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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Aquaman (Vol.8) #21 - Aug. 2013

"Death of A King Chapter Three: Confrontation" by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelltier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis.

After last month's side trip with The Others, this issue of Aquaman picks up where #19 left off, with Mera confronting a man who seems to act as though he is her husband:

*Whew*! After two months of waiting, I can't be the only one glad to know that Mera and Nereus aren't really married. I particularly loved the final panel of page three directly above, with a close-up of Mera in a slight sneer, telling Nereus the bad news: I'm just not that into you.

Meanwhile, Aquaman is tearing through the ocean, making like a missile for The Scavenger's sub. He hits it from the side, causing the crew inside to be knocked off their feet. But that's just for starters:
The sub falls out of the sky, crashing back onto the surface of the water. The Sea King tears open its hull with his trident, looking for The Scavenger. Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be found, except on a viewscreen where he taunts Aquaman. The Scavenger, we see, is somewhere far away, in some sort of sea-level bunker, and is about to launch the next phase of his plan.
While Vulko tells his jailers that he needs to see Aquaman immediately, Arthur is busy visiting the Atlantean surgical room where a doctor is trying to save the life of one of the Atlanteans The Scavengers attacked and experimented on earlier. The doctor doesn't want anyone in her OR--not even the King--and tells him so.
As Murk prepares to head to the surface and free Orm, Mera fires off Nereus and his men, only for all of them to be attacked by The Ice Giant, who claims to be...the First King of Atlantis!
...to be continued!

After a couple of issues that I thought meandered around and suffered for it, I feel like the story (and the book in general) is back on track with this issue. Geoff Johns ratchets up the pace, increasing as the book moves along (I especially liked the next to-last-page, with its quick cross-cutting between the various locales).

I liked that Aquaman got more to do, and got to kick a little ass this time. Throwing a sub out of the water into the sky is a pretty impressive feat of strength, and Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons (and Rod Reis, of course) convey it effectively and dynamically. On top of the action sequences, I love the art team's take on Mera, which has been getting more assured with each issue. As I said above, I loved the lip curling sneer on Mera's face as she tells Nereus she's "met someone else."

I do wish Murk would stop re-re-re-stating his allegiance to Orm and just get on with it already, but it looks like he's finally putting his words into action this month. I also enjoyed Tula's mixed emotions over the mission, which seems to point that after Murk is dead or in jail, she will assume a regular role as a supporting character in the book.

And while she may be trapped in ice, Aquaman and Mera are in the same space again, and I'm looking forward to seeing them together again. The book is at its strongest when they are working as a team, so let's hope next month they get to kick some Ice Giant butt.


Joe Slab said...

Great issue!

Johns is doing with the Sea King exactly what he did with Green Lantern -- taking his good, sweet time and slowly deconstructing the Aquaman mythos and re-building it for the modern age. And for those of you who read Johns' final issue of GL, you know the payoff was huge & I can only imagine the coming greatness that he's got in store for Arthur...it may take a while to get there but Johns isn't going anywhere(after September the only 2 ongoing books he'll be writing will be Aquaman & Justice League)so Im going to just sit back and relax & enjoy the wave-ride.

So Nereus is the New 52 replacement for Oceanus and its established that Arthur's abilities are not just on par with the average Atlantean but way, way enhanced (BOOM to throwing a submarine from the depths of the ocean to the surface!!!), and we meet Dr. Rhodon who has the same skin affliction that Stephen Shin was shown to have way back in issue #1 or 2, and the Scavenger actually has a back-story and a motive in this incarnation and someone who is not Arthur or Orm is going to rise to power in Atlantis, and the art is improving and wow!

Bring on #22!

Joe Slab

Shellhead said...

After the disappointment of last issue, things are now back on track. And I agree, the art is improving quite a bit. This was the first issue where I didn't find myself missing Reis. The only thing I don't care for is how he changed Arthur's flared gloves into some kind of goofy bracer.

David J. Cutler said...

Aquaman's title's been a bit of a dud for me since Throne of Atlantis ended, but thankfully this issue was a real return to form. I miss Ivan Reis, though. Pelletier is good, but the book needs a stronger visual identity.

And yeah, those armored fin bracers are kinda goofy. I miss the old flared gloves from the Brightest Day design.

Johnny said...

Pelletier definitely gets better with each issue. He was totally right when he said during an interview that it always took him a couple of issues to really get into the story he's drawing and make it his own. Kudos to him. My only consistent issue with him is that he keeps drawing Arthur looking older. Reis drew him like he was in his mid to late 20s, Pelletier's Arthur looks to be in his mid 30s. Not that big of a deal but I think even he admit it once. Ivan Reis always draws the characters looking youthful though, so maybe that's why this bothers me.

Russell said...

I guess I'm in the minority but I still think this series is off-track. This issue was a major disappointment for me. I couldn't tell that Aquaman had tossed the submarine until it hit the air, then I went back and looked at the sequence and sort of got it. I think the whole Ocean Master thing is taking FOREVER and I'm bored with it. And I just don't like it when the cover has absolutely nothing to do with the story inside.

I read JLA, LSH, and Aquaman and this is the best of the three, but unfortunately that isn't saying much. :-(

Shellhead said...

Everybody writes for the trade these days, sadly. Everything gets extended and expanded.