Aquaman Volume 1: The Trench (New 52) Review

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I have always been fond of Aquaman but let’s face it, there is probably no other Superhero that gets ridiculed more in the comic world. He always ends up being the butt-end of all jokes and generally just being dismissed as “The guy who talks to fish”. Now whether this originally stemmed from that horrible Super Friends cartoon or simply not having the right writer, it’s no secret that poor Aquaman does not have the best reputation in the super powered world.

However, after having just finished reading writer Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, The Flash) and penciler Ivan Reis‘  (Blackest Night, Brightest Day) Aquaman Volume 1: The Trench I think everything  is going to change.

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One of the things that you notice immediately when you start reading this series is that Johns is not afraid to tackle all of the jokes and criticisms that have surrounded the character. I mean, he even has characters in the book make fun of the Aquaman and you know what? It works. It is clear that Johns wanted us to acknowledge the perception we have of the character right from the get-go. While this normally might not be considered the best way to start off a series, I strongly believe it was necessary in order to get over the character’s bad reputation.
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This also brings me to another thing that I love about Johns take on Aquaman; his personality. Long gone is the Aquaman that seemed unsure of himself, timid and regulated to do meaningless chores. The new Arthur Curry does not take any guff from anyone and is not afraid to speak his mind whenever it is needed. I love how he simply brushes off all of the jokes or statements. Another thing you will notice is that Aquaman is not the only star in this series. Don’t be surprised to see Arthurs wife, Mera take center stage from time to time. I love how Johns is giving her a very prominent role and showcasing both her physical strength as well as her strong personality.

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This collection includes the first major story-arc for the series. The book starts off with Arthur and his wife Mera who are now living in a lighthouse off the shore of Amnesty Bay. Aquaman decides early on that he just wants to live a life on the shore with Mera and that he will not go back to Atlantis, basically foregoing the Throne. Although everything seems to be going his way, things go sour quickly when these ancient creatures from the ocean’s abyss go in search of food on the shore.

I think not having an actual super villain as the series first antagonist was a great choice. The design for the creatures is essentially a cross between Aliens and piranhas and they give off a very creepy hive-mind vibe. The couple soon finds out that these creatures ran through their own food source and are now abducting humans for snacks. Aquaman and Mera then decide to go deep into the Trench in order to find out exactly what is going

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Ivan Reis’ pencil work and Joe Prado’s inking on the series is simply amazing. I love their ability to perfectly capture the essence of what makes comics so much fun. Prado’s precise line-work accentuates and refines Reis’ already outstanding work. Between the both of them, you get this style that is a mix of both a traditional and modern vibe. It’s wonderful to look at and you can easily tell that these guys love these characters and what they do.

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Overall I was really impressed with the start of this new Aquaman series for DC Comics recent “reboot” New 52 initiative. I really have to hand it to Johns, as I think this series might be his most impressive work to date, (and that’s saying a lot)!  The fact that he took a character that has been ridiculed so much and breathed some much needed life into him is outstanding. This book actually makes you acknowledge that Aquaman is indeed a bad-ass and, more importantly, relevant again. This series is off to an amazing start and I cannot wait until the next volume is out.

Story: A
Dialogue: A
Artwork: A

Overall Score: A

 

Aquaman Volume 1: The Trench contains issues# 1-6 of the ongoing Aquaman series and was released on September 11, 2012.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado

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