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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Aquaman (Vol.8) #19 - June 2013

"Death of a King Chapter Two" by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis.

This issue of Aquaman opens with our hero putting in a call to his old friend, Topo. But this is not the Topo many of us remember:

Members of Aquaman's Atlantean army are scared that "the monster" has been awakened, but the Sea King and Topo seem to have a relationship of mutual respect. Despite this, and Aquaman's pleas for help in finding The Scavenger, Topo retreats back into the crevice he came from, ignoring his king. In response, Aquaman seems crestfallen.

After a quick interlude with Orm in Belle Reve, we find Murk and Tula on the outskirts of Atlantis, where the former is going to visit an old friend(?) named Swatt. This being lives far away from most of Atlantis so he can "come and go" in private, and indeed when they arrive Swatt is gone. Murk thinks nothing of inviting himself in, which Swatt doesn't take too kindly to when he returns:
Murk is here to ask Swatt for help rescuing Orm, but before he can answer, Tula is called away by Aquaman for help. Meanwhile, a sailing boat is caught in the massive snowstorm caused by the Ice Giant seen at the end of last issue. Mera, knocked unconscious at first, wakes up to find the boat's passengers all dead:
Mera blasts the giant with a blast of frozen water, and then escapes into the sea. Many miles away, Aquaman and some of his army are on the trail of the Scavenger's ship. But a trap has been set for them, involving fuel being ignited, causing a massive explosion.
They all stagger to the beach, to find one of the two men who found the ships dead. Aquaman detects a second heartbeat coming from inside the ship, and he rips it open, finding their lost man, who looks as though he has undergone torture and experimentation.

Down below, Mera is found by two armored men, whom she seems to know. She asks to see someone named Nereus, who we learn is waiting to make his presence known...to his wife!
To be continued!

Overall, I thought this was a mixed issue of Aquaman. The New and Badass Topo reveal is great, but it sort of fizzles out when he tells the Sea King to go get stuffed, essentially. Obviously he'll come back into the story at some point (as they say, if you introduce a Topo in the first act, he has to go off in the second) but I, like Aquaman, was disappointed this great big intro amounted to very little.
I'm intrigued of course to learn that Mera is/was married, and I'm already looking forward to Aquaman and Nereus squaring off. How The Others fit into this, I have no idea--I'm more than a little surprised Geoff Johns is working them back into the book so soon.
Art-wise, this is a fairly dense issue, with some pages having eight or nine panels of dialogue. There's a two-page spread of Mera swimming around the ship's burial ground that's well executed, and the full page shot of Topo rising into the frame is icky fun (well designed and executed by Pelletier and Parsons, and, as usual, beautifully colored by Reis). I hope we get to see him eat Murk soon!


Anonymous said...

Aquaman feels lost since the ned of throne of atlantis. i mean the book and the hero. Johhs seems to be building up atlantis but frankly i dont care about Urn, Murk, Swatt (stupid names all around. I like Tula and the last page was cool but all around a very meh issue.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

It would give this old school fanboy a mild thrill if they tied this into the Ice Giants of the Phantom Stranger series of the '70s.

Kryschenn said...

Somehow I interpreted Topo's abrupt departure not so much as a message to Arthur to stuff it, but that he somehow knew the Atlantean Guards were waiting for an excuse to attack, and he was rather offended by this.

Diabolu Frank said...

I'm not sure that line of dialogue is being interpreted correctly. Even in comic books, "I thought you were dead, Mera. I thought my wife was dead" would be painfully clumsy phrasing. Isn't it more likely Nereus is her brother or something, and that Mera had gone off on a mission with his wife, but never returned? Two gingers marrying makes me wonder is they're secretly Lannisters or something.

Lucien Desar said...

I thought this was a great issue. It was exciting seeing Topo being introduced as this huge sea creature that is feared. Although, I still have a soft spot for Topo, the octopus, that helped Aquaman play as a backup band, help clean dishes, nab multiple pirates at once etc.

Mera's character is becoming more interesting than Aquaman's at the moment. There is enough mystery surrounding her although I suspect she really isn't married but might have been at one time. I am still very curious to know what major crime she committed in her past. I think it's great to have Mera's character being a powerful female and being slightly unhinged. It makes for a great story.

It is way too soon to have The Others to return in the story line. There are so many new directions to go instead of making a u-turn to a previous story arc so early in the run.

Nice work with the overview Rob!

Andy Luckett said...

Great review, Rob. I like the new, massive Topo, and can't wait to see him in action (and you are right, Murk is asking for it, kind of like a Harvey Bullock-type figure for Aquaman).

Overall, this is a set-up issue, getting all of the pieces of this new storyarc in place for the goodness to come. That said, if next issue doesn't bring some big action, then I'll also feel like things are slowing down after "Throne of Atlantis".

Still loving the art, especially the spread of Mera swimming through the vehicle graveyard at the bottom of the Bermuda Triangle. As far as Nereus, I'm with Diabolu Frank in thinking that maybe he isn't Mera's husband (it makes for a better end-of-issue tease to imply it). But we'll see. I'm still loving the book, let's hope it stays awesome.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I love that cover and...is it just me? I can't stop looking at Mera's booty.

Doc Savage said...

Topo is grim-n-gritty and edgy now! Badass!

Can't wait for Quisp to turn up with a leather jacket and sawed-off shotgun and start blowing away dolphins
to show how badass and edgy he is!

Is this really necessary? To take beloved characters and bastardize them? Yuck.

Mera was always the most beautiful heroine D.C. had.