With so much awesome stuff coming out all the time, sometimes it takes a while to catch up. Maybe you’re reading a big event awhile after it ended. Maybe you just caught a movie everyone was talking about a few months ago. So what? It’s Better Late Than Never.
Aquaman: The Trench (Aquaman #1-6)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Eber Ferreira & Rod Reis
Published by DC Comics
Aquaman holds a strange place in the pantheon of superheroes. He’s got the name recognition that lesser characters would kill for, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. Superman, Batman and Spider-Man are all seen by the general public as true icons of a heroic nature. Aquaman, on the other fin, is seen as laughable, a punchline for many “lamest superhero” gags and fish jokes. Even some comic readers feel this way about him, despite great stories by the likes of Peter David and Grant Morrison. DC was looking to rectify that when they resurrected the character following Blackest Night, and their line-wide relaunch of the New 52 seemed like the perfect place to do it. Enter the superstar creative team of Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis, who seemed determined to make sure everyone knew just how awesome Aquaman could be.
They mostly succeeded. From his first appearance halting a back robbery it’s obvious he means business.
That’s before he says a single word. The other interesting thing about their take on the character is how the rest of the world views him. Johns, no doubt expecting lots of “he just talks to fish” comments, wholeheartedly embraces them, having most of the surface world of the DCU see Aquaman as joke who make those remarks before others can. Thus Arthur is able to confront the dilemma head on. That’s not all he confronts, though. The first four issues deal with him battling the savage creatures known as the Trench, who seem to exist only to eat and mate. Following that are two done-in-ones, the first seeing Arthur stranded in the desert on the verge of death and the second focusing on his wife Mera. All throughout the issues we’re given glimpses of Arthur’s new New 52 origins, with several pieces of the puzzle still unknown. These are solid, if unspectacular, comics. While I’ve never been a huge fan of Aquaman, I’ve never been a hater either, so I’m more sympathetic to his being demeaned than others might be. I already knew the guy could be awesome because I’ve read several stories where he did some badass stuff. While Johns’s writing is serviceable, the highlight is the artwork. Reis, Prado & Reis are one of the great modern art teams, and it’s always a pleasure to see their work. Aquaman: The Trench rates 4 out of 5 cans of dog food.