Saturday, August 02, 2014

Aquaman (Vol.8) Annual #2 - 2014

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Comics Weekend "Born of Giants" by Jeff Parker, Yvel Guichet, Jason Gorder, Wayne Faucher, and Nathan Eyring.

Another annual so soon? It feels like it's been less than a year since the last one (and that's because it has), but who cares when you've got Aquaman teaming up with Wonder Woman, Mera teaming up with Wonder Woman, plus a horde of Harryhausen-esque mythological creatures?

After a boffo recap of Aquaman's previous tangle with these creatures from Hell, we now find the Sea King and Wonder Woman in a bad place:
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How the Hera did our heroes end up in such a predicament? For that we have to go back a couple hours, with the beasties from Aquaman #s 29 and 30 having taken up residence in a castle in France, grabbing people off the streets and literally sucking the life out of them. Secretly on their trail are Aquaman and Wonder Woman, in their civilian guises:
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A oh-so-helpful stranger offers to assist them find who they're looking for, but it doesn't take Wonder Woman any time at all to sniff out trouble. The head monster, the snake-like Celeana, is so confident in their ruse to lure strangers to their death, that she doesn't even realize who she's dealing with: the King of the Seven Seas and the Amazing Amazon!
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Aquaman tries to convince Wonder Woman not to just slaughter these creatures, but it's difficult when your foes are so numerous and so savage. The battle spills out of the castle and into the public.

Celeana uses her powers to warp the minds of both heroes, so they suffer delusions as to where they are. Aquaman and Wonder Woman start fighting each other, giving another one of the monsters time to cover them in an icky goo, turning them to stone! Back in the present, it looks bad for the two Justice Leaguers, until the guy that started all this, Dr. Evans, shows up, wielding a magic talisman. He confronts Celeana, which allows the spell controlling Aquaman and Wonder Woman to wear off:
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Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Dr. Evans take care of the rest of the monsters, with the latter vowing to try and make up for the havoc he wreaked on the Earth by carelessly opening that hellish portal. Wonder Woman receives a message from Superman, and the two heroes split up, heading for separate adventures.

A few days later, Wonder Woman is on the Aegean Sea, back on the trail of some of the creatures who got away. But, again, she's not going it alone:
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Waiting for them on a remote island is a nest of horrible creatures who, without the aid of any sort of magic, have been doing it Old School: grabbing tourists right off the boats and killing them. For a moment, Wonder Woman tries to talk with the head monster, asking if there wasn't another way they could survive, minus all the murdering and eating. The deal is rejected, so Wonder Woman and Mera go to work.

After a short battle, Mera opens a tunnel in the water to a still-active volcano. Wonder Woman dives into it, causing it to erupt. Mera uses her powers to create a whirlpool, dumping all the monsters into the fiery pit:
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...The End!

As I have stated before, I have been enjoying Jeff Parker's Ray Harryhausen-esque take on Aquaman. It feels like a natural fit, and while Black Manta and Ocean Master are great bad guys, it's nice to be able to tell a different kind of story involving the Sea King. Yvel Guichet has shown an ability to handle fantasy characters and settings well, and he continues that work here. All you really needed to get the full effect was a "Produced by Charles H. Schneer" credit at the front, and some Bernard Herrmann music playing as you read it.

I also liked the bifurcated-yet-connected stories, allowing us two distinct team-ups. Outside of Blackest Night, Mera really hasn't had much chance to interact with the rest of the DCU in her fifty year(!) history, so I'm always up for a little Mera: Brave and the Bold action.


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