Aquaman’s aquatelepathy is a key factor in this latest story arc (which we referred to in our POP Monthly series) and it’s a reminder this character is more interesting than you thought. Aquaman is on a quest to get a better image amongst the people of Earth, but fighting Warhead comes first. Is it good?
Aquaman #18 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“WARHEAD” finale! Aquaman’s battle with Warhead leaves him trapped in the tortured mind of the telepathic beast, where the sea king is forced to experience the lifetimes of combat that define his tragic new foe!
Why does this book matter?
Aquaman is finally not an enemy of the U.S. government and writer Dan Abnett is using that to flesh out the character further. Tying the latest villain in with his telepathy is an intriguing idea as this power is never explored.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Using the word warhead is never a good thing.
It turns out Warhead is a fascinating character tied deeply to war on Earth. To say too much more will spoil the backstory revealed here, but it’s interesting how he was a man, turned into a weapon, and then faced the consequences of enacting mankind’s vengeance. Much of this issue has Warhead and Aquaman fighting and seeing into each other’s minds, which is a neat way of showing exposition and action at the same time. Through this interchange Aquaman get’s a bead on the people of Earth–and this may be the first instance of a new power he can utilize–which further tells the story of how Aquaman is perceived. The hero who talks to fish isn’t too happy with the results. The issue also ends with a cliffhanger reminding us of a villain that appeared before Rebirth that should get fans excited.
Scot Eaton’s pencils do well to show what it looks like to be inside someone’s mind. Warhead shows Aquaman some terrible atrocities and there’s a neat disassembling effect used to show what we’re seeing isn’t real. Panels also break apart when they psychically attack and there’s an interesting use of lettering to convey a signal as N.E.M.O.’s suicide triggers go off. A full page spread later in the issue shows the web of voices Aquaman taps into that does well to give us a snapshot of the many folks he’s listening to.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though I know it’s a superhero comic, it’s hard to take the events in the issue too seriously when Aquaman and Warhead are talking and fighting at the same time. The subject gets pretty heavy and yet they keep punching each other. For a character who calls himself a diplomat, the fighting seems silly and out of place. Aquaman comes to a conclusion about Warhead that seems way too quick. Meanwhile, Warhead is punching Aquaman and yet tells him how he stopped fighting due to the immoral nature of it. Seems hypocritical no?
Is this real life?
Is It Good?
This is a good, but not great issue that imparts some interesting ideas about war, but does so in a fight comic style that doesn’t suit the material. How aquatelepathy is used again in the future remains an intriguing idea though due to the event in this issue.