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

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Fire and Water Podcast: Episode 34

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 34 - Aquaman #13 and Firestorm #13 Reviews

Shag and I record in the wee hours of the morning to discuss the latest issues of FIRESTORM and AQUAMAN! This time we review AQUAMAN #13 (by Geoff Johns, Rod Reis, Julio Ferreira, and the outgoing art team of Ivan Reis and Joe Prado) and THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MAN #13 (by the new creative team of Dan Jurgens, Ray McCarthy, and Hi-Fi)! One issue wraps up a fantastic storyline, while the other begins a new era with a bang!

Please help victims of Hurricane Sandy by donating to the Red Cross through THE AQUAMAN SHRINE. Anyone who donates through the SHRINE will be entered into a drawing for some amazing prizes! For more details, visit http://www.aquamanshrine.net/2012/11/hurricane-sandy-relief.html

Have a question or comment? Send us an e-mail at: firewaterpodcast@comcast.net

Also, you can leave a comment on our sites:
THE AQUAMAN SHRINE - http://www.aquamanshrine.com
FIRESTORM FAN - http://firestormfan.com
FIRE AND WATER PODCAST TUMBLR - http://fireandwaterpodcast.tumblr.com

Subscribe via iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-fire-and-water-podcast/id463855630

Intro theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Outro music by Daniel Adams and The Bad Mamma Jammas!

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!


The Irredeemable Shag said...

Just a quick observation from me... I was listening back to the podcast yesterday when I realized we did a lot more RECAP than REVIEW. Sorry about that folks. I imagine it was the combination of such important issues and our sheer exhaustion (it was literally 5:30am on a Sunday when we recorded).

Hope everyone enjoyed the episode!

Russell said...

I thought your comment about Dan's artwork resembling Neal Adam's was spot on.

And I totally "heard" Firestorm in your voice when he says, "She's hot."

Diabolu Frank said...

Sorry for the late reply, but I wanted to (re)read "The Others" in full before listening to the spoilery discussion of the final chapter. I'll also discuss my grievances issue by issue.

I've had occasional pangs of regretful indecision when it's come to the Aquaman revival. It's a top selling book involving the classic Sea King I prefer with magnificent art. Reading these issues renewed my confidence in dropping it.

Aquaman #7: The art is so pretty I want to tongue-kiss it, but I'm officially over Geoff Johns. Nine pages of a chick running through the jungle, seeing a vision of her demise, then getting a variation of it. 94 words are uttered, most monosyllabic, across 39 panels. The book in total has 34 silent panels, 21 panels with five-or-less words, and there are four splash pages (1/5th of the issue.) That offends me as a person who enjoys reading stories, as opposed to a collection of scenes.

Killing one of the only Muslim super-heroines ever in her first appearance? Having the African male villain do it in such a vicious, fetishistic fashion? Spotlight on the jungle girl in a bikini with the jaguar? What kind of twisted '80s action movie worldview does Johns have? Did he intern with Andy Sidaris before Richard Donner?

Finally, there's the plot. It's ten little Indians all the way. There's the old squad Aquaman was tight with back in the day that we've never heard of before. The new characters aren't very well designed or differentiated from one another, one's already dead, and the rest have artifacts that line them up as future victims.

Aquaman #8: Thirteen pages of flashbacks and several more of exposition dump makes me happy, since they involve way more storytelling than Johns musters most months. It almost makes up for the page spent watching the same house from the same perspective go through seasons (the colorist carrying three of the five static panels,) a splash page of young Aquaman splashing, a spread of the Others dashing through the snow, WAY too many silent/minimal panels, and a closing 3/4 splash Black Manta pin-up.

Aquaman #9: This issue was like Forrest Gump to last issue's Rain Man. Why would Manta stab a whole bunch of expendable nobodies in order to slowly choke the one dude in the building with super-powers? The harder they try to make Manta cool, the more ridiculous he becomes. The whole stealth assassin thing is undercut by wearing an enormous chrome helmet with glowing red headlights for eyes and an oxygen tank besides. Is Rick Moranis under all that? How about those sissy wrist mounted mini-harpoons he fires with the thread attached? Is he serious with those things? I grin every time they appear. Also, fourteen of twenty pages are near/silent fights? C'mon!

Aquaman #10: Eight pages (a.k.a. half the book) of the Operative stalking about Manta's headquarters? That only existed to set the character up, and Johns basically spells out his arc for whoever replaces him as writer (if applicable.)

The entire rest of the issue involves Aquaman and Manta fighting over their daddy issues, with Shin illustrating a hyperbolic comment made last issue. I know comics are about showing rather than telling, but if you can tell me exposition in a panel (as Shin already did) and get on with the story, do that. Instead, most of this issue reads as belaboring of stuff already established. I flip right past the two page spreads at this point, since their gratuitous overuse renders them meaningless. Aquaman punched Manta. It was a random punch. That barely rates a panel.

I'm glad Aquaman is finally getting the respect he deserves, and looks great doing it, but the stories have wasted the opportunity by being such thin, trope-happy tripe. Dropping Aquaman when he's on a career high in relative popularity offends me most of all.

Diabolu Frank said...

Aquaman #11: In a move that in no way makes his being a Sub-Mariner rip-off any less obvious, Arthur Curry is surrounded by an (admittedly prefabricated) team of friends willing to sacrifice their lives for him, but he just keeps being a total jerk to the lot of them, demonstrated across the span of his career through flashbacks. He makes excuses about not wanting anyone else to get hurt, but his insistence on being an isolated posturing ass just tells me he's realized that going method as Batman is as good for the Sea King's career as that Keith Richards impersonation was for Johnny Depp's.

Not to get down on the ladies, but Mera has been grandstanding throughout the series, so it was nice to see Black Manta counter her with forethought and the power of invention. Shame it was also the best action beat, as the Others seem to have read a lot of Claremont X-Men and enjoy whining about their delicate feelings at length. What a time for Johns to finally start writing enough dialogue to fill a proper word balloon. Suddenly, Aquaman is Cannonball at a New Mutants reunion, so it's no wonder he's doing a cover of Alex Clare's "Too Close" while dubstepping off an aeroplane.

By the way, four full pages to showing off the scenery in the throne room? Screw this book.

Diabolu Frank said...

Aquaman #12: Three pages of Mera answering a cell phone page and swimming to meet the Others, two of which are silent. I paid $0.45 for that. One sliver of panel more would buy me a can of name brand soda, or two store brand from the vending machine. Mera consoles me ever so slightly with her deep cleavage (Hi Shag!)

There's some more exposition from previous issues, which halfway makes sense because of how negligible the "plot" is between fights could confuse monthly readers who think they've forgotten story heft that wasn't there to begin with. On the other hand, you could just reread the previous five issues in under fifteen minutes like I did, and know better.

I really don't have a problem with Aquaman turning a gun-toting evil ninja into shish kabob , so long as he does the same to Manta. For over thirty years, Manta got away with murdering Aquaman's child because the Comics Code Authority wouldn't allow the Sea King to stoop to personally executing the guy. In this series, Manta contributed to Tom Curry's death, and he slit open poor Kahina, a wife and mother, just to play with her insides. There's even another unnecessary death of a character nobody cares about this issue, just to erase any issues one might have with the death penalty. If Aquaman doesn't end Manta, he's doomed to returning to the bush leagues.

This one was decent. There's even a justifiable if overly convenient two page spread. Now if only it all ends well...

Aquaman #13:
...and here comes the suck. I'd usually say Black Manta spiriting away was a smart move, but it's rather anticlimactic for the last chapter of a seven part "epic" with the final artwork by the glorious team of Ivan Reis & Joe Prado and right after Manta gets an incredibly powerful scepter. What I really don't need is Aquaman getting a metatextual pep talk, or Manta willingly giving up the scepter over bogus sentimentality.

The Others' sneak attack in the middle of the ocean is as ridiculous as Ocean Master's vessel managing to submerge before anyone could stop it. The thing is a giant lobster with an airplane style exit ramp. It takes a minute to seal something like that up. It was brilliant how, faced with his archenemy and a team of foes, Manta focused on Prisoner of War instead of Aquaman, or at least one of the two women he's had sex with, one of whom is only protected by a her One Million Years B.C. cosplay. But wait, I'm forgetting about how with 5-1 against him, Manta neither improves his odds by jumping into his natural element nor teleports away with his magic bauble. Way better to get owned by Aquaman alone in two pages, then beg to die on a third, only for the Sea King to predictably wimp out (and like Batman, be responsible for all future bloodletting at his foe's hands.) I'm so glad we used up all that space in previous issues on two page spreads of nothing, instead of this grand finale.

It's also swell how Aquaman imparts a life-altering lesson on P.O.W. that can be summarized as "stop being a creep and you can borrow my copy of the Zac Efron vehicle The Lucky One." Makes everything all better now. I'm so, so, so done with this stupid book.

Diabolu Frank said...

A few more comments:

Pelletier = PELL-tee-ay. I like him, but he'll look terrible following Reis. Completely different styles. Real smart putting Eddie Barrows on Teen Titans again.

I liked what I was hearing in the Dan Jurgens interview, and Shag makes his first Firestorm issue sound fun. I passed on the New 52 Dr. Manhattan series, but if Jurgens gives Captain Atom the same old school salvation he's offering the Nuclear Man, I'll give the book a try.