Aquaman #1-4 [Kamak's Corner]

By Contributing Writer Brian Kamak

Aquaman # 1-4 (DC): Wow, I’m speechless… [Editor’s Note: This is a first.] but, I can still type. This isn’t the Aquaman that we grew to mock in the Super Friends cartoons, he doesn’t just swim fast and talk to fish, this guy doesn’t need to be in the Justice League posse, and he certainly ain’t your grand pappy’s Arthur Curry. Sure, he still dons silly scale-armor, but that doesn’t even matter, he’s got the Trident of Neptune to mince the baddies into sushi. [Editor’s Note: Is this the one where he’s a Black Lantern? Let's see... One Year Later... Blackest Night… New 52… Oh, no, wait, is this the one with Black Manta? Black Lightning? Black Panther? I get confused…] 

If you’re thinking to yourself that this is ridiculous, you're not alone. Writer Geoff Johns [Editor’s Note: It’s funny how when you’re the Chief Creative Officer or Co-Publisher (Dan DiDio! Phantom Stranger! Blarff!) they let you write books that probably shouldn’t be ongoing series.] does an amazing job of strategically mocking Aquaman through the use of many self-effacing lines that seem to play a game with the audience. As a matter of fact, he beats the reader to every punch, leaving you speechless, stealing your way-too-easy punch line. It’s so flawless, that while dining on fish n’ chips in a diner, a random citizen confronts Aquaman, asking him if he’s a cannibal. Genius. [Editor’s Note: If he’s a cannibal, wouldn’t he be eating other Atlanteans? Dur.]

The story revolves around the trench monsters that have cocooned the small seaside community’s inhabitants and brought them back to the ocean’s depths for a supply of food. Johns brilliantly connects us sympathetically to the “monsters” by showing us that they’re not evil; they’re just trying to feed, following instinct to survive. This is especially climactic when a youngling starves to death, burning out its last drop of life in a last ditch effort to get a nibble off of Aqauman. This is the dilemma Arthur and Mera (who’s really more of a co-star who should have equal billing) ultimately face, they may have to wipe out a dying species. 

Anybody who’s read my reviews on comic book art knows that it takes a lot to impress me, and Ivan Reis and Joe Prado on inks deliver, and they deliver big. I wish there is one frame in particular that I could highlight within this arc, unfortunately they’re all flawless. [Editor’s Note: “Brilliant.” “Flawless.” Big words, Kamak, big words!] The larger frames and two-page spreads are placed perfectly throughout the book and don’t lack detail, which can often get overlooked. The smaller panels are no exception. I was astounded by the detail they brought to the trench monsters, especially the eerie reflectiveness in their fishlike eyes. [Editor’s Note: Shout out to the colorist...?]

"The Trench" arc, as a collected edition, [Editor’s Note: Which actually collects the first 6 issues.] is available in hardcover and softcover formats, and the art is especially stunning in the oversized hardcover. [Editor’s Note: It’s funny how when you’re the CCO, you get oversized hardcovers made when there are so many other far more deserving… oh, never mind…] I wish I’d discovered this book earlier, it has quickly climbed to the top of my A-list. [Editor’s Note: I’d hate to see what’s on the bottom of the list.] In spite of what my wife tells me, I’m a hopeless romantic [Editor’s Note: She’s right about at least half of that.] and this title strikes a chord. Tip of the hat to you, DC. Kudos and thank you. Grade A+.



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