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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Aquaman (Vol.8) #36 - Jan. 2015

Comics Weekend "Maelstrom Part 2: Possessed" by Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rain Beredo.

Aquaman breaks Vulko out of jail, because he's a man on a mission: to find out what happened to his mother!

Vulko is as flummoxed at the missing body as Aquaman is, and even though he's been proven to be untrustworthy, he swears he's telling the truth. Since no one in Atlantis can really know, we see that Aquaman has brought in a friend to determine the veracity of Vulko's claims:


J'onn says Vulko is telling the truth. With that piece of info, the investigation move on to the Nautila Theatre, formerly the spot of bloody carnage but converted to a theatre as a gesture of society change. This is where Aquaman's mother died, so using a combination of Manhunter's mental powers and a machine built by Drs. Shin and Evans they are going to recreate the scene, right in front of everyone.

After Vulko explains what happened that night, that he was involved in the plot to spirit Atlanna out of Atlantis, the spiritual flashback begins. It ends with Atlanna being replaced by a decoy corpse, and Aquaman's mother fleeing into the catacombs below. Aquaman insists the investigation continue, so using the touchstone found last issue, Manhunter is flooded with information. Too much information:


Now of out of control, Manhunter attacks Aquaman, with Mera and Tula trying to help. Getting desperate, Aquaman drags Manhunter into a deep pit below Atlantis' floor, where the fires of the Earth are raging. This encounter with his number one weakness wakes Manhunter up, and whatever was possessing him leaves.

Back on Aquaman's ship, they review what they saw, and Manhunter adds some new information:


...of course, to be continued!
As the Shrine has been saying month to month, we've really been enjoying Jeff Parker's run on Aquaman in general. But two months in, "Maelstrom" is shaping up to be something really interesting, both in terms of characterization and action. I loved bringing Martian Manhunter into the mix, as a favor one friend is doing for another. One of the things that I think has marred the New 52 from the beginning is the constant anger and tension between the heroes, so seeing Arthur and J'onn act like pals reminded me of the days of the classic JLA, and that is a welcome addition.

The flashback sequence--done in black and white (nice touch, Rain Beredo)--also reminded me of a 1930s murder mystery, where a Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple recreates the murder to all of the suspects. It was a great visual hook to hang the plot on, topped off with big ol' donnybrook between Aquaman and Manhunter, brought to vivid life by Pelletier and Parsons.

Everyone on the creative team is clicking on this book, and that feeling of confidence is evident on every page of Aquaman. DC could not have known it at the time, but they managed to put together a great creative team to continue and expand the unexpected success New 52 Aquaman has been.


KJ Sampson said...

I'm with you Rob! This Parker run is actually a little BETTER than Geoff Johns'! Each issue I come away impressed by how satisfying a read it was.

Joe Slab said...

Thank You KJ Sampson!

For commenting!

Rob puts so much work into these recaps and its confusing to me why the Shrine faithful seems to be unaccounted for.

The current Maelstrom arc (as discussed recently in Rob's excellent interview with writer Jeff Parker, which at last view had earned ZERO comments)is a great mixture of action, humor & world building and for all of you who regularly bemoan the New 52, I'm not sure what your waiting for but this is about as un-New 52 as we're going to get (as Rob subtly points out in this recap). Parker is mixing Silver Age sensibility with modern story-telling and I am just perplexed at the lack of commenting on any Shrine content that is more current than 1986 :/