] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Brightest Day #16 - Feb. 2011

Comics Weekend "Short Fuse" by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Scott Clark, and more.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, Aquaman returns to Brightest Day!

This issue starts right where we'd all like it to: the undersea headquarters of the King of the Seven Seas:
Aquaman has brought Jackson and his parents to his undersea cave, where he explains who all the players in this little drama are--including Jackson's father, Black Manta, whom Aquaman reveals as having murdered his son.

He also explains that Jackson is the key to preventing a war between the land and sea worlds, "before it starts."

After an interlude with Firestorm, we rejoin Aquaman and Jackson in a hidden crevice inside a seaside mountain:
Aquaman pounds his way through some rock (Aquaman is wicked strong, yo), he uncovers a quasi-mystical, quasi-scientific lock, which only Jackson can open, using his newfound powers.

He does, and a wall of water envelops him, relaying a message from Mera, who explains what happened to his parents, about how his mother was murdered by the people of Xebel. She also explains how she defied the King, her father, by rescuing the baby Jackson from the experiments he was undergoing, and escaping to "our" world.

The message completed, Aquaman yanks Jackson out of the water, and prepares him for his destiny:
Unfortunately, Jackson's answer is not the one Aquaman wanted: "I want to go home."

Aquaman tries to explain to Jackson that he has little choice in the matter, and Jackson reacts the way you'd expect a superpowered teenager to react:
Aquaman uses his powers to get some electric eels to grab hold of the thrashing young man and subdue him. Jackson, defeated, kneels on the beach saying that Aquaman can't possibly understand what he's going through.

But Aquaman does, starting with, "I was thirteen when they came out of the water for me":
...woo, to be continued!

This issue dealt more with Jackson/Aqualad than it did Aquaman and Mera, but that's okay. Their stories are intertwined, and the seemingly inevitable payoff to this storyline--Aquaman will "take" Manta's son away from him, just like Manta did to him, all those years ago--sets the stage for Aquaman to be a father again, which will hopefully mean less of a sad sack King of the Seven Seas.

I loved the (re)introduction of the Aqua-Cave--not sure who's responsible for the design, but its the spitting image of the one that debuted back in
Adventure Comics #445:
I know its a minor piece of background business and I don't mean to make too big a deal out of it, but I always thought Aquaman needed some more typical superhero trappings if he wanted to work in the same way his JLA teammates have as solo stars, and this souped-up-yet-old-school AquaCave is a step in the right direction.

Johns and Tomasi are building Aquaman back up, bit by bit, and The Aquaman Shrine is thrilled. Looking very forward to Brightest Day #17, in just two weeks!


Anonymous said...

BRAVO Rob! Only a true Aquaman fan would remember that Adventures issue (you check comicvine and it says that the Aquacave debuted in Adventures 270 or something... I'm like: huh?)

When BD started, I began to get as many Adventures back issues as I could, and was lucky enough to find #445... so when I opened BD 16 and saw that first panel I was like: AW YEAH!!!

I loved loved loved that GJ brought the Aquacave back, and it looks awesome. Also the ideo of the "Literal Osmosis" and the family portraits printed in water bit?--Priceless.

Johns gets that Aquaman is not only a hero and a king, but was once a father too, and in this issue, we definitely see his paternal instincts shocased nicely.

Oh! and the tip of the hat to the last Aquaman monthly: "Their called waterbearers"---nice touch. Even though that's a time for Aquaman better left forgotten.

IMO this was the best Aquaman centrinc BD issue so far. Johns always does his best to portray Aquaman as strong (both in physical strenght and in character), confident and a leader!

The only thing that bugged my little fanboy brain a little is the whole "Cal Durham" reference... Will it turn out that Jackson ISN'T Manta's son after all, but Durham's? Cuz that guy on the raft sure doensn't look like Manta to me!

I short: 5/5 -- Can't wait till the Aquawar begins!

Diabolu Frank said...

Ivan Reis is the guy to draw Aquaman, the ongoing series. However, if he got sidetracked on a relaunched JLA, Gary Frank would be an excellent alternate choice. I would really prefer Frank just do JLA, though.

Joe Huber said...

Love that the "human father" origin was restored, and I must admit that now I'm missing Garth quite a bit less.

David J. Cutler said...

Human father! Raised human! I love this so much!

Joe Slab said...

Score 1 for rob!, who again shows us why he is the Shrine's founder and director! I never would have caught the Aquacave comparison, and I am sure we have Geoff Johns knowledge of Aqua-history to thank for that little gem.

Has anyone else noticed that in the advent of Brightest Day, all traces of Peter David's run have vanished? No Atlan, no Tempest, no Dolphin, no "Gee it feels great to have my hand back!" from Arthur...but at the same time, I heard Geoff himself say that he planned to use characters from the PAD run in the future?!? >Confusion<

Oh and one little note, Brightest Day #17 is scheduled for release January 5th, the last week in Dcemeber is an OFF week for BD.

Airship Over Water said...

I'm guessing Geoff is just establashing what he feels are the core traits for Aquaman -- IE the elements and feel of his silver age run, which I love. I think it works better when Arthur is half human, half Atlantean. And I'm sure down the road, Geoff will bring in elements from other Aquaman titles.

BUT ONE THING confused me about this issue:

I was under the impression that Jackson was born from the strange love of Siren and Black Manta, but when Jackson is the "water message bubble," he's looking at his past, and there's a black couple on a lifeboat that is being pulled underwater by the Xebelians. (????)

Is that supposed to be Black Manta and his wife? And maybe when Black Manta got to Xebel, he just handed the kid over to Siren to raise with him?

Or am I completely wrong here? I really thought that Siren said something to imply that she was Jackson's mother earlier in BD, but maybe I'm wrong.

Tempest127 said...

Re: The Zoner ("Only a true Aquaman fan would remember that Adventures issue (you check comicvine and it says that the Aquacave debuted in Adventures 270 or something... I'm like: huh?)

The Aquacave DID debut in Adventure 270 ("The Menace Of Aqualad"): Aqualad founded it as a birthday gift to Aquaman. Arthur had told him that he didn't have a home to raise Garth in (this is soon after they'd met), so Garth went about furnishing a home for the pair of them. That cave became "The Aquacave."

rob! said...

Yeah, ComicVine is essentially correct--but I thought by its look and design, this issue was clearly referencing the 1970s version, which of course Johns would have seen as a kid.

Dennis Doucette said...

Possibly my favorite issue of brightest day yet. Can't wait to read more! Seriously.... I can't wait. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself... I need more!!!!

Joe Slab said...


It was left purposefully vague about who Jackson's birth mom was early in BD and many fans speculated it was either Mera, Siren, or Hila...but thankfully as we saw in BD #16, his mother was an as yet unnamed female who was in a relationship with Black Manta.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't know that. I thought the Aquacave had indeed debuted in issue 445, since there's a caption on the cover that reads "Extra! Aquaman's new headquarters" So, I guess I kinda figured.

But, who cares?! The Cave is back: WOO-HOO!

Wings1295 said...

The Aquaman stuff his fans have been wanting to read for so long! Woohoo!

IADW said...

I loved this issue - Ivan's Aquaman is amazing. It's iconic shots in almost every panel. Plus this issh made me realise exactly how well the new Aqualad had been brought onstage.

Great great stuff.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I'm not following much modern comics these days, but it's great to see a long-maligned character like Aquaman get the the respect and treatment he deserves.