Aquaman (vol.5) #1 (November, 2011)
“The Trench, Part One”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Pencils – Ivan Reis
Inks – Joe Prado
Colors – Rod Reis
Letters – Nick J. Napolitano
Assistant Editor – Sean Mackiewicz
Editor – Patrick McCallum
Cover Price: $2.99
Going to take a look back at a book I’d missed when it hit the shelves… because I was at the very start of my post-Flashpoint temper tantrum.
I have read this issue a few times though… a few years back, I happened across the trade paperback for like two-bucks, and decided to give it a shot.
I’m excited to see how well it’s aged. Let’s take a look!
We open underwater with some piranha-looking beasties awakening… they head toward the surface. At the same time, on the surface, the Boston Police are in hot pursuit of a stolen armored car… when, suddenly Aquaman shows up in the middle of the road! The would-be robbers think this is pretty hilarious (this is the theme of the issue, by the way).
The robbers fear no fish(man), so they hit the gas figuring they’ll just run him down where he stands. This doesn’t work out all that well for them, as Aquaman jams his trident into the grill of the truck and basically suplexes the sucker over.
One of the baddies scurries out of the van and unload a few guns into Aquaman’s torso… this is also rather ineffective, though Arthur does get a nick above his right eyebrow. It doesn’t end well for the crook.
The police are thankful for Aquaman’s assistance… yet, give him the normal battery of “hurr hurr” Aquaman questions… ya know, “what are you doing on dry land” and “do you need a glass of water”. It’s not as aggressively annoying (nor as damned repetitive) as it would be in Aquaman: Rebirth. Either way, Aquaman hops away.
We rejoin him at Sam’s Seafood… where the other patrons are absolutely shocked to see him belly up to a booth. Ya see, he’s Aquaman… and he’s going to eat seafood! Doesn’t that make him a cannibal or something?!
A nervous waitress heads over and takes his order. Fish and chips, he says. An irritating blogger (bloggers are the worst!) tells him he can’t offer fish and chips… because, say it with me: he talks to fish! Hurr hurr. Aquaman corrects the geek… he doesn’t talk to fish, he can only telepathically “push” them to assist him.
That blogger then hops into Arthur’s booth… and asks for an interview. Aquaman, though clearly annoyed, answers a few questions. He chose this restaurant because it’s where his father used to take him when he was a child. The blogger clarifies, Aquaman’s human father… which is a good way to tip off new readers.
Then, our tactful internet journalist asks what it feels like to be Aquaman… what’s it like to be a joke… a punchline… what’s it like to be nobody’s favorite superhero?! Aquaman gets up and leaves, giving the waitress a tip of a few doubloons on his way out.
Back at the Lighthouse that night, Aquaman flashes back to his childhood. His reflection is interrupted by the arrival of Mera… and they discuss the future. Aquaman has decided to have a go at living “up here”, and letting Atlantis find themselves a new king… they never liked him much anyway. Mera thinks this is a great idea.
We wrap up with three whole pages featuring some fishermen being attacked by those crazy piranha-looking beasts!
This was really good… though I’m pretty sure I “received” it better the first time around.
This is the first time they seriously tackled the “Aquaman as the butt of the joke” concept, and really worked hard to debunk it. Since this issue, however, it feels like they just won’t stop harping on it. They want so bad to recreate this moment… Aquaman acting like a badass… Aquaman dealing with a public that takes him less than seriously… that it’s kinda taken the “oomph” out of this one for me.
Still a great scene… and a long-time coming. I never really saw Aquaman as a jokey character… though, I didn’t come up during the SuperFriends era, which is where I think much of that comes from. I also don’t get my “witty” observations from Family Guy, so I guess there’s that too.
What we do get here is a pretty great introduction to the character for all of the… um… “new readers” of The New-52! The eight or nine who didn’t just hoard, bag ‘n board all of the new #1’s, that is. What’s more… this issue could have just as easily taken place in the pre-Flashpoint/post-Brightest Day DC Universe… which is always a plus to me. Then again, for all I know, this might’ve originally been intended as the post-Brightest Day volume of Aquaman… just held off a few months to slide it into The New-52! initiative.
The art here is pretty spectacular… I gotta say, I love the shiny armor look for Aquaman! The whole package is top-tier… and we’ve come to expect nothing less from Johns and Reis. This issue has been collected and is available digitally (for 99-cents!). It’s a very breezy read, but it’s well worth checking out!