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Friday, January 19, 2007

Aquaman (Vol.2) #1 - Feb. 1986

sgIt's Comic Friday again, and this time we highlight the first issue of the Aquaman mini-series by Neal Pozner, Craig Hamilton, and Steve Montano.

This was part of an informal wave of new(ish) versions of older characters, where a member of the DC stable got a new costume, a new setting, or a new storyline, sometimes a combination of all three (like Tony Isabella's excellent Shadow War of the Hawkman, Jan Strnad's Sword of the Atom, Kurt Busiek's Red Tornado, etc.).

DC staffer Neal Pozner and newcomer Craig Hamilton got the chance to rework Aquaman, and in this fan's humble opinion, they did a superb job. Pozner didn't shy away from how much of a jerk Aquaman can be sometimes, but gave him plausible, relatable reasons for it, which helped humanize him greatly. Hamiton's work was a revelation--the sheer amount of detail and design put into each page was simply startling. For a character with such a spotty publishing history, Aquaman certainly has benefitted from some superb artistic draftsmanship. Even though it was only for four issues, I include Hamilton on the list of Great Aquaman Artists, along with masters like Cardy, Aparo, and Newton.

The big event of the book was of course Aquaman's new costume. And while I am a died-in-the-wool crusty-old comic-book fan who-hates-all-change (which is the term every bad writer uses when the fans don't like what they've done), I actually liked the costume--I thought it was sleek and elegant, and certainly didn't look like any other superhero uniform out there. I am glad that he eventually returned to his old togs, but if he hadn't, I would've been fine with this. Aquaman looks cooool.

Pozner set up a great series of events with this first issue, and he would see them all through the rest of the series. Apparently DC was shocked at how well this book sold (at least compared to their expectations), which proves just how well Aquaman can do when you do him well.

sgI would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to mention Aquaman's second-ever live-action appearance on tonight's episode of Smallville, entitled "Justice."

I used to love that show, but I felt it pretty quickly ran out of steam. I get the sense they had maybe four years worth of stories but the show has gone on much longer than they planned. I check in with the show everytime they do a DC-hero-crosses-over episode, and it seems none of the characters have progressed since I saw them last. Clark is still hand-wringing about duty vs. truth, Lex and Lionel are still trading stock evil-guy dialogue, practically twirling their moustaches in the process (has Chloe been tied to railroad tracks yet?).

Anyway...Aquaman. Alan Ritchson's frat-boy delivery has grown on me. And even though he had maybe five lines the whole show, I think the idea of having him be essentially an eco-terrorist (as Lex would define him, at least) is a neat and topical turn for the character. If there was an actual Aquaman, would he be wasting his time fighting guys in funny helmets? Hell no, he'd be bombing Exxon drilling stations and handing out An Inconvenient Truth to schoolkids.

I can't grok Justin Hartley as Green Arrow. I find his delivery more wooden than the arrows he shoots, so I'm glad Ritchson got tapped again to play "A.C." (though Aquaman history has been made tonight--he was actually called Aquaman for the first time). I'd like to see Ritchson again, and I'm guessing we will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just read the '86 mini (for the umpteenth time) yesterday, and man do i wish they released the follow up. It is one the best Aquaman stories and the definitive Aquaman/Ocean Master story IMO.