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Friday, September 07, 2007

Justice League of America (Vol.2) #12 - Oct. 2007

sgI had given up on this current iteration of JLA, as much as that saddens me to say so. Even though I really, really, really love the JLA as a concept and as a book, I just couldn't get behind Brad Meltzer's writing style and decided I'd come back to it when someone else inevitably took over the book. When I heard Dwayne McDuffie would be the writer as of issue 13, I made a mental note to pick that issue up.

But then F.O.A.M. member Chris Franklin told me that Aquaman--the Aquaman--appears in #12, I figured it was worth the $3.50(egads! $3.50?) to pick it up and make it the subject of this week's Comic Friday.

The story, "Monitor Duty", is written by Meltzer but split into two eras, the modern day one with art by Ed Benes and Sandra Hope, and a classic JLA flashback by Eric Wight and Hope.

The book opens in that earlier era, with Martian Manhunter and Aquaman discussing the recent formation of the League. Its nice to see Aquaman written as friendly, happy, and actually wanting to be part of the DCU:


Then there's a bunch of stuff taking place in the modern day, which left me with that same whatever feeling I got from reading the first few issues of the book, and then when the two story threads met up I noticed something odd.

We find Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, now in the current day, sitting around discussing the current League. What's weird is, the dialogue clearly infers this is the original Aquaman, who is supposed to be dead right now:

...and yet if you look close, the Aquaman drawn has those silver shoulderpads and long hair that the current Aquaman has, and in another panel its even more apparent that this is that Aquaman.

So, what's going on here? Is it just a huge mistake, where Benes drew the wrong Aquaman and editorial didn't notice? It seems doubtful the dialogue is wrong, since the whole theme of the issue is about the original League, so...

Are we being told that someone the two Aquamans are...the same guy, somehow? Considering the events of the Busiek/Guice issues of Sword of Atlantis, that seems impossible, but hey this is comics, after all. Since Aquaman, as far I know, is not returning to the JLA but is in fact joining the new Outsiders, it seems like this particular thread Meltzer started will not be resolved anytime soon, but it does make me wonder. Maybe the original Aquaman is not quite so completely gone as we think.

On another note, I really loved Eric Wight's work on the flashback sequences. Marvel currently has the Avengers Classic title, featuring short stories of the early Avengers by creators you don't normally see doing mainstream superhero comics. If DC ever decided to do a JLA version, I'd love to see Wight handle the flashback stuff.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more about Brad Meltzer's writing style. I just find this book has become a very difficult and disheartening read. I have always loved the JLA books but for the first time ever, I was going to cease buying it. I'm glad to hear of the new writer!

Anonymous said...

If you look closely on the last picture of new/old Aquaman, it looks like he is wearing something different than Young Aquaman. Or maybe I just want to believe it really is Arthur.

Rick L. Phillips said...

I have mostly quit reading new books because of the price. So I haven't picked up the new JLA. I am sticking to buying older books that I never bought in the past. From what you have said it sounds like this is the old Aquaman. Perhaps he isn't dead after all. Maybe he set up some big plan and had to fake his death.

Anonymous said...

It's definitely the new Aquaman's "body". The real question is, like Rob said, is this a huge mistake? Or is it a hint that DC will reveal that the NEW Aquaman is in fact the OLD Aquaman somehow? It would be a good way to give him a clean slate and leave the hook-handed, water-handed muddled era far behind him.

Either way, it's REALLY confusing.


Diabolu Frank said...

Honestly, I figured that's where Tad Williams was going right around issue 51. Making a point of killing the "Dweller," then having him discorporate as though he were always just a construct? Cycling out all of A.J.'s supporting cast in favor of Arthur's and new characters that harken to the Silver Age? Dr. Curry proclaiming his son was "dead," so A.J. can't be him? The sales figures and chilly public reception to the "new" character?

Something just smells fishy...

Scurvy said...

The new JLA is actually one of the books I currently enjoy. Go figure. TO see this issue have Aquaman in it was icing on the cake to me, yet I too found myself a little confused...sort of. I had kept this to myself until now, but I had a theory that they were going to somehow incorporate the new and old Aquaman somehow. My personal thought was a set up similar to Firestorm/ Prof. Stein. Who knows? Either way I await with baited breath no less, the return of Arthur to the JLA.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that I REALLY want the real Aquaman back.......and I'm even willing to buy modern comics if they bring him back.

Louie Joyce said...

It could be a mistake. Apparently Meltzer finished writing his issues a fair while ago, maybe even when the real Aquaman was still around.

I'd like to think it's not a mistake, and instead a sign that Arthur's coming back, but it just doesn't seem likely. Especially since everything Bedard has said about the Aquaman joining the Outsiders has made me ceratin that it's Aquanoob.

Michael Jones said...

Hey Scurvy. I like the line about "baited breath"!