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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Aquaman (Vol.8) #13 - Dec. 2012

"The Others, Conclusion" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Julio Ferreira, and Rod Reis.

Aqua-Dog makes the cover! Salty FTW!

In other news, The Others storyline wraps up, kicking off with a flashback to six years go, when Manta escaped Aquaman in the snowy hills of Russia. We then flash forward to the present, as Vostok lays dying:
Aquaman continues to insist he hunt Manta alone, and smashes his way through a cliff face with his bare hands in pursuit. Just as he sees his target, Manta, in possession of the Atlantean orb and scepter, teleports away.

Back on The Operative's flying headquarters, they are able to track Manta. Dr. Shin blames himself for betraying Arthur and his father, but Aquaman is feeling guilt too, insisting he has "blood on his hands." He turns to Mera for forgiveness:

Manta reappears in the middle of a storm-tossed ocean, where a massive, insect-like Atlantean ship rises out of the water to meet him. Manta's unknown partner sends out his(?) emissaries to deliver payment, after which he will hand over the scepter.
But just as the hand-off is about to take the place, the Sea King arrives!
Aquaman demands to know who is inside the craft, wondering aloud if it is brother Orm. But whoever is inside isn't ready to face him just yet.
That leaves the job up to Black Manta, who fires a heat blast at Prisoner of War. With Prisoner down for the count, Manta prepares to deliver a killing blow, but once again Aquaman is there at the right moment:
Aquaman breaks Black Manta's arm, and that leaves him helpless at the Sea King's feet. Manta dares Aquaman to kill him, but he relents, refusing to kill in cold blood.

Morning arrives, and Manta is carted away by the police. The Operative offers to protect the other Atlantean artifacts, with the help of Y'Wara. Prisoner of War prepares to go back to his sad, lonely existence, but Aquaman offers him another path: using his powers to help heal the families of those who have lost their loved ones. We then see POW do just that; in Cedar Falls, Iowa, he arrives at a family's front door, offering them a chance to "visit" with their husband and father.

Meanwhile, back at Amnesty Bay:
The End...for now!

So (potentially) ends one of the great periods of Aquaman's 70-year history; as you all know by now, the 2/3rds of the art team, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, are bidding adeus to Aquaman and moving onto Justice League (of course, they are really only leaving Aquaman the book, not the character; the Sea King will be taking on a larger role in Justice League starting next issue). Along with color artist Rod Reis (who is, thank Neptune, staying on), they helped usher Aquaman into a new level of creative and popular success, led by the writing of Geoff Johns, who seemed to take making Aquaman and Mera "A" list characters again his personal mission.Together, this team was truly greater than the sum of its parts, and due to their efforts Aquaman has become, inarguably, the greatest success of the New 52.

As I've said every month since Aquaman #1, there was always at least one ka-pow moment in each issue, and I wasn't disappointed this time around--that full-page shot of Aquaman leaping out of the sea is simply beautiful (another moment is when Aquaman shatters Manta's helmet; I was lucky enough to see that page in black and white form and even without Rod Reis' spectacular colors it packed quite a punch).

I'm glad the issue ended with Arthur and Mera in a moment of happiness (with Salty the Aqua-Dog!). Neptune knows they won't ever really get much of that in their lives as superheroes, so you take it where you can get it. On a related note, I don't envy any bad guy whose plan is to separate Aquaman from his queen.

There will be new regular art team debuting on Aquaman soon, and the Shrine is eager to see what Paul Pelletier and Art Thibert bring to the world of the Sea King. In the meantime, let's all rejoice just how good us Aqua-Fans have had it recently; and offer up a round of applause to Geoff, Ivan, Joe, Rod, and everyone at DC who helped bring Aquaman back!


Shellhead said...

Slight quibble, Rob.
The ship is clearly crustacean in nature, not insect.
Otherwise, I agree. This is the best Aquaman's been since the early nineties. They will be missed. On the other hand, Justice League should get significantly better.

Dave said...

I don't know, maybe it will be better when read as a unit, but I was really getting tired of this arc. I saw a solicit that it was going to end with issue 14 and that was almost enough to make me take a break from the book.

I hope we can get more short, punchy arcs for a bit.

Jorge PR said...

I loved the part where Mera asks Arthur not to act like the rest of the world and undervalue who Aquaman really is. A sweet, loving, priceless moment.

Christophe said...

I love how he shows up to battle in his new redesigned duds. That's like his fourth official Aquaman suit in the New 52 already.