REVIEW: Aquaman #3

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Now that we’re a few issues into each of DC Comics’ New 52 titles, KevinMLD and I thought it was a good time to focus on some of the books we’re both following beyond Jim Lee and Geoff Johns’ Justice League. I read the first issues of a number of books in the spirit of trying something new (as I’m not an avid DC reader) and Kevin went out and read most of them (he’s a DC die-hard). First on our list is Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Aquaman. We spent a lot of time talking about Johns’ handling of Aquaman during Brightest Day and in the most recent issue of Justice League. We’ve also discussed issues one and two this new series briefly in the context of DC’s full publishing line, but haven’t spent any dedicated time discussing this title. I’m still quite surprised that I’m following it and issue 3 was poised to be a make-or-break issue. I think it’s safe to say this one is staying on our pull lists.

In what we’re calling “No 52” Week, as DC is taking a break from their relaunched ongoing titles for November’s fifth Wednesday, spoilers for Aquaman will follow.

PTB: This is really the first issue where I noticed the logo for this book. I like it and it works particularly well with the other branding elements and cover image. Not sure I needed to read “Cannibals of the Deep” though.

KevinMLD: I like the “A” in the background, but the font looks kind of dated to me. I’m not in love with it, but I certainly don’t hate it either.

PTB: Flashbacks have been used really well in this series and as a reintroduction to a classic character, it’s a home run.

KevinMLD: Reintroduction? I said it a lot during Brightest Day. No one has ever read any Aquaman comics ever ever ever. This is the introduction of his origin to most readers.

PTB: That is certainly reflected in Johns’ depiction of the way the DC Universe’s citizens perceive Aquaman. The close-mindedness of the surface dwellers regarding Aquaman, these strange creatures and all things under the sea has also been used to great effect throughout this series.

KevinMLD: I actually think this issue with the authorities was the best use of surface dweller bias to date because it was played fairly straight. Previously it was used too much for comic relief. That was getting old in my opinion, but the way Johns twists that bias in this issue is pretty refreshing.

PTB: I’m assuming this Mr. Shin is a new part of Aqualore which you’ve mentioned no one knows anything about anyway. When they first arrived, I really thought they were at Black Manta’s home we saw in Brightest Day.

KevinMLD: I had the same thought about Black Manta. But yeah, who would even be able to tell either way?

PTB: Shin’s identification of the creature was fun, but I would have thought Aquaman or Mera might have been able to draw the same conclusions.

KevinMLD: I thought the same thing.

PTB: We may be guilty of our own surface dweller bias there.

Johns is putting together a great mystery with the limited dialog of the trench creatures and their talk of “her” and “home.” Given the mention of Aquaman’s mother in the opening flashback I’m fearing that could be the “her” they mention.

KevinMLD: Yeah Johns has somehow made the adversary compelling despite such a limited ability to communicate. I’m also struck by the constant presence of Mera in this series. She’s almost like a sidekick. I had never thought of her being an active hero until Blackest Night and I didn’t expect DC to keep her so visible for so long.

PTB: We get the start of another mystery in this issue from Mr. Shin. Who’s coming for the trident?

KevinMLD: Me. I’ve always wanted one.

PTB: Ivan Reis as the artist on this series is a huge benefit and he and Johns clearly work well together.

KevinMLD: I really love the art throughout. Reis really nails both Aquaman and Mera. He also really does a nice job of making it look like Aquaman is swimming and not just flying underwater.

PTB: The look he’s created for the trench creatures is also incredible. It’s a big part of what has kept me buying this series.

Read more about Aquaman and DC Comics’ “New 52″ on MyLatestDistraction.

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