Welcome back to FB5! Last time Matt broke away from the usual "flashback" part of FB5 to bring you a review of The Flash no. 1 from the nu 52 line-up. Now we're going to dive right in to part 2 with a look at Aquaman no. 1!
You know, while I never considered Aquaman to be the coolest of superheroes, I never thought he was this ultimate example lame that everybody seems to really get off on making him out to be. Nor did he really need a lot things to compensate for that in order to make him more "bad ass". Honestly, I prefer him to a jerk like Namor and when Aquaman dropped a whale on the head of "Imprerius Rex", I laughed out loud. If Aquaman had been in his classic costume when it happened, it would have been a perfect moment. Anyway, let's dive into 5 things I liked about Aquaman no.1!
1. The opening sequence.
Aquaman flipping a truck with crooks making a get-away over his head using his trident is an idea for an action moment so simple yet so cool I really have to wonder why nobody else on an Aquaman book ever attempted it.
2. Ivan Reis. You know, I think Reis might be a better fit for Aquaman than Green Lantern. Something about Reis's style just really brings out the character and his costume. Speaking of his costume out all the pop-collar brigade I think Aquaman is the only hero it really even works for.
Perhaps because aside from the pop-collar no other elements of his look have been screwed with. Just continuing the gold scales up to his neck actually kind of works.
3. The restaurant scene.
I usually do not enjoy a lot of aggressive "meta" going on in comics. One of the many reasons that doesn't appeal to me at all is because it leads to characters in the story world reacting to the fantastic things they encounter like fans sitting around talking on a message board about comics instead of people who are living these events. However, in the instance of this issue I can forgive it because I actually found myself enjoying how it directly tackles all the various pre-conceived notions about Aquaman and lets the character himself answer them. I even liked the biology babble explanation of how the whole "talking to fish" thing actually works. (Hint: Fish can't talk.)
4. The good Geoff Johns is in attendance. The bad Geoff Johns isn't...yet. I'm not a fan of Johns and the reason why is that I've often felt there are two Geoff Johns. One who is a sincere DC superhero fan that has a lot of genuine love for those characters. Then there's this other Geoff Johns who seems like a 14 year-old hyperactive horror movie fan that has decided he wants everything to be blood and gore like a Hellraiser movie regardless of genre or context. Sometimes you get one or the other, or you get both even within the span of a single issue. This time out though, it seems like the good Geoff sent bad Geoff to go get coffee while he wrote the script for the issue. My only quibble is Aquaman having angst about being king and not wanting to go back to Atlantis but I have to wonder if that has something to do with events that will be revealed later on that would have it make a bit more sense.
The issue ends with a shot of an evil humanoid shark creature emerging out of the water and the more skeptical part of me has the sneaking feel that issue 2 is where bad Geoff will show up and the opening page will be an on-camera spread of the creature gnawing on entrails or something.
5. Cover logo.
Okay, it's just a logo. But We were talking in the comments to another article about how bland a lot of the new 52 logos looked, but I thought this was one of the better ones. Not as good as Aquaman's classic title logo I like that this still has his A symbol and it's not just letters floating sideways looking like they are being sucked up by the top right hand corner of the book.
I think the thing that really strikes me about both of this and The Flash no.1 is that neither of them are making apologies for the character and I can't help but feel so many other books in the 52 line-up basically are on one level or another. Both of these books without gratuity or gimmicks are doing their best to showcase why these characters are cool, making them look good in process with some really appealing superhero artwork. I really wish more of this relaunch was akin to these two issues.