Aquaman #29 (Comics Review)

You have to give props to a writer who comes in on a series that has been the poster child of redefinition in a reboot, been a New York Times Bestseller for trades, and then he (or she, as the case may be) ups the stakes again and again. Because that is what Jeff Parker has done on Aquaman since Geoff Johns left with issue #25 and he came on with #26. Sure, Jeff has had an adjustment phase too, but he has continued to deliver on story and character almost as well as Geoff himself did. Commendable. And with #29, he has gone up a few notches, as far as I can tell.

In the previous issues, we’ve seen Jeff explore Atlantean politics and mythology even as the underwater kingdom clashes again and again with the surface world. Now, in the new issue released earlier this week, Jeff goes every bit further and he expands on everything he’s given to us till now, and he makes the new issue one solid issue of story and character. Plus, the art continues to be great, though it has a few negatives scattered here and there. Overall though, I’m loving what Jeff and Co. are doing on Aquaman.

Aquaman 29At the end of the previous issue, we had an epilogue in which an archaeologist (or similar) had somehow gotten hold of Aquaman’s Trident and was using it to open some kind of a door. While the character appears to have good intentions, things don’t seem to be working out, when that final panel happens. And now, we see how all of that plays out, even as an old DC character makes his return for his New 52 debut.

I will admit that when the last issue ended, I thought the archaeologist had found another Trident or something and that he was using that. But as the opening of this issue shows, the Trident was stolen from Aquaman’s Lighthouse in Amnesty Bay while he was out for a high school reunion in the town with Mera. Given the end of the last issue and the opening of this one, I feel like there are a couple panels that went missing in the edits, because now I don’t know if Professor Evans is the same guy as the reporter who was trying to get any and all information about Aquaman in Amnesty Bay. They kind of look similar, but I can’t be sure.

Either way, that’s a small point, because this issue is focused on that old adage: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. That is Professor Evans’ curse here, because instead of unlocking a secret backdoor from the Azores in the Atlantic to Atlantis itself, he unleashes an army of monsters who were locked away in that prison for thousands of years, perhaps he even more. He unleashes the Giant-born. A clear reference to Greek mythology that is solidified given that the monsters refer to themselves as the remnants of the Gigantomachy, one of the great events of Greek mythology.

Taken all together, I love what Jeff is doing here. He continues to expand on Atlantean mythology, giving us new threats, new monsters almost every issue, and he does it with some fantastic style. The release of the Giant-born, and their fight against Aquaman is definitely a highlight of the issue. I did find the monsters’ speech to be a little grating, since it came off as a bit cliched and Saturday morning cartoon villain style, but still, it was fun. There’s a very… Silver Age feel to the issue here, which is just fine because Geoff Johns did something similar with both Aquaman and Green Lantern when he was on the two titles.

Where the art is concerned, Paul Pelletier is back for the pencils, with Sean Parsons as inker, though Norm Rapmund is brought on as guest inker for page 20. And instead of Jeromy Cox on the colours, we have Rain Beredo, with Dezi Sienty retained as the letterer. So there are clearly some changes on the art team, but honestly, the difference is negligible. Jeff lets the art team run wild in this issue since there are so many disgusting and creepy monsters to draw and colour and ink here, so they really have their hands full. Each page of the issue can be called “show-stopping” and with good reason too, because the art is pretty darn good overall.

With this issue, Jeff proves that he is more than a match for Geoff’s past excellent on the title and that he is going to stick around for a good long while. And I can’t wait to read the next issue now, knowing how the big bad villain is for Aquaman in this current arc. Want more immediately, particularly since it looks like there are events happening over in Swamp Thing which have some effects for Aquaman as well. Exciting!

Rating: 9/10

More Aquaman: #0-12, #13-15, #16-21, #22-23, #23.1, #23.2, Annual #1, #25, #26, #27, #28.

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Posted on March 29, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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