Graphic Novel Reviews: Aquaman 001-007

If DC superheroes were on my backlist of characters I cared about, for many years, then Aquaman never appeared on the list at all. And apparently the same is true for many people, considering the many, many jokes about him. And it’s clear that writer Geoff Johns is aware of this, as most of the first issue, and beyond, is very self conscious of the fact that most people think of Aquaman as a joke. Johns responds to this by focusing on the fact that Aquaman is in fact still a super hero, and very much a badass.

Does he succeed? Well, I never cared about Aquaman before, but after reading the first seven issues I am very much hooked. Justice League helped cement Aquaman as a badass, but it was his own book that convinced me it was very possible to have interesting stories involving the super hero that most thought powerless out of the water.

I am reminded of the family guy skit making fun of Aquaman’s powerlessness out of the water. John’s Aquaman would take no guff like that. He’s too busy flipping trucks over his head with his trident. Yeah, even a regular person who isn’t able to survive deep sea pressures could stop a rapist if he had a multi-pronged spear.

The first few issue focus around a species of deep sea creatures coming up and kidnapping humans to feed to their queen. Aquaman and his wife go where pretty much no other super heroes could, and rescue the people, as well as sealing the cannibal creatures inside their trench home.

The rest of the books up to issue seven focus around the mystery of how Atlantis sank. There’s some great mythology here, that goes much deeper than the casual reader of super hero comics realize. Not much has been revealed, but future issues promise to be interesting.

Johns’ writing is great. He takes the idea that nobody likes Aquaman, and uses that as a springboard for his character. Aquaman is very much a king, while he does not desire to be so, he still has a very kingly demeanor. He does what is necessary, and accepts hardships with a stoic grace. He knows exactly what he is capable of, and sees no need to prove himself to anyone.

While I wouldn’t count this as one of my favorite new series, it’s definitely lived up to the hype. This marks the last of the series I’ve been following. I might pick up a few more as time goes on, since an issue a month really doesn’t go all that far. Maybe I’ll read the eight issues of Mister Terrific, I’ve heard Karren Starr is a supporting character in that series, maybe it’ll give me an idea of what the heck happened to Power Girl. Hey, DC, here’s a tip, cancel Batman: The Dark Knight and start Power Girl up again! With Amanda Conner doing the art!

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