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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Aquaman (Vol.8) #37 - Feb. 2015

Comics Weekend "Maelstrom Part 3: The Cunning of Queens" by Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rain Beredo.

Aquaman follows the trail of his mother, who escaped Atlantis and the threat of assassination so many years ago. Surprisingly, the path leads them to...Gorilla City?!?


Aquaman speaks to the leader of Gorilla City, Solivar, who invites our heroes to a feast. While breaking bad, he explains that the leader of Gorilla City at the time of Atlanna's arrival was...Grodd. Grodd practiced the age-old habit of consuming the brains of a defeated enemy (ew) to absorb the knowledge and essence of others. When Solivar took over, he banished the practice, leading to an age of calm and peace between the gorillas and humans.

Aquaman asks why Grodd, due to all his crimes, has not been executed. Solivar explains that Grodd does serve a purpose, since all the residents of Gorilla City share one overarching consciousness: he is the repository for all the nasty, evil impulses Gorilla City has, thereby allowing everyone to be more peaceful. Despite all this, Aquaman requests an audience with the fearsome beast, to see what he knows:


Grodd is willing to talk, but under one condition: knowing he will never be set free, he requests a challenge, simply to alleviate the boredom. That means squaring off against Aquaman, which the Sea King agrees to (over the protests of Mera and Solivar).

The fight spills out of Grodd's prison cell, and while the giant gorilla is fearsome, Aquaman will not be defeated:


Grodd is true to his word and explains what happened the night Atlanna arrived. He also explains how an older sect of Atlanteans shared their technology with the gorillas, so they could evolve just enough to become a servant class. This led to a war, with the gorilla fleeing deep into the forest and forming their own hidden society: Gorilla City.

Once the story is told, Grodd's true purpose is revealed: grabbing Aquaman's scepter, he uses it to open the dimensional portal and attempt to escape. The Sea King follows, even though, as Mera says, it means he will not be able to return:


...of course, to be continued!

Introducing Gorilla Grodd into this story is an abrupt right turn, but a really fun one. I've always been a fan of Aquaman being more a part of the traditional DCU, having him mix it up with villains other than Black Manta, Ocean Master, etc. I do feel like we've seen the whole "You'll never escape the dimensional portal!" thing a bit much, since Aquaman faced a similar challenge with Hercules just a few issues ago.

As always, Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons do a great job on the art, making Grodd physically imposing compared to the (relatively) puny Aquaman. They continue to add little bits of physical characterization to Mera, which says a lot about her without her having to utter a single word. If Mera was/is ever given a solo series, ongoing or mini, I'd love to see them tackle the art, even if that meant taking a sabbatical from Aquaman.

So, so far Aquaman has taken on Black Manta and Gorilla Grodd. Who is next from the Legion of Doom? My money's on Brainiac!


Russell said...

I read this the other day and when Aquaman tells Grodd something akin to "I won't hit you as many times as the Flash, but I hit harder" I let out a little YES!

Great issue!

PS it's getting harder and harder to prove I'm not a robot. These verification words are getting harder and harder to read!!

Darrin said...

This is my favorite issue of the Maelstrom storyline so far. It made me more interested in Gorilla City than I've ever been. Some of the back story made me think of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.