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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Aquaman (Vol.8) #22 - Sept. 2013

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

As Murk, Tula, and our ersatz Abe Sapien make their way to Orm's prison cell, Aquaman finds himself face-to-face with the first King of Atlantis:
The King tells Aquaman that almost everything he thinks he knows about the history of Atlantis (and Xebel) is wrong, but at the moment Arthur isn't interested: he uses his telepathic powers to send some sharks to attack, but the King makes short work of them. Still, it gives Aquaman enough time to free Mera from her frozen chamber:

Meanwhile, The Scavenger and his men are attacking Atlantis. As the citizens try to defend their city, The Scavenger seems mainly concerned with finding the throne room. Back in Xebel, Aquaman displays an amazing show of strength when fighting the First King:
Unfortunately, like the sharks, it is all for naught: the First King smashes through the wrecked cruise ship with barely a thought. As Mera frees her fellow Xebelians(?), the First King tells what he alleges is the truth to Aquaman: that he is not of royal blood! His ancestors usurped the throne, using the all-powerful trident as the murder weapon.

As The Scavenger claims the Atlantean throne for himself, we see that Aquaman and Mera truly are outnumbered:
...to be continued!

I discussed this issue with my Fire and Water Podcast co-shot The Irredeemable Shag on the newest episode of the show (coming Monday 7/29), and he had what I thought was an interesting theory as to where all this is going: that all of this will lead to Mera to being the true heir to the throne of Atlantis! He believes that we'll learn that she is a descendant of The First King, which means Atlantis will have a queen for the first(?) time in its history.

I'd be perfectly fine with that, as long as it eventually leads to Aquaman and Mera going back to Amnesty Bay and resuming their roles as superheroes. It seems that every single Aquaman writer feels compelled, at one point or another, to involve our hero in the drama of kingly rule. And while I'm enjoying Geoff Johns' version of this old trope, I hope that when its over we're back to the stories that defined the first year or so of the book.

On the art front, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis do a great job. In particular, it seems that Pelletier is getting more confident as he continues on the book. His version of Mera is distinctly his, and the close-ups of her in this issue are some of my favorite moments.

And as I mentioned on The Fire and Water Podcast, the First King is going to make a perfect Build-A-Figure for a (fingers crossed) future Aquaman toy line: buy Aquaman, Mera, Black Manta, Ocean Master, and a Trench and you'll have the requisite parts to put together your own over-sized First King!


Joseph Brian Scott said...

I was kind of hoping the First King would cleverly tie into the Ice Giants that made early appearances in the Phantom Stranger's '60s/'70s series...for no other reason that I dig old school continuity call-backs like that.

I echo your sentiments about getting the Aqua-fam back to traditional superheroing sooner rather than later; Atlantis is a fun place to visit, but I don't want Arthur stuck living there. It's like how almost every single storyline for WW over the past fifteen years has involved her fighting some figure from Greek mythology in some part of Olympus or Olympus-adjacent location. I love Greek mythology, but it's best used as a spice than as a meal.

Shellhead said...

I don't mind the Atlantis stuff, as long as he surfaces now and then to smack down some supervillains.
I really like what he's done with the Scavenger, although he'll have to do a bit more to differentiate him from Manta (both have armor, both use tech to plunder the oceans, etc.).
Now the real test will be if he can do anything with the Fisherman. I did like Busiek's attempt to update him during the replacement days, but it'll take a lot to make the Fisherman formidable. LOL
Who else should be brought off the bench? The Awesome Threesome? I always though Killer Shark should be part of the rogues gallery. Marine Marauder?
Let's face it, the Aqua Rogues don't have much depth. Yeah, I said it!

Russell said...

This was another classic slow-Johns issue. Nothing really happened of consequence....the story barely moved ahead at all. Can you say "trade paperback padding"? Sure you can!

I like the idea that Mera and Atlantis are more closely linked than we thought they were, but I, too, don't want to read continuous royal dramas. Hopefully this will clear up and we'll clear off. Let Orm have Atlantis if he wants it and they want him!

I'm guessing Abe Sapien turns out to be Garth or some other ally (Cal Durham?) in disguise.