Aquaman is one of those few DC books that nicely mixes in humour with otherwise dark events, and even just events with a huge scope at that which deeply and personally change the world-view of the characters irreversibly. But at the same time, Aquaman’s story is one about hope and determination. At several times during his run, Johns emphasised this and ran with it as far as he could take it. It proved to be a really good time. And now it looks like the new writer on the team, Jeff Parker, is cut from the same cloth because that’s pretty much what Aquaman #28 was all about.
In his first two issues on the title, Jeff worked to expand the scope of Aquaman’s world, introducing new characters and new monsters. And he did it in pretty good style too. Now in Aquaman #28 he finally makes two worlds collide as Aquaman finally learns of the newest threat to Atlantis, involving another conspiracy against the underwater empire. I really must say that I enjoyed this issue as much as I did the previous two. On the art side, I didn’t like it so much, because Aquaman and some of his supporting cast looked a bit beefed up and they didn’t look like their previous incarnations either. But it was overall still good.
In December Jeff Parker took over writing duties on Aquaman from Geoff Johns. After more than two years of Geoff’s excellent run on the title, which saw the title become one of DC’s best-selling titles in the New 52, we are finally getting a fresh perspective on things and based on #26 and #27 both, I have to say that some really exciting times are ahead for the readers. The previous issue was almost perfect. It met my expectations and it has some great story and art both.
This past week’s #27 proved to be another good installment of the series. It wraps up the plot with the Atlantean mythological sea-monster that was terrorising Reykjavik, Iceland and at the same time it furthers the subplot involving the political tensions in Arthur’s advisory council while also giving us more information on Triton Base, a hidden underwater research base created to investigate future potential threats from the underwater kingdom and Aquaman’s relationship to it, among other things. And the art was also good, although the switch at the end with the pencillers created a bit of a WTF moment.
Geoff Johns wrapped up his Death of a King arc on Aquaman in November in as royal a manner as possible. If Aquaman could have had the same scope as Green Lantern, then Aquaman #25 could have been better still, but regardless, I’m pretty damn happy with how that arc turned out. Geoff ended his run on the series on a high note, left a few subplots open for future development and evened the playing field for incoming writer Jeff Parker. Reading Jeff’s interviews prior to Aquaman #26 coming out, I was pretty damn excited about his run, especially since I’ve enjoyed his Batman ’66 comics of late.
With the new issue, Jeff Parker goes full out from the get go. Following on from a run as successful as Geoff’s, which really put Aquaman on the map as a serious superhero and not someone to scoff at as a second-stringer, Jeff has a lot to live up to. But with his first issue he is firing on full cylinders and I loved it, for sure. And its great that series regular Paul Pelletier is staying on as the artist, to create that nice bit of visual continuity.
After twenty-six months on the relaunched title, Geoff Johns’ run finally comes to an end with this issue. Responsible for reintroducing the character to comics fans everywhere and making him as big a character as he could, Geoff revamped Aquaman and made him into one of DC’s definite heavy-weights. The title has recorded some high sales and the collected editions have even made it to the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Now that is impressive for a character who was largely relegated to suffering fish-jokes, despite always being a mainstream DC hero.
As is appropriate, Geoff closes out his run on the title by closing out his current arc as well, Death of A King. He created some wonderful mythology for the character, giving his backstory an epic scope that I definitely did not expect. Even with this final issue, he goes some places that I didn’t expect and he wowed me. He goes out with a definitive bang and leaves a teaser for his next crossover arc that is coming next year, Rise of The Seven Seas, which will unfold in the pages of Aquaman (under Jeff Parker) and Geoff’s own Justice League. Exciting times!
I keep saying this and I never get tired of it: Geoff Johns’ two years on Aquaman for the New 52 have been nothing short of phenomenal. From the very first issue, he has been turning out a great story and has worked with artists who’ve really gone the lengths to make Aquaman come across as a badass, kickass, and really fun character to read about. It wasn’t until the Throne of Atlantis crossover with Justice League however, that Geoff really began to up the stakes time after time, and he’s been on a really good run since then.
The series has been defined with all these epic arcs, each bigger and more profound than the last. So, in that context, it really is no surprise that he kicked off his latest arc, Death of a King, with a bang and that the last couple issues have been so bloody amazing. When I read #23 last night, it was definitely an experience, and it made me really excited to see how things are going to end up going down in #25 (out November).