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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Aquaman (Vol.8) #15 - Feb. 2013

"Throne of Atlantis Part Two" by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier, Art Thibert, and Karl Kesel.

The second installment of "Throne of Atlantis" opens in Gotham City, which in the process of being flooded. Just as how Vulko rescued Lois Lane, Aquaman is there to do the same for Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock:

Batman informs them that they are under attack from Atlantis--something Bullock has a hard time believing. But today is a day for unbelievable things, like when they watch water flow upwards. How is that possible? The answer is Mera:
Aquaman and Mera discuss what's inevitably coming next, something they decide to keep between themselves, lest the news panic the Justice League.
Over in Metropolis, Superman and Wonder Woman try and figure out who this mysterious stranger is. Wonder Woman guesses he's Atlantean after Superman's x-ray scan reveals Vulko has no lungs. Vulko awakens, getting in a good shot at Superman, but is stopped when Wonder Woman puts her sword to his neck.

Meanwhile, as Mera helps clean out Gotham, Aquaman and Batman are flying in Batman's jet. Aquaman reveals what is Atlantis' next step, and that he, with his brother, wrote the Atlantean war plans which they are now following. He also details what happened when he arrived at Atlantis to claim the throne--surprisingly, his brother Orm abdicated peacefully. But a faction of the Atlantean people didn't like a "half-breed" ruling them, and the laws were rewritten to put Orm back in power. Feeling like a man without a country, Aquaman was overjoyed to be involved with the newly-formed League.

The conversation is interrupted, however, by an incoming missile:
Up at the Watchtower, most of the League meets up, along with Vulko. The missing piece is who redirected those missiles? Whoever did that is the one trying to start a war.

Aquaman asks for one chance to talk to his brother, to see if this war can be averted. Superman and Wonder Woman are against it, but Batman is willing to let Aquaman try. Down in Boston, Ocean Master shows himself, ready to throttle every human who crosses his path. His rage is halted by his brother, who tries to talk some sense:
...to be continued!

The big news for this issue is the debut of new Aquaman art team Paul Pelletier and Art Thibert, who make a nice combination. Thibert brings a layer of grit to Pelletier's pencils, and they are aided immeasurably by color artist Rod Reis, who is back after skipping last issue. Rod is the finest colorist working in mainstream comics, so I am thrilled that he's staying on the book. Pelletier and Thibert have some big fins to fill, but so far they're off to a good start.

Geoff Johns couldn't have planned this, but watching major East Coast cities become flooded has an added resonance post-Hurricane Sandy. I like the simplicity of using the Earth's oceans as a weapon, rather than some fancy, high-tech Atlantean weapon; there's only so much people like Superman and Wonder Woman can do against millions of gallons of water. To me, it gives this "Throne of Atlantis" storyline a gravity and scope that harkens back to the classic "Crisis" JLA/JSA team-ups in the original series. We'll see how it all plays out of course.

One quibble: why is it "Throne of Atlantis Chapter One" in Justice League and "Throne of Atlantis Part Two" here?


Joe Slab said...

I personally wasn't wowed much by the art. Dang, you know you have high standards for art when Paul Pelletier is considered a downgrade LOL.

Also, I noticed Sean Parsons is listed with inking chores on future issues.

Weird how both Ivan & Paul introduced Mera in almost the same scene/pose/panel layout, huh?

Oscar Olalde said...

Um Rob, I know you are team "The Boys" 100%, but "nice combination" twice for Pelletier/Thibert's work IMO ain't enough recognition, "The New Boys" did a really great job here, gotta support them more!... also, in content this issue felt like 3-in-1 compared to the first arc... or almost half of an issue of Firestorm's New 52 first arc XD.

Anonymous said...

Pelletier did a great job following Reis. We know nobody can really follow him, but man, I was very pleasantly surprised how much the new style resembled the old, considering how I was prepared to hate it. It is a different artist with different artistic expression but the spirit of the book is preserved so well. Pelletier/Thilbert did great and if they keep the momentum, Aquaman's future is in capable hands(or pencils I guess). Like it was pointed out above, they difinitely deserve more recognition.

Andy Luckett said...

I was curious to see how the new art team would match up. I like their stuff so far. It's good to have Rod Reis still in the dugout for visual continuity and quality, but I was impressed with Pelletier and Thibert in this issue.

The opening scene with Aquaman finding Gordon and Bullock by the light of the submerged Bat-signal was a fantastic opening concept, and Mera gets to really pour it on with her powers (her admission that she could "feel" the bodies as she moved the water was a chilling detail).

I also really dug the "Lethal Weapon"-style panel of Aquaman and Bats leaping away from the explosion. There's another ongoing series right there, DC: Artie and Bruce - Loose Cannons Who Play By Their Own Rules

Orm was especially menacing, but not only that. He simply is unwilling to straddle the concerns of land and sea as Arthur is able to so well.

And great cliffhanger - Arthur vs. the rest of the League. We all knew it was coming, but it works because of Arthur and Orm's complex relationship. Once again, Aquaman is stuck between two opposing forces.

Anyway, rambling almost over, but suffice to say I'm enjoying the story so far. Let's hope it stays this good!

KJ Sampson said...

Rejected line from final page: "...but you've forced my hand...TO CHOKE A BAT!!!!!!!"

I liked how the beginning echoed American Tidal's from back in the early 2000s but with one crucial difference: Aquaman actually got to be heroic and save people instead of just swimming around and being sad.