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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Brightest Day #19 - April 2011

Comics Weekend "Aquawar, Part One" by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and more.

Geoff Johns channels his inner George Lucas in this issue of Brightest Day! Don't know what I mean? Just keep reading...

After an introductory sequence with Deadman--who is enraged that this all-powerful force that has been guiding him has seemingly immolated Hawkman and Hawkgirl--we finally catch up with what Aquaman and the soon-to-be-named new Aqualad are up to:
Aqualad wonders, doesn't Aquaman control sea life? Aquaman explains that normally, yes, but since he's come back from the dead, his powers don't work the way they used to.

They also discuss Mera, with Aquaman trying (and failing) to keep Jackson's mind on the task at hand: stopping the invasion from Xebel, led by Siren. But as they get closer to the shore, they see they're too late:
Aquaman and Aqualad try their best to stop the horde of invaders as well as save innocent lives. Aqualad starts to get better at using his powers, while Siren tries to unnerve Aquaman by insisting she captured Mera and slit her throat.

Aquaman isn't buying it, and seems ready to deal with Siren in a manner fairly new to him: deadly force. Just as it looks like he's about to impale her with his trident, someone else steps in, and:
...why does everyone hate Aquaman's hand?!? To be continued!

When I picked up this week's issue from my LCS (All Things Fun of Berlin, NJ, yo), I was warned about what I was about to see. I gritted my teeth and opened the book right there, worrying that Johns and Tomasi were going to pull a fast one and, like, kill Aquaman off(again) or something.

And while I wasn't thrilled to see yet another moment of gory violence (this series is called what, again?), I breathed a little sigh of relief that it was "just" Arthur losing his hand. Heck, he's been through this exact thing, before--so as long as he doesn't stick another hook in there, I'm not all that worried about it...

That said, for Neptune's Sake, stop torturing this guy! Can he get a day or two where things aren't just a endless nightmare of pain? If this keeps up, I'm seriously going to consider raising some money and hiring Darwyn Cooke or Mike Allred or somebody like that to write and draw a Aquaman and His Family Go The Water Park one-shot.

(h/t: newest F.O.A.M.er Jered Gold. Thanks Jered!)


Andy Luckett said...

Well, I gotta say, I was shocked to turn the page and see that image. I'm reserving judgement because I have a feeling Geoff Johns is really building to something. I mean, with the White Lantern around, there's lots of potential for regeneration of all kinds.

But since they've established that Aquaman's skin is nigh-bulletproof, that must be some wicked-sharp blade Manta's using there.

I just don't want to go down a similar road to the Aquaman hand situation as it happened before.

Diabolu Frank said...

So that's why Geoff Johns killed one of the best Asian DC heroes/New Bloods, Nightblade, during Infinite Crisis. He was preempting by years a Legion-style power redundancy in the DCU. Permanent amphibious healing factor. Bank on it, and prepare for the added ammunition the next time someone calls Aquaman's powers lame.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Ouch! And he's pressing his thumb right into the wound. Artie's got a high tolerance for pain.

Airship Over Water said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Airship Over Water said...

I feel almost certain that Aquaman's hand is coming back -- for two reasons.

1. The fate of the Hawks in the last Brightest Day. James Robinson was quoted as recently as November/December of last year that he was working on some Hawkman related project. Although he later denied this, it was "spilled" more than once. Obviously, he had to tighten his lips because of issue #18, and with the world knowing they'd be coming back, their death wouldn't mean as much. So clearly they are returning.

2. Geoff Johns seems to shun Peter David's Aquaman run to some degree. Like a lot of the DC runs in the 90s, Johns has this tendency to move pieces around until things are very "Silver Age" -- his ideal version of many characters. I seem to recall Johns at a panel even making some ever-so-slight stab at how it's good that Aquaman is back in his "true form" with his original outfit and two hands. Like Diabolu said -- I think Aquaman is going to be getting some new powers (much like Captain Boomerang's new power to generate energy-boomerangs out of thin air) and can heal himself and regrow limbs, much like a starfish and other aquatic creatures.

So yeah, this is shocking, and if he remains with only one hand, of course I'll still keep reading it, but I don't think it's permanent.

Siskoid said...

I was waiting for you to post about this!

Well, I agree completely with airship, and I do without even the insider/spoiler knowledge. Just on a story structure/theme, it is impossible for the Hawks to have been reduced to dust. It makes no sense to transform them into their pure forms only to destroy them forever - not DC icons like this.

And if the Hawks aren't dead, Aquaman's hand isn't gone.

I hope. It's been done.

Joe Slab said...

I'm going to avoid jumping right into my concerns about how GJ is handling Aquaman and try to focus on the good parts of the issue.

I'm glad to finally learn that the 5 stars of Brightest Day have a connection to earth's (and if life originated on earth, then the universe's) life web. Arthur's is obvious, as exclaimed by Siren " All life comes from the water" so it will be interesting to see if Johns handles this in a the powerful that it could be handled...

Aquaman is obviously going through his "Dark night of the soul" and I wouldn't be surprised if it got worse for him (just like it did for the Hawks last issue) before BD's ultimate resolution. And while a bit bloody, the last page cliffhanger is true comic book awesomeness! How will our hero get out of this one?!?

David J. Cutler said...

This hand-losing business left me in such a bad mood. I'm hoping it's to reveal a heightened healing factor or he just has it reattached, but I dunno.

Wings1295 said...

I think we all are feeling like so many steps forward for Aquaman were just smacked with a bit of stumble backwards.

Wings1295 said...

Hoping this isn't permanent, but if it is, I am hoping he chooses the water hand over a hook.

David J. Cutler said...

Haha I'd take the hook over the water hand, wings! (unless the water hand comes with aquakinesis). I guess they can't please everybody!

Anonymous said...

The only thing that bothers me is the lack of originality in this story. I mean, sure, If Johns hadn't cut off Arthur's hand, this would've been yet another not-so-special issue, that's entertaining but nothing really shocking. Still, I can't believe he couldn't come up with something different.

I'm betting Aquaman will "die" in the next issue, just like the hawks did.

All I hope is that we get to see the full extent of Aquaman's powers as he summons the entirety of sea life to destroy each and every Xebel soldier out there!


Jason Garner said...

I felt this same way you did after reading this, Mr. Cutler. I get that this probably won't be permanent, but it still sucks to see your favorite hero maimed...again. Here's hoping for the return of Alex Ross' Justice sea star regeneration powers!

HollyH said...

Maybe I'm wrong to get hung up on this... and it's not like I would have wanted this sequence to be even gorier, but... from a "this really happened" point of view, what bothered me the most about it is, um... a severed limb doesn't leave behind a smooth, flat red surface that is only mildly dripping blood. Maybe that's the artists' way of trying not to be too graphic, but it just sort of winds up looking fake... or perhaps symbolic.

So I'm wondering if, in a way, it's more symbolic than "real". But, if it's symbolic, then it bugs me a bit that it isn't the same hand that he lost the last time.

Or perhaps the "fakeness" of it doesn't mean anything, and we are indeed in for some further revelation about healing powers, or something else entirely.

KJ Sampson said...

As ticked as I am about the hand thing, I'll be considerably more angry if Siren's telling the truth and Mera's been killed off-panel — and still fairly annoyed if it IS just a cheap red herring.

I mean, Siren's holding all the cards here. She doesn't need to lie to Aquaman. So...why?