Whether you’re a fan of the Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics crossovers or just don’t understand them, you have to admit it’s a bold choice to do so many one-shot issues. This week sees four out in stores and each has varying levels of seriousness, comedy, or a bit of both. When you have a talking (and flying) shark as a main character, how else do you approach it?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
When the town of Amnesty Island is besieged by a series of shark attacks, authorities call Aquaman for help! What’s unusual about this case is that the shark isn’t trying to kill people–he just wants to talk to them. The very confused Jabberjaw needs to get back to Aqualand, the future undersea utopia where he came from. But that peaceful city where man and sentient sea life have been living in harmony has been turned into a dystopian nightmare created by a new Ocean Master. Now the King of Atlantis and his friendly shark ally have to team up to set things right. Also includes a Captain Caveman meets the wizard Shazam in a short story by Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins.
Why does this matter?
Dan Abnett takes the reins on writing, who has had plenty of experience writing Aquaman over the last few years. He’s joined by Paul Pelletier on art who has an appealing superhero style with a tinge of dark stylings thanks to the inks of Andrew Hennessy. Joining them is Jeff Parker (of Flintstones fame) and Scott Kolins who brings a Geof Darrow sort of detailed style.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Abnett does a great job with the main story, giving Aquaman something to fight for (a future dimension where fish and humans can’t live in harmony) while delivering some commentary on the respect Aquaman will never get. Make no mistake, Jabberjaw is a ridiculous character who literally floats into the comic with his cheery nature and aw-shucks demeanor. Truth be told, Jabberjaw and his band, the Neptunes, aren’t superheroes, but they fight for what is right and to inspire others to find a common ground. It’s this core of the related battles Aquaman and Jabberjaw are after that links the two stories as well.
The backup story has Shazam characters working to test humanity by zapping Captain Caveman into the now. Jeff Parker infuses this story with plenty of visual gags and social commentary which makes the story a delight. It’s over the top in the best of ways.
Both artists do a good job keeping the story moving along and the message of each strong. Pelletier succeeds at a visual gag or two (like Jabberjaw picking out snacks at the grocery store) and he succeeds at capturing the facial expressions of Aquaman, which readers will be feeling as well. As I said earlier Kolins has a Geof Darrow sort of style that’s hyper-detailed which suits the hairy caveman body of its title character.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m not so sure the story here needed to be extra-sized. The Aquaman story is the main feature and it seems to sort of shift from one plot point to the next to fill time rather than do much plot development. The characters literally fall into each twist and turn rather than do much of any detective work. It’s a cartoon/superhero crossover though, so maybe my expectations are off. That said, the message about accepting others and being peaceful is rather tepid.
Is it good?
A good crossover that will captivate fans of the cartoon and comics alike. I was never into Jabberjaw or Captain Caveman, but both are fun little tales that are worth the 20 or so minutes of relief from reality.