Aquaman’s embassy was blown up last issue as Black Manta struck him where it meant the most. Can Aquaman recover and more importantly, is it good?
Aquaman #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC synopsis reads:
“THE DROWNING,” Chapter Three: In issue #3, Aquaman’s mission of peace is dealt a devastating blow when Atlantean terrorists attack the surface world in retribution for Black Manta’s deadly assault on their embassy.
Why does this book matter?
Dan Abnett has established an interesting angle for the character as he attempts to bring peace between Atlantis and the U.S.A. It’s not helping that Gotham was flooded recently by Atlantis, but dammit he’s trying!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Abnett reminds us Atlanteans and Americans still don’t trust each other in the first few pages. This reestablishes how much work Aquaman has to do. We’re also given a reminder how much love and faith Aquaman and Mera have for each other as there’s a shocking turn of events between Aquaman and the White House. The situation certainly is surprising and we’re left with a cliffhanger that could go in any direction.
The best element in this issue however is the development of Black Manta. He’s thoroughly introduced to the villains who broke him out of U.S. custody in the last issue and the dynamic between Manta and a woman calling herself Black Jack is interesting. Abnett put Black Manta in a bad place last issue as he came to the realization he’ll never feel at peace with his father’s death, so it’s interesting to see how this character acts from here. Based on his actions, Abnett reminds us he’s one badass villain that is for sure.
Tensions are rising
The artwork by Philippe Briones is exceptional, especially in these Black Manta scenes. The details are quite nice and the choreography of the fight easy to follow and interesting. The opening pages where the US soldiers and Atlanteans nearly come to blows is well rendered too and you get a good sense of the tension in the characters. Briones does a fantastic job with Mera too whose facial expressions are downright gorgeous.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Characters are acting a bit erratic in this issue; I’m not totally sold on Aquaman simply walking up to the White House for example, because shouldn’t he know better? You’d think his being on the Justice League would allow him to understand how politicians work. How they act once another terrorist attack occurs is also befuddling (not to mention what they did due to the last one in the last issue). Clearly, he’s on the Justice League (they even make mention of it in the scene), yet they act like he’s some kind of supervillain. It’s perplexing. Aquaman’s choice to give in at the end – I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers – also seems a tad strange. It makes sense, but the way it plays out seems off.
Nice boots freak!
Is It Good?
Black Manta steals the show in this issue as his new direction is compelling. The art overall is spot on and great at delivering the emotional tether needed for the scenes to work.