Aquaman: Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis, Nick J. Napolitano
I really can’t stress that enough. This Zero Issue is fantastic. It’s everything I wanted it to be. It’s everything anyone could have wanted it to be. It’s just plain perfect. It’s story is perfectly told, it’s perfectly paced, it’s perfectly drawn and colored. Everything about is top-of-the-line comic making. Let’s begin.
As Thomas Curry dies, he tells Arthur to deliver a message to his love, Arthur’s mother. Thomas’s death devastates Arthur - as he really has no one left except for the mysteries of Atlantis. This then takes us to a scene from a previous issue where he tells off the reporters hounding his lighthouse home and dives off a cliff, stating that he’s not part of the human world.
Well, this issue helps to explain some of the time gap that we witnessed in that previous issue, where he then leaped out of the water, trident in hand. He did go searching for Atlantis…of course, coming up with nothing. This is great, I do like that he can’t find it right away, it’s realistic. No way he’s going to find it on his first attempt.
What he does find, though, is a massive shark. He punches the shark and learns to use his telepathy to his advantage…though the circles we see coming off of him appear all over the panels and in no real cohesive pattern or direction. It makes me think that this is a reactionary response and not something he trained for. Again, I like that. Arthur then saves a boat from crashing and learns from the grateful captain of a man on the coast of Norway who once claimed to be of Atlantis. His name? Vulko. VULKO? VULKO!!
Arthur goes to find him, and - sure enough - it’s him! It even looks like him! That’s testament to the incredible Ivan Reis for capturing the very recognizable look of the old Atlantean advisor, even if he is drawn younger. Vulko reveals much of Arthur’s lineage, including…a half-brother. ORM. HOLY. FREAKING. GOD. Orm is once again in continuity! You may know him better as OCEAN MASTER! One of Arthur’s greatest adversaries. Well, at least more persistent.
Finally, Vulko agrees to take Arthur to Atlantis…and we see Arthur suddenly get an overwhelming feeling of joy as he approaches, as if he knows it’s coming. He talks about never feeling like he belonged, and I might - just might - have teared up a bit when I finally saw ATLANTIS!! God, it’s so awesome.
Ivan’s art, and the rest of the team - Joe, Rod, and Nick - have done an incredible job with this issue…as they do with every issue (seriously, this isn’t even in question anymore). Just look at the pages in the storms - first the one where Arthur saves the boat, and then where Atlanna meets Thomas Curry - they’re gorgeous. All that water, and they’re able to capture it, its motion and movement, its look…so perfectly. PERFECT, I SAY.
Aquaman #0, the verdict: I honestly cannot say it enough. This was just glorious comic book writing. The art is beautiful and stunning. This issue not only answered many questions, but also introduced characters well-known in the Aquaman mythos. It might just be the most satisfying of the Zero Issues so far. It’s definitely a contender for BEST Zero Issue. And I know a thing or two about Aquaman Zero Issues…this is the second one I own that DC’s put out! Can’t wait to see more of Atlantis, and Ocean Master!
(Photo Source: DC Comics)