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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Aquaman (Vol.7) #1 - Feb. 2003

Comics Weekend "Castaway!" by Rick Veitch, Yvel Guichet, and Mark Propst.
After a couple years without a solo book, Aquaman made a big splash (sorry) under the direction of Rick Veitch, in a series sold by DC as a sort of return to form for the Sea King:


Some of Aquaman's former loyal subjects drag him ashore, and under the direction of Vulko(!), chain him to a jagged piece of rock. He is then read the charges: for his part in sinking Atlantis, he is condemned to death by dessication!

Aquaman tries to explain to his old friend that his drastic move was the only way to save Atlantis from a witch's spell (events that transpired in the big "Obsidian Age" crossover), but Vulko isn't having any of it.

Left behind on the reef, Aquaman struggles to free himself. His JLA signal device is broken, so he tries to use telepathy, but that doesn't work. He finally grows so furious over being left to die he rips himself free, staggering towards the water.

But some of the Atlantean soldiers who put him there were waiting for just such an event, so they attack Aquaman, hitting him with some of their high-powered lasers, keeping Aquaman from immersing himself in the rejuvenating water. They promise if he gets closer, they will slice him to pieces.

That leaves Aquaman to wander inland:
Mere steps before reaching the lake, Aquaman collapses into a heap. Aquaman tries to use his cybernetic hand to winch himself to the water, only to find it, too, is broken.

Finding it grimly funny, Aquaman yanks his hook hand off his arm, tossing it into the water with "Well, if I'm going to die here...I'll not be strapped to this piece of flotsam!"

But before the hook hits the water, a female hand reaches out from the lake, catching the "piece of flotsam" before it lands. As if that wasn't enough, it is followed by something even more surprising:
The hand snatched the hook is the proverbial Lady of the Lake, and she instructs Aquaman to let the lake's water restore him. She talks of Arthur's "great destiny" and something called "The Age of the Waterbearer", none of which Aquaman takes very seriously. Nevertheless, she takes him by the hand and sink beneath the surface of the water.

Meanwhile, the Martian Manhunter is on a frantic search for his old friend, telepathically communicating with his fellow JLAers. After not finding any clues, he spots Arthur's former hook hand impaled on a rock. He then sees his friend:
...to be continued!

I remember being so excited when this series debuted: DC was really pushing this new Aquaman book as a return of Classic Aquaman, news I was more than ready to hear. Getting rid of the hook hand in the very first issue was a welcome, giant first step, and Veitch seemed to have a good grasp on the Sea King's tricky personality--serious but not stiff, stoic but also able to crack a joke. A solid start.

Like I've done before, in the interest of making it easier to keep track of continued stories like this, I'm going to put up two posts today--so be back in a few hours for issue #2!


Joe Slab said...

Awesome rob!

I am so glad you are reviewing Vol. 7 of Aquaman. After all that 90's sound and fury, this series was a great bridge to bring Aquaman into the new millennium.

It had great artwork, creative concepts, but didn't take Aquaman too far from his roots like the previous PAD series had done.

Wings1295 said...

Good review. I liked the water hand, myself, but I didn't much care for all the 'rules' that came along with it.

Louie Joyce said...

I re-read these recently and i still think the first 3-4 issues of this series were quality work. It's a pity how it's all downhill from there.

KJ Sampson said...

This was a horrible beginning to Aquaman's new series. A B-lister like him can't start off as such an utter failure:

• He's condemned by his own people;
• for a crime that doesn't make any sense. (Vulko: "You murdered our myth"? Huh? That's ridiculous coming from ANYONE, let alone "man of science" Vulko!)
• He's defeated by crabs. CRABS!!! That's as bad as him losing his hand to fish.
• He's reduced to dying for water mere inches from a lake.
• He requires a literal deus ex "aquina" to survive.

The curious, casual readers intrigued by his return in the JLA Obsidian Age were almost certainly turned off by this confirmation of Aquaman's lameness.