. Bartholomew and the Devil Fish are now safe, Black Manta has been stopped, which means we've reached...The End!

There's a lot of fun stuff here, from Aquaman's first meeting with Bartholomew (which takes place at night, a nice touch), to all the different ways Aquaman and Aqualad take care of the Manta Men. They are a generally hapless bunch, but as presented here Black Manta is barely more competent. Visually they're a blast to watch in action, because they're just so creepy looking.

For some reason, this episode features no writing credit and I couldn't find it anywhere online. Let's just say this was the work of Bob Haney and call it a day!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

JLA: Year One #12 - Dec. 1998

"Justice For All" by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, and Barry Kitson.

We have (finally!) reached the conclusion to the epic JLA: Year One series, with the Apellax aliens prepared to square off against not only the still-wet-behind-the-ears Justice League, but the throng of other super-powered heroes who were kept as prisoners.


Each of the JLAers have spread out across the globe to deal with the threat, teaming up with different groups of heroes. Aquaman is in the ocean (of course), alongside The Sea Devils and Animal Man:


The battle is so massive it spreads to the ectoplasmic plane, where The Spectre and Wotan have teamed up(!) to fight back the forces of evil. Wotan, being Wotan, uses this as an opportunity to sabotage The Spectre as well, but the Ghostly Avenger is one step ahead, and turns the spiritual tables on him. 

The fight goes on, threatening to engulf the planet. The real mastermind behind all this, Vandal Savage, has a weapon that can pierce the minds of the Apellax aliens and kill them. The League does not want to kill anyone, even alien forms, so Martian Manhunter takes control of it, using his powerful telepathic powers to stop the aliens, but not kill them. It takes extraordinary effort, and the rest of the team make like The Guardians of the Galaxy and joins hands, so they can take some of the mental load from their colleague:


The plan works, with the aliens being sent back. That leaves a giant mob of heroes, with sore fists and pounding heads. Superman takes this moment to congratulate the JLA and offers himself up to help out whenever he's needed. But first he has to get back to his day job:

Not The End!

Well, it only took a little less than two years, but we have finally concluded the Shrine's look back at the JLA: Year One maxi-series. I didn't read this at the time, so I was discovering it as I read it for these posts and it was a lot of fun. Of course, with only five founding members in the post-Crisis continuity, Aquaman got a lot more to do, and for that I am always grateful. Writer Mark Waid, of course, was the guy who gave us the "I command 3/4ths of the planet" line in Kingdom Come, a piece of iconography that has followed Aquaman to this day. And there were definitely moments in this series where I felt like Waid was really enjoying writing the Sea King in action, something he really hasn't had much chance to do, before or since.

Of course, all this retconning now now been unretconned, and the JLA has been restored to the classic seven, in one iteration or another. Thankfully, Aquaman has been part of every one of those iterations, and so on into infinity.

This post marks a bit of a change with the Shrine, starting in a couple of weeks. After we review Aquaman #40 next Saturday, we'll actually start taking some time off. After eight and a half years of daily posts, I want to lighten my blogging load a bit. So while we'll still be covering every new issue of Aquaman, the Convergence books, etc., if there's a week off for Aquaman, we'll be taking a week off too. I need to go outside, at least occasionally!

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