Aquaman: Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Andy Lanning, Rod Reis, Nick J. Napolitano
This is another one of those #12 issues where it all gets super srs bzns. Black Manta has found the Dead King’s relic, supposedly more powerful than Aquaman’s
powerless trident. He means to finally kill Aquaman and the group known as the Others. And, apparently, he has the power to do it now. Hence srs bzns.
Also sharing in the seriousness is Mera, who gets a call from the Others up in their floaty plane and finds out that Aquaman went off on his own to fight Manta (I still laugh at the fact that she or Arthur has a cell phone. Maybe it’s Shin’s?). Poor The Others, they never get to have all the high-seas fun! It is actually kind of sad when Prisoner is saying how Arthur doesn’t care about them and everything. He makes a valid point, and I’m interested to see where that whole thing goes.
Cut to Black Manta and Dr. Shin basking in the glory of the scepter of the Dead King, the tool that sank Atlantis. Finally, we have our cause. Sort of. We still don’t know how that went down, but there’s at least the means. Anyone else notice what those statues look like, all huddled around the scepter’s resting place? Yeah, the creatures from the Trench. Cool, huh? I wonder how they’re tied to the Dead King and the destruction of Atlantis.
Aquaman reveals himself and attacks Black Manta’s men. Manta shows us the power of the scepter…and I suddenly don’t think it’s something Manta will be able to control. Likely it will consume him or overwhelm his mind or some craziness. Or just blow up in his face. That’d be funny.
Just as Black Manta tries to kill Aquaman, The Others and Mera arrive to save the day. One of the Others throws themselves between Arthur and Manta’s scepter, giving us a pretty emotional scene, actually. But not before Aquaman admits to his wife that he’s not the man she thinks he is. She may know a little about the Others, but I guess Arthur doesn’t think to highly of himself if he thinks he needs to hide bits of his past from Mera. This is kind of sad, because of how close and open he and Mera used to be…but maybe this is one of those trials they go through that brings them that much closer. Yay!
Let’s talk about the art. Yes, I have to every time. Mera’s dive into, and subsequent leap out of, the sea. Arthur taking bullets to bare skin like a boss. Manta and his glowy death stick, just about every single one of those panels. THOSE SPLASH PAGES. Mera’s water constructs. Manta disappearing into the darkness, “One-by-one, Aquaman.” All of these amazing visuals come courtesy of the Reis’s and Prado. It’s spectacular, the level of expertise in this book. Every single issue is crisp and clear, and full of stuff I’ve never seen before in comics. It’s truly beautiful. Everyone’s work is perfect. Ivan’s pencils, inks by Joe and Oclair and Andy, and Rod’s colors. I just can’t.
Aquaman #12, the verdict: It’s kind of not fair. We, the people, are subjected to this monstrosity, this pinnacle of godly achievement, every month. How are we to grow as a civilization when all we are able to see is this pillar of strength, this monument of carefully sculpted marble, standing above us all? How is it that they can expect us lesser folk to rise up to anything what comes close to everything these select few have built? It’s almost mocking, what they do. A way to showcase their immense talent while, at the same time, revealing to us our inferiority. What cruel masters. What horribly perfect examples by which to live. Curses, Aquaman creative team!
(Photo Source: iFanBoy)