REVIEW: Aquaman #16

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He is the master of sea creatures and a member of the Justice League; a hero caught between the surface world and his ocean world of Atlantis. Unfortunately for Aquaman, he is also the butt of many superhero jokes in mainstream media, ranging from Family Guy to Robot Chicken (he needs to be near water for him to be useful, apparently). With the new 52, Geoff Johns had the daunting task of making Aquaman relevant. After a year and a half, he has succeeded so far. Now, this title and Justice League crossover to face off against Aquaman’s half-brother, Ocean Master.

Aquaman_16_cover1AQUAMAN #16
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Colorist: Rod Reis
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Aquaman: Ocean waters have flooded Gotham City, Metropolis, and Boston. With Atlantis war plans created by Aquaman and Ocean Master in motion, the Justice League attempts to rescue people from the floods. After the Atlantians attempt to kill Batman , the Justice League meet up in the Watchtower with Vulko, a former royal adviser to Atlantis. While Cyborg goes to rescue another human targeted for death, Dr. Stephen Lang, Aquaman confronts Ocean Master in Boston. Since he cannot be persuaded, the other members of the Justice League intervene.

INESCAPABLE DEATH TRAPS

Aquaman #16 continues the Throne of Atlantis crossover arc between the Justice League and Aquaman comics. Cyborg is forced to call in reserve superheroes to tackle the Atlantian invasion while he and Mera rescue the other League members from the deep waters of the ocean. Geoff Johns has already established Ocean Master as a viable A-list supervillain. However, the villain makes a common error that has plagued his brethren for years: leaving the superheroes in an almost impossible death trap while he leaves, believing he is victorious. Although this situation is needed to advance the plot and it fits into the story, the antagonist should know that this never works. It’s like watching a 1960’s Batman episode unfold before my eyes. Still, Geoff Johns gets credit for getting the scientific details correct, such as the length of time it takes Cyborg to upload video footage and Batman not surviving the pressure of deep water because he is human. After the ending of Justice League #16, I was afraid that the slew of new characters would hinder the plot progression; however, it was the opposite. The writer balances each character, with some (such as Cyborg and Aquaman) getting more of the spotlight than others.

DIFFERENT ARTIST, SIMILAR STYLES

With Ivan Reis doing the comic art for Justice League during this arc, Paul Pelletier steps in to do pencil work for Aquaman. With a cross-title story arc that has two different artists, it is difficult to keep the consistency of the artwork. Although Paul Pelletier’s work is similar to Ivan Reis, some of the panels are not as polished or detailed. The art work is still very good. Battle scenes are equally intense as in Justice League. I liked the battles between the Justice League reserves and the Atlantian invaders. If Paul Pelletier continues to fill in for Ivan Reis, Aquaman fans will not be disappointed.

BOTTOM LINE: A SOLID NOTHWORTHY ARC

I usually follow Justice League, but in order to follow the Throne of Atlantis, I had to read Aquaman. I was very impressed by how an arc that encompasses Aquaman can be a great read. Geoff John is a master at shocking endings and this issue is no exception. After finishing this arc, I will continue reading Aquaman.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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