An action packed series has just gotten a lot more packed as Superman enters the fray, but is it good?
Aquaman #6 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC summary reads:
“THE DROWNING” conclusion! As this first epic concludes, Aquaman and Mera are on the run for a crime they didn’t commit. They’ve fought through every kind of firepower the U.S. military has thrown. Now all that’s left between them and Atlantis is the Man of Steel…
Why does this book matter?
Dan Abnett has created an Aquaman that feels unique from the rest of the characters now that he’s attempting to foster an embassy making relations between surface dwellers and Atlanteans a possibility. Abnett then blew that up and made the U.S. government go to war with Aquaman and Mera directly. With tanks flying and soldiers firing, how could you not want to see how this tale ends?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
How can you not see this floating guy as threatening?
You might see the cover and sigh thinking we’re in for another hero vs. hero fight where they become friends at the end, but you’d be wrong. Abnett craftily makes both sides right as far as their perspective, and it’s aided in how Superman tries to reason the whole way through. You get the sense that he’s holding back due to his focus on talking, but Aquaman and Mera aren’t having any of it. They aren’t killing each other, but in a lot of ways having it out like brothers and that makes the purpose of the fight feel meaningful.
The action is allowed to breathe due to some well-placed cutaways to the U.S. war room (and a nice prop given to Mera in one) which helps convey the seriousness of the battle, but also serves to not let us forget why Superman and Aquaman are fighting at all. This all leads to a Black Manta scene that delivers a knockout twist. Not allowing the bad guys to close us out, Abnett ends with a satisfying bit of dialogue from Aquaman that connects the bigger problem to the threat of Superman which reminds us the fight in this issue was worth it.
The art by Brad Walker (with inks by Andrew Hennessy and colors by Gabe Eltaeb) has a detailed event level look that gives the Superman/Aquaman confrontation a bigger feel. The inking makes it all feel darker in tone and more serious which helps up the ante of the sequence. Walker draws fantastic hair which goes a long way in giving Superman a boy scout, clean cut look and Aquaman a more ragged and wild feel. Walker also impresses with a fantastic double page spread of two sea monsters retrofitted for war along with plenty of flying ships to go along with it (though why Atlantis has need for flying ships is beyond me). There’s also a great sequence involving Black Manta that does a hell of a lot in three pages with strong facial expressions conveying the ego of Black Jack and the ferocious violence of Manta.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Many folks will complain this is another hero fighting hero tale which will most definitely end as we’d expect. On some level you’re right, and the fight does feel as though it’s being used to pad out the book, but it also serves to deliver fun superhero stuff. The fact that Abnett gives the battle meaning and purpose negates the age-old cliche too.
Here comes the punch…
Is It Good?
Aquaman is a lot of fun. The action in this issue is fun to read and look at due to the sharp visuals and the story continues to impress. Aquaman doubters need only pick this title up and see he’s the real deal.