What do I know about Aquaman? This can be answered in two parts:
- That he has been notoriously regarded as the joke of super-heroes. I’ve laughed along with my more knowledgeable friends when they’ve made cracks about him, and I’ve made a few myself.
- Precisely dick. Any of the cracks I have made were not through research or experience, rather a parroting approach to poserdom: listening to my friends and the media and constructing my own criticism.
When I was given Aquaman Volume One as an assignment, I cringed a bit. Did my editors WANT my column to be back-to-back snark forever and forever? Why would they do this? Clearly I would hate it.
Wrong. From Reis and Prado’s stunning illustrations, to Johns tight writing style, this was an enjoyable read from start to finish. Being tasked with revamping DC’s whipping boy could not have been easy, but Geoff Johns approaches this with style and just a little bit of self-deprecation.
The characters are all in on the joke, and Aquaman is clearly not happy with it. He proceeds to shake his previous image by kicking ass and taking names, with his best (if not ambiguously intentioned) lady by his side.
The first section deals with Aquaman being called to deal with a ravenous species that appear horrifying on the outside, both in act and appearance, but driven by a need that every species on the earth has: survival. They are on the brink of destruction, ready for one final mission for survival. Unfortunately for them, that mission threatens humankind. Aquaman is spurred into action to protect a species that derides him from a threat that is largely misunderstood and desperate to live. The guilt from his actions haunts him for the rest of the volume.
At his side is Mera, a woman who resents the label of Aquawoman almost as much as she resents the humans with whom she exists side-by-side. After almost being driven to eradicating those that she just cannot bring herself to understand, her humanity is saved by a very simple act of kindness.
The volume concludes with a delicious open ending, promising great things from this very engaging start to a series. I hope to follow up with future volumes within the next few editions of my column, and I hope in some small way, you readers will be driven to pick this one up.
All I am saying is give Arthur a chance.