Well dammit. I actually really like Geoff Johns’ take on Aquaman.
I don’t know why this annoys me. Maybe it’s because after banging through so many other New52 DC collections, I simply expected the book with Angry Aquaman stabbing at the reader to be as bad as one would assume. Aquaman isn’t a character DESIGNED to snarl and frown – he’s a blond swimmy guy who rides seahorses, talks to fish and wears bright orange! – and yet that’s been his default mode for basically the last 30 years. (Unless you go elsewhere.)
Then there’s Johns. I’m not a big Johns fan – the “Johnsian Literalism” theory put in play at Comics Alliance bugs me, and his weird insistence that every DC character have mother or father issues is disconcerting in its consistency. And here it is on display again: the opening arc focuses quite a bit on Aquaman’s relationship with his human father, as it guides the hero through his newfound, “Am I man or Atlantean?” issues.
This is probably a way of making them more “human,” but it usually feels like a hamfisted retcon that gives guys like Green Lantern and Flash something to brood over without feeling particularly intrinsic to their characters.
But damned if it doesn’t work with Aquaman. In fact, practically everything Johns comes up with for this not-quite-reboot* of the character is pretty spot-on.
Which, of course, makes That One Thing stand out even more as being a fucking terrible idea.
But we’ll save that for last, because I’m happy to actually write a positive DC review for a change, so let’s go down the list of things that go right in Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench. (more…)