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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Craig Hamilton Week, Part 3: Aquaman (Vol.2) #4 - 1986

sgWe've reached--as the cover says--the epic conclusion of the Aquaman mini-series by Neal Pozner and Craig Hamilton!

We pick up with Arthur and Nuada stuck in this weird temple-like place controlled by the now suddenly-powerful Ocean Master. Orm is using Aquaman's blind rage against him, which of course makes Arthur even madder. As Nuada explains, the role strong emotions play in releasing magic, so every confontation Orm has with Arthur only makes him more powerful.

While Orm is out trashing Atlantis, Aquaman is forced to confront who he is and what he's gone through, from his relationship with Orm, his marriage to Mera, the death of his son, his role as leader of the Justice League, until he finally breaks down and admits that he does love his brother, despite all that has happened.

This realization helps render Orm powerless, frees Arthur and Nuada, and they head for home. But this time Aquaman realizes who he is, and for the first time in long while, he's happy.

I hope from this description--what with all the psychological hugger-mugger--that I haven't made this final issue to anyone who hasn't read it sound dull. In fact, seeing Aquaman confront his main character flaw as a way to defeat Orm, instead of just pummeling him, standard-superhero-style, is thrilling, especially the way Craig Hamilton lays it out. His loose, flowing layouts wonderfully convey the idea of memories, the past events of a life, as they all move together intertwined.

The fact that some of these events are things we've read in previous Aquaman (and JLA) comics helps ground the series in the grand tradition of the character, one of DC's longest running and most famous. This final issue gives us a fresh view of Aquaman, and sets him out into the future.

This book ends with a one-page letter column, where Pozner admits this series is an attempt to "test the waters" for an ongoing series. *sigh*

While of course that never happened, at least we got this series, one of the best stories Aquaman has ever had!


Louie Joyce said...

"one of the best stories Aquaman has ever had!"

I wholeheartedly agree.

This issue especially is some of the highest quality Aquaman you'll get, both in terms of writing and art. Hamilton did great work on this series, and finished it off on a high.

macsnafu said...

An old blogpost, I know, but I had to agree with how good this miniseries was. One of the best Aquaman stories, ever. Beautiful artwork. And yes, I really appreciated how Aquaman defeated Orm with something other than angry punches.