Aquaman’s past may have been more troubled than we initially thought. With Black Manta’s return and a slew of people from Arthur’s past, what really happened? Take the jump for a Major Spoilers look at Aquaman #10.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Joe Prado & Andy Lanning
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover: Reis, Prado, & Reis
Editor: Pat McCallum
Publisher: DC Comics
Previously in Aquaman:Many secrets from Aquaman’s past have been resurfacing, such as a group of people with Atlantean artifacts that Arthur used to run around with and the fact that Arthur may have killed Black Manta’s father, thus resulting in their horrible rivalry. Black Manta has also resurfaced, tracking down the people with those artifacts, killing the keeper, and taking the artifact. Now Aquaman and Ya’Wara, one of the artifact keepers, have saved another, the Prisoner, and are fighting Black Manta in a flooding city.
The issue opens on the Operative, another of Arthur’s friends, infiltrating Black Manta’s base. He’s found out and we get a cool action sequence that leads to the discovery that he is very old and his grandson is concerned. Sadly, this was the fastest and best part of the book. The rest of the book is an action sequence interspersed with flashbacks of Arthur and his father or Arthur killing Black Manta’s father. The problem is nothing happens until the very end. Most of the action sequence is just Manta and Aquaman trying to beat on each other and the flashbacks are the deaths of two old men. There isn’t anything particularly bad here, but none of it is all that good either, which is a huge disappointment from the best League book. We end on a downer as Manta snags Ya’Wara’s globe artifact and teleports out, with only a somewhat ominous tone and a hearty “I knew this is what you would do!” Overall, the issue left me wanting more, and not in a good way.
While the story here is lackluster, Reis is able to deliver a gorgeous book. The Operative is a suitably tried and tired old man. Aquaman’s person is full of pure rage. You can even see the doubt and disappointment coming from the Prisoner, a man with less face than the Question. Reis is an incredible artist and does a great job of bringing this issue back up to something enjoyable.
BOTTOM LINE: Wait for it
After a home run earlier this month with Green Lantern, Johns seems to have lost a bit of what he had going with Aquaman #10. While not being a complete flop, this issue feels so much more like a set piece than an actual story of its own. Again, none of it is straight up bad, there should just be more going on than the mere filler we get. Despite a great pedigree, Aquaman #10 barely manages 2 out of 5 stars almost completely on the merits of Reis alone.