Aquaman and The Others have a chat whilst Black Manta reaches his goal.
After last issues well staged fight between Aquaman and Black Manta you can forgive Geoff Johns for slowing down the pace. This issue will work best once this storyline is collected in a trade paperback, however as a stand alone monthly comic it suffers from some significant pacing problems and the usual heavy handed exposition that Johns favours
The opening flashback is probably the most characterisation Aquaman has had in a while. His disregard for the relics of his heritage is a nice touch. Instead of fawning over them he’s using them as bait for Black Manta. If nothing else this issue really does hammer home Aquaman’s utter hatred for Manta, to the point of him acting like a jerk to The Others. It isn’t a new characterisation in the world of stories, but it works wonders for Arthur Curry. It is refreshing to see the character express himself and this issue is the first time in the series that our title hero is the most interesting aspect of the book.
Aquaman’s attitude helps to distract from the sheer amount of exposition Johns puts into his script. The dialogue is yet again clunky and the introduction of the visually interesting Volstok doesn’t improve matters. This issue has illuminated a fatal flaw with The Others. They aren’t as interesting as Johns clearly wants them to be. Visually some of them work, but that is about it.
This issue is also missing Black Manta. Granted he is part of an interesting cliffhanger, but he is mainly absent for most of the book, which is noticeable. It is obvious that Johns is trying to give the character a greater impact by not showing him too often, but he is far too interesting to simply be used in that way.
As always Ivan Reis breathes life into these characters and most of the characterisation comes from his pencils. The arrival of Volstok is a great visual image, but it is the actual Atlantean tomb which is the most striking visual of the book. The final page looks like something out of a grand high fantasy novel and leaves the book on a visual high.
So, the book has a few problems but they can be forgiven due to the actual development of Aquaman’s character. Johns clearly has a plan for our hero and it is nice to see him be the most interesting thing in his own book. This is a calm before the storm, which dumps a lot of information on the readers. This will hopefully allow the narrative to be less hindered by exposition in the coming months.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Aquaman himself and the art.||Talking heads spouting exposition and not much Manta|
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