aquamann 15 coverAQUAMAN 15

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

Stop. Go read JUSTICE LEAGUE 15 or at least my review of it. Because while you can read the books independent of one another – you’ll get the steak, but completely miss the sizzle. This chapter of Throne of Atlantis chronicles the moments after disaster, when heroes shine and villains opportunely strike.

I haven’t been able to get enough of AQUAMAN since the New 52 started, and this comes from a man whose only  prior exposure was Superfriends and Underoos. Johns successfully used self-deprecation to hold a mirror up to readers’ chides against the book, then threw in a love story and a life straddled between two worlds to make this Atlantean one of the most human characters in DC.

Now, Aquaman leaves his cocoon of success to collide with one of the divisive titles despite being the keystone of the New 52. I already went through the past issues with JUSTICE LEAGUE in my issue 15 review, but after writing that review then reading AQUAMAN I had another epiphany. JUSTICE LEAGUE needed the focus of a Thrones of Atlantis type story to slow the hell down and focus on one character instead of trying to be all things to every character. The shallowness lied in the fact we never spent enough solitary time with each member. We needed to see heroes reach out for a helping hand from their…well…super friends. The best moments of JUSTICE LEAGUE has been the romance between Superman and Wonder Woman and now AQUAMAN’S turmoil, to me that seems like a pretty good amount of proof to keep with this cadence.

This issue was all about  the one-liners. And I don’t mean that in a jokey sense. Where JUSTICE LEAGUE was the Michael Bay (but good) destruction of the Eastern seaboard, this issue focuses on the needed exposition for anyone who hasn’t read JUSTICE LEAGUE yet and a turning of the tables to keep us guessing until next month. By far the best moments were between AQUAMAN and BATMAN as Arthur lays out the rationale for the Atlantian attack and spells out their next move. When he rescued Harvey Bullock I almost bust a gut when Bullock had the audacity to make a fish joke. I was equally moved the other direction when Batman sternly disapproved of AQUAMAN’S revelation that he knows the next attack because he drew up the battle plans. Arthur comes face-to-face with his half-brother, the Mackerel of Genocide, Orm, and pulls a very surprising move when the League tries to help him with the apprehension. Orm also offered a compelling case for the attacks with a zinger on the drowning of Boston that exemplifies a good villain – he actually garners empathy for his cause.

I know right now, some are going to decry the use of water to reshape the world a card that Johns has already played. I don’t care though, there were many concepts in FLASHPOINT I liked, and the razing of the land by the sea was one of them. This is the crossover that DC truly needed a year into the New 52 experiment. I finally feel a gelling of tonality between books that I only expect to deepen…until FLASHPOINT 2 ELECTRIC BOOGALOO when Wally comes back and boots Barry’s ass back to 1962…I’m sorry that was my out loud voice…Read AQUAMAN…he’s even more stupendous now that he has two books focused on him..