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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Aquaman (Vol.8) #8 - June 2012

Comics Weekend "The Others Chapter 2" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis.

Six years ago:
Outside in the crowd, Dr. Steven Shin tried to make his way into Arthur's house, but is recognized as "The guy who discovered the man from Atlantis!"

Arthur, boiling, comes tearing out of the house, declaring he isn't "one of them", and runs to the edge of the water:
We snap back to the present, at Shin's home, where the tense communication between Aquaman, Mera, and Y'Wara continues. And we see while Arthur may be the King of the Seven Seas, he's not totally on the same page as his wife:
Y'Wara is convinced Shin is involved the plot with Black Manta that led to Kahina's murder. Aquaman asks Mera to stay behind while he and Y'Wara go to check the body (bad idea, Arthur). But before they teleport away, Arthur tells Mera he loves her, as well as warning Shin that if it turns out he is involved, Y'Wara's panther gets fed.

Left alone with Shin, Mera wastes no time demanding to know everything he knows about The Others. Meanwhile, we flash back to six years ago, and get to see Aquaman and The Others in action:
Turns out their chasing Black Manta, with Aquaman staying focused on that, while The Others are more concerned about saving the local people from an avalanche. Aquaman orders them all to keep up the hunt, but they ignore his commands and take off to help the people.

The being known as The Prisoner creates a force bubble that keeps the small village save from the avalanche; except for one little girl who frantically running away. Aquaman begrudgingly takes after, displaying his less-than-perfect social skills:
After the avalanche is over, Aquaman is mad that Black Manta has gotten away. The Others try and show him that they achieved a greater good, and Kahina says she has seen Arthur's future, one where he is happy.

Back in the present, Aquaman and Y'Wara find Kahina's butchered body. Aqauaman quickly sees the mystic totem called The Seal of Clarity Kahina was carrying is missing, and that means Manta has it. Their conversation is interrupted when a gang of armed soldiers open fire on them, on behalf of Black Manta. And speaking of:
To be continued!

On the sneak preview of this issue that ran in USA Today earlier in the week, writer
Ben Truitt opened the piece with this observation: "Geoff Johns is doing for Aquaman and the water what he did for Green Lantern and the cosmos: crafting an ever-expanding mythology", and I think that's exactly right. We're getting glimpses of a whole huge history of Aquaman, featuring a whole sub-set of characters that make the Sea King's world a larger, immediately more complex place.

It's fun to watch Young Aquaman on a steep learning curve on how to work with others (or, in this case, The Others). He's clearly their leader, but he's not much of one since they all ignore his commands so readily. Obviously in the intervening five years, he'll come to learn a lot, some of which we've already seen in Justice League.

I am more firmly convinced that this New 52 Aquaman and Mera have not had a child that was murdered by Black Manta. The Aquaman on display here is tougher and more violent, seemingly less willing to forgive, and I just don't believe this particular Aquaman would let Black Manta live if he had killed Arthur's son. Heck, I'm not sure he's gonna do that anyway, considering what he did to Kahina!

The art, as always, is top-notch. I've simply run out of superlatives when it comes to talking about the work of Reis, Prado, and Reis. In particular, Black Manta looks more nightmarish and scary than he ever has, a pretty good trick considering this is a bad guy with a giant dome on his head.

One final thing--I love the old-school "cheat" of the cover: it looks like The Others have violently turned against Aquaman in this issue, which of course isn't really true. Maybe we have that to look forward(?) to!


Kryschenn said...

I'm a little confused on the timeline here. The scene at first, with Arthur diving away from all the reporters, says "Six Years Ago." Then, the seasons pass, and the next scene, in which he appears to have joined The Others, says it is "One Year Later." That would make it five years ago. Isn't five years ago supposedly when he was already ensconced in Atlantis and met up with Superman and Batman et. al. for the first adventure of the JLA? Was he working with both groups at the same time? Am I missing something obvious here?

Russell said...

I'm with Kryshenn above. The timeline throws me. I did like that Arthur is shown in one of his previous costumes, though.

Also, I'm not a big fan of having little tidbits of information fed to me like I was a bird. Specifially, how am I supposed to care that these characters are menaced or even killed if I don't know who they are?

Likewise, it seems like DC is tying Black Manta in to Aquaman's mythos more prominently, which may or may not be a good thing but for all this back-story I find it surprising that he/we don't know more about him and his motivations. I don't know The Others and that might be fine, but if we end this story without knowing more about Manta, I will be VERY disappointed.

Joe Slab said...

I'm not a big fan of writers giving specific parameters for timelines, just for the above reason: it creates confusion...

In any case, Arthur is wearing the Atlanean "royal necklace" that he also wore in JUSTICE LEAGUE 1-6 so that indicates that he's already been to Atlantis (I think they came for their royal heir at age 13, Aquaman is 27 in the current DCU, so guessing he's about 19 or 20 in the flashback)and the rest of the others all have their Atlantean relics so they've obviously been working together for some time...but again, this is all probably before the official age of super-heroes in the New DCU and definitely before JL #1.

I also agree with rob!, Black Manta & Arthur obviously have a new history, one that does not include the murder of AJ...

aquaman said...

hate to be this way, but UGH, already leery about this line of story. Was enjoying him being really connected and relate-able. I also saw a drawing by Reis showing Aquaman getting his hand cut off by Black Manta! Please tell me they aren't going there. I am not a fan of Arthur running through forests and such. Keep him at least near the water. Not in a snow bank! Ugh, Just when I though they had a handle on Arthur. Fingers crossed I ma wrong.

Omega Agent1 said...

To keep Aquaman strong as a character he has to able to run thru forests and anywhere else our hero needs to go. I love the undersea action and drama and I think the story is leading us there lets enjoy the ride.

I'm with Russell, it's time we find out what Black Manta's motivations are, who he is and why. A black Manta one shot would clear up the problem and burst open the Aquaman mythos even further.