Sunday, July 8, 2012

Aquaman #10 - A Review

Geoff Johns is undeniably one of the greatest idea men in comics today. However, in the case of Aquaman #10, one is tempted to say that it might be better if Johns did not try to fit so many ideas into one storyline.

I'm not certain why the multiple plots that seemed to flow together so seamlessly in the previous issues of this series seem to be scatter-shot in this issue. Perhaps it was because, in writing my review of the previous three issues of this series, I had read all the issues together in one sitting. This may be one of those story-lines that reads better in the trades than it does as a monthly book. I certainly hope that's the case, for there is a lot to like in Aquaman right now. Perhaps too much...

By way of a for instance, let us consider The Others - a loose association of superheroes Aquaman was once part of. Apparently they all draw power from or own Atlantean artifacts and were forced into teaming-up due to the machinations of Black Manta. Johns throws out quick little scenes with these new characters - The Prisoner, The Operative, Ya"Wara The Jungle Queen - with little to no explanation of who they are, what their abilities are and what their motivations are past "stop Black Manta". What we see of them is intriguing and leaves me wanting to know more about them... but there's nothing there! As soon as we see these characters in action, we're cutting away to Aquaman fighting Black Manta in the present or Aquaman fighting Black Manta in flashback.

These action scenes, too, are well-written and well-paced, but far too short and broken up by the switching between the multiple points-of-view. And that's ignoring the fourth unifying plot, where Dr. Shin - a new supporting character who has a past with both Aquaman AND Black Manta - explains to an increasingly annoyed Mera (and the reader) about Aquaman's secret past, his association with The Others and how Aquaman and Black Manta are both responsible for killing one another's fathers. I think it might have been best if Johns had devoted one issue to the flashbacks, one issue to the explanation and one issue to the action in the present day after setting things up in Issue #7.

Thankfully, while I may quibble over how this story is laid out, I have no such problems with the artwork. Ivan Reis is as grand as ever and it's good to see him continuing to knock it out of the park every month. The inking team of Andy Lanning and Joe Prado also deserve high praise, as does colorist Rod Reis. Through lighter inks and differing palettes, the art team manages to break up Johns' script visually, using differing levels to depict the flashbacks and the high-action scenes from the more stilted talking-heads moments.

I'd still recommend Aquaman to most readers but I think, given this issue, it might be better to buy the monthly issues and save them up to read in one sitting or just wait for the TP collections.

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