What They Say:
An entire town…devoured! As Aquaman and Mera discover the grisly truth behind a town’s disappearance, the Trench infestation spreads inland! Plus: another gruesome Trench power revealed–and it’s not for the squeamish!
Aquaman #1 was fantastic not just because it was a great introduction to the character but also because it used in-story commentary to set the record straight about the character. It worked to fantastic effect as Arthur dealt with his critics and decided to retire because it just wasn’t worth it to him. But lurking in the background was a new threat of under-sea monsters called the Trench. Issue #2 moves forward with this plot and avoids parody by not repeating the first issue.
The issue starts off with Arthur and Mera relaxing in the lighthouse looking through old photographs. These scenes work really well as it shows the characters in a common setting and grounds them as real people. They aren’t JUST Aquaman and Aquawoman, they are Arthur and Mera; this creates a genuinely humanizing effect that allows readers to latch onto them in an emotional manner. It also works as a slight fan-service pandering scene for both men and women. Arthur is not wearing his scale armor (the orange shirt, which is addressed in the only bit of myth-busting commentary in the issue) and Mera is shown wearing only a shirt. As a male I appreciate this, Mera looks FANTASTIC! And if the buzz on Twitter is proof of anything, this was equally successful with female readers.
However, their quiet retirement is cut short as a police deputy knocks on their door and requests their help with an attack in Coast City. Thus begins the plot involving the Trench. We aren’t given anything in terms of the overall plot here as this simply serves to show the Trench as a legitimate threat to Arthur and Mera. These creatures appears to be after one thing…food. There is quite brutal couple of pages as the monsters attack and devour some fishermen in a boat. These creatures are ugly, ferocious, and seem to run purely off of Id, which makes them mindless killers in the most extreme sense. Once Arthur and Mera arrive on the dock to investigate, the Trench launch an attack for more food. These last few pages achieve everything I could’ve wanted in not just an Aquaman book but as a cliff hanger in this 20 page serial story. Mera and Arthur begin fighting the Trench and since we saw Arthur being totally bad ass in the first issue, the main focus here is Mera.
Geoff Johns completely understands what is needed to get people to like Aquaman. Readers want to see a character who can hold his own in the league of A-list superheroes, not just a side thought. Readers want to see side characters that can also hold their own, side characters that are just as impressive and thought out as the main character; he achieves both of these goals. Mera kicks some serious ass and is shown to be quite vicious when the need arises. There are some shots of Arthur being awesome to reinforce the first issues statements but it isn’t the focus. Also, right when the intensity of the fight reaches its height, the book stops with the leader of the Trench ‘marking’ Arthur and declaring that he will be brought home to the trench.
This issue is not nearly as meta as the first, but it doesn’t need to be. Johns knows that he must get the plot moving in order to substantiate the claims he made in the first book. This issue works perfectly as a bridge between the introduction and the meat of the plot. The pace is fast, the points poignant, and the artwork is mesmerizingly good. Like the first book, it isn’t a series that “everyone” will like but for those that are willing to give it a shot, they will find a deceptively simple, fun, exciting, and above all else, quality series that is more than worth picking up. My biggest point for urging people to check out the new Aquaman is the characters bad luck in the past. Aquaman typically doesn’t get the trade paperback treatment. If you want older Aquaman series, you need to find all the monthly issues. So if you want to like Aquaman, are curious about all the buzz surrounding this new series…get the monthlies. Don’t bank on a trade showing up and just start enjoying it now!
Readers Rating: [ratings]