After revitalizing Green Lantern and The Flash, Geoff Johns has taken on Aquaman as his latest pet project. Every character Johns touches at DC turns to gold, instantly becoming a top 10 seller. But this one is a bit different. None of DC’s “Big 7” Justice League members are as derided and disregarded as Aquaman. With his work in Brightest Day and now here, it is Johns’ goal to turn that perception around, and lift Aquaman up to A-list hero. It’s too early to tell if he’ll have the success Green Lantern Hal Jordan received, or if we’ll a see a more mixed Barry Allen Flash degree of fan reception. Nevertheless, this is an extremely solid opening issue that shows that there is more to Aquaman than talking to fish.
The point of this book is essentially to combat the mainstream view of Aquaman. There’s many “need water” and “talks to fish” jokes and one character even asks Aquaman how it feels to be “no one’s favorite super hero.” Through this we find Aquaman to be stoic, kind, and well, heroic. He’s a complex character. His father was a lighthouse keeper, his mother the Queen of Atlantis. He feels more comfortable on land, but as King of Atlantis he is far more accepted in the sea. But even this was not always the case, as he was hunted and nearly killed by Atlanteans as a child. He’s torn between land and sea, but not belonging to either. He is anchored (ha) by his wife Mera, a strong female character that has also recently been revitalized by Johns in Blackest Night and Brightest Day. The two are a great couple and I’m glad Johns decided to keep them together, even while other super hero marriages have been done away with by the relaunch. I look forward to seeing more of Aquaman’s supporting cast down the line.
The art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado is as good as it’s always been. Reis, who is a frequent Johns collaborator, has become one of DC’s top artists. He has a style that is perfect for super hero comics, very strong and kinetic. I have heard some call him our generation’s George Perez, a bold claim, but one that I can agree with. I really like Reis’ presentation of water in this book. There’s a realistic fluidity that is extremely important in a book about AQUAman. I expect great things from an artist of this calibre, and this first issue doesn’t disappoint.
Geoff Johns is the writer that hooked me on comics. I’ve always wanted to read Aquaman stories, and now I’m finally getting my chance. I’m excited to get in on the ground floor of Johns’ next epic character revitalization.