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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Aquaman (Vol. 7) #20 - Sept. 2004

sgComics Weekend Back when I did my Favorite Aquaman Covers week, I picked this one because it's such an exciting, dynamic image, expertly rendered by Alan Davis. Sadly, it was the last one he would do for the series. At least he went out on a high note.

Last issue ended with Aquaman taking Lorena back to the water to save her life, and dragging mad scientist Geist along with him.

Aquaman takes Geist on a grim tour of the destruction his experiment has wrought. He tells Geist just what if the people here knew Geist was the cause of all their misery...?

Geist though is confused, since all the mass destruction was not part of his equation. He then tells Aquaman that the people who helped him pull the plan off must have double-crossed him, and in fact they are probably watching all of this right now, via an implant they put in Geist a few years ago!

This leads to a really creepy sequence, where Aquaman morphs his water hand into Plastic Man-like form, and digs into Geist's head and pulls the implant out! Eww!

Unfortunately, Geist can't tell Aquaman who the really bad guys are, since it was all done through fronts and middlemen. Geist realizes that, now that he has been discovered, these same guys will have no problem killing Geist to wrap up any loose ends.

Geist heads to the surface, still being watched by this shady organization, and watches him commit suicide by opening up his veins. As if that wasn't gruesome enough, a school of sharks come by and chomp Geist to bits. The bad guys thank Mother Nature for doing their job for them. Or did they?
...turns out it was all a fake! Aquaman figured they'd be watching, and he wanted them to think Geist was dead. The sharks added the final touch of verisimilitude. I love that line about "fighting 100 million years of evolution."

Aquaman tells Geist this is his chance to atone for what he's done, so he will live down here, with the people, and try and help them put their lives back together.

Lorena is disappointed that Aquaman allowed Geist to live, but Aquaman tells her that was not the right thing to do. And since these people can never leave the ocean, and they are all genetically connected to him, he will take the responsibility of looking out for them.

And we see just that, as the fish in the sea help the humans adjust, as well as Lorena start taking it upon herself to dispense some justice to would-be crooks. And as Aquaman watches from above, he thinks:
...a great final image to wrap up this storyline with, courtesy Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy.

Rereading this storyline again, all the grim stuff that bothered me so much the first time played a lot better, and the great moments writer Will Pfeifer gave to Aquaman are just that--great. Sure, Arthur is serious and grim, but he's not a jerk, an important distinction not all writers have recognized.

Will Pfeifer would go on to write two more issues of the series, but we'll stop here for now and move on to something else next weekend. I for one would love to see these issues collected in a trade...especially if you included the Alan Davis covers!


Anonymous said...

I know how you feel Rob, despite the darkness of this series, it is still excellently written. There certainly is room for MORE in the story, but it is still one of the best Aqua-runs I've read. I love how Aquaman deals with Geist in this issue, and they really humanize the character, brining him past the usual mad scientist archetype. His reactions to the suffering of the Sub Diegoians is fairly moving.

I for one don't care for the whole "fighting 100 million years of evolution" bit, mostly because it implies (as we see in later issues) that Aquaman sometimes can't control the denizens of the deep. He's the king of the sea, and they should obey him IN SPITE of their natures. I don't like the idea that the sharks would ever NOT listen to their king.

rob! said...

i understand what you mean, but i think i like the idea of some sea creatures being more independent than others.

people love their (respective) God(s), but people "obey" them differently, on different ways. so the idea of sharks being super super aggressive, requiring a bit more "persuasion" on Arthur's part i think is neat.

all Aquaman has to do to command some flounders is to ask, they're easy.

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily dislike the idea of different sea creatures behaving differently, as is hinted at in Justice when the narration reads "even the sharks wouldn't follow him." That implied that they were the bravest, most fierce of the creatures at his command, but I do sort of hate the thought of Aquaman NOT being able to control them. So, yeah, this part doesn't really bother me, him having to put forth a bit more effort, but when he faces the new Marine Marauder, I do hate that he can't keep the sharks from devouring the innocents and is forced to run.

rob! said...

agreed--arthur should be able to control/persuade/bribe all the fishies in his kingdom, period. some can be more difficult than others, but none of them should say no.

i mean, he's king of the seven seas, for neptune's sake!

Anonymous said...

EXACTLY! That's what is at the heart of my comments on this subject. I'm glad to find that we see eye to eye.