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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Aquaman (Vol.8) #16 - March 2013

"Throne of Atlantis Chapter Four" by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis.

Chapter Three of this story ended with a real ka-pow moment, with the introduction of a whole new wave (what, too soon?) of potential Justice League members ready to step in. But, before that, Cyborg has to get ready for a trip under water:

In another part of the Watchtower, Vulko and Shin are watching the news, which seems to be blaming Aquaman for all this, even insinuating that this was a plan all along and that his membership in the Justice League was part of it (next up: Sean Hannity!). Vulko gets in Shin's face, telling him that if this was Atlantis, he would have been put to death for his betrayal of the King--a similar sentence that Orm has presumably delivered upon Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman:
Via some doo-dads in Batman's utility belt, he and Aquaman compare notes about where they are and where the others might be. A member of the Trench attacks, which Aquaman runs through with his trident. He then lifts up the pod Batman is contained in, and together they go looking for Superman and Wonder Woman.
Batman wonders aloud if there are others continuing the fight on land. Oh yeah there is:
The new members of the League--Firestorm, Black Canary, Hawkman among them (man, it felt good to say that)--try their best to fight off the Atlantean invaders, but they don't work well as a team, and Hawkman is taken out when Ocean Master sets off another detonator.

At the Watchtower, Cyborg emerges from his refit, and along with Mera they head back down to Earth, in search of the other JLers. At the same moment, Aquaman and Batman find their friends:
Mera, Aquaman, and Cyborg manage to free Superman and Wonder Woman, and bring them all to safety. Aquaman can't sense any more Trench, which doesn't make sense unless they're...on land!

Aquaman thinks that Orm is controlling them, but as we see he's just as shocked by these creatures as his brother was. So who is really controlling the Trench? This guy: 
...to be continued!

"Throne of Atlantis" keeps charging along, in another fine installment. I truly didn't see the Vulko turn coming, and while it's disappointing that Aquaman will feel betrayed by this, I'm happy that writer Geoff Johns just didn't pull a rabbit of a hat and make the mysterious force behind all this be some villain we've never seen.

As I mentioned in the review of Justice League #16, I'm thrilled to see all the new members get into the action so soon, and I had to chuckle at Hawkman (oh, excuse me, The Savage Hawkman) admonishing them all--just like old times. It oughta be a blast when this storyline is over and we get to see all them hanging out at the Watchtower.

New artist Paul Pelletier does a fine job here, with some panels being extraordinary--the whole sequence of Aquaman carrying Batman's pod around is simultaneously spooky and funny, with the deep shadows nearly smothering our heroes, yet Batman talking like he's not even fazed by this turn of events. DC needs to bring back Brave and the Bold and have Bruce and Arthur team-up, stat.

I didn't see a huge difference in the inks from Art Thibert to Sean Parsons, with the latter's inks being a little smoother, I'd say. And as usual, Rod Reis does an amazing job with the colors--also really, er, shining during the underwater sequence with the Trench. Aquaman, as a title and a character, is very fortunate he stuck around.

Eagerly awaiting the conclusion in Justice League #17!


David J. Cutler said...

Being that I never really cared for Vulko much as an ally in the past, I thought the heel turn was awesome.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking there is another party involved. That someone else fired on Atlantis and Vulko used the Trench to after Orm because of his attack.

I think Vulko is a heel against Orm but not the surface world or Arthur.

Maybe I missed something.

Rock Roche said...

Great issue full of surprises and action.

So far Throne of Atlantis has confirmed a couple things:

- Orm's helmet controls water, while his trident lightning.

- Garth is still a citizen of Atlantis.

- Tula is a high ranking soldier/agent of Atlantis.

- Vulko is the big bad.

Looking forward to more revelations as this arc comes to a close.

Designer Daddy said...

This was my favorite issue of Aquaman in a while, story-wise. The Vulko twist genuinely surprised me, and I agree with other comments that it's nice to see him as a powerful figure (even bad) rather than the weak, chubby old man he's been in iterations past.

Count Drunkula said...

This issue was terrific on so many levels!

The artwork was superb. I've enjoyed Pelletier's art in the past, but I thought the change from Reis and Prado to Pelletier in issue #15 was pretty jarring. Not at all with this issue. Maybe it's Parsons' inks, but for a large part of this chapter I forgot that I wasn't looking at Ivan Reis' pencils--and that is high praise!

Rob, you're absolutely right about the need for another Aquaman and Batman team-up. I don't know why but they have a chemistry in comics and cartoons that just crackles with fun.

The scenes with the Justice League replacements were terrific. Johns nails Firestorm's youthful awe and Hawkman's (groan) savagery. Plus, it was great to see Black Canary and Vixen. Also--and I mentioned this at Firestorm Fan--but does the Atom in silhouette after Hawkman's taken out look a little shapely, maybe feminine?

Lastly, this single issue did what JUSTICE LEAGUE has failed to do for over a year, and that's get me to care about Cyborg. Since the launch of the New 52, I've felt like they tried too hard to force him on the team and make him worthy of the A-listers at the expense of characters like Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, and Green Arrow. I haven't joined the Cyborg bandwagon... until now.

Can't wait to read the next installment!

Joe Slab said...

I KNEW it was Vulko! LOL

Its apparent that Johns has been meticulously planning the New 52 history of Atlantis since issue #1. I can't wait to see what is revealed in the next arc as Arthur goes on a mission to discover the secrets behind the sinking of Atlantis in "The Dead King" and I will make a prediction:

Orm didn't kill Atlanna, Vulko did!

Micheal said...

I really hpe Vulko didn't kill Atlanna but they betrayal was truly a surprise to say the least so I have to congratulate Geoff on that even if I don't fully like it.

Only part I didn't understand was Wonder Woman breathing underwater.

Also nice to see Hawkman, Black Canary, Firestorm and possibly the Atom working with the JL again. Plus the mentions of Garth, Tula, Will Magnus and the Metal Men and Red Tornado(and the Red Tornado's connection with Earth 2) showing the potential of the New 52 universe being similar to the DC universe of old.

Can't wait for the conclusion though.