Off The Rack Reviews: Aquaman #5
Review by Dave Borders
Ivan Reis Artwork
Geoff Johns Story
Joe Prado Inker
Clearly, Aquaman is Geoff Johns’ new favorite title. I read this month’s offering of Green Lantern as well, and the effort seems to be lacking. Here though, we see Johns’ strengths come in to play.
The first time I read it, I really enjoyed it. I think that the biggest reason though, is the fact that low expectations are the norm when it comes to Aquaman. The second time through I realized that there isn’t that much meat to this story.
The first problem is the cover. The title appears in bold red letters. Buried Alive! There is a great image of Aquaman trying to claw his way up from a burial in sand. Ironic, right? I’m not sure about his physiology, but I get what they are going for here. It He’s the man at home in water, buried in sand. Got it. The problem is: It doesn’t come close to happening inside. At one point he collides with the earth and creates a bit of a crater. Then he is out of it walking alone in the vast desert.
There is another problem with the cover that DC continues to make and that is in their choice of secondary colors on the cover. Aquaman is surrounding with sand which is-uh-sand colored. It has some gold highlights in it. In the upper right corner they’ve got “The New 52!” emblazoned. What color did they choose? Gold. Dumb. No pop.
I like the beginning of this story. Aquaman is falling through the air and with a Thoom! He meets the earth. Dramatic, right? How did this happen? It really draws you in. Is this going to be joke? Was there some sort of explosion? What is going on?
Additionally, Reis does a wonderful job of giving the illusion of motion in his drawings. He has been doing some really great work for DC most notably on Green Lantern, but his work here allows him to draw wild looking seas creatures which he seems to enjoy.
There is a strange scene with his dad, that I don’t totally get, but I missed a few issues and this could be setting something up for the future. It was interesting, it’s just that I didn’t get it. As mentioned earlier, I don’t know if Arthur needs more water than the average man, since he’s somehow able to breathe at the bottom of the ocean. It makes sense. So he’s wandering through the desert after falling from the sky.
He finds his glyph and he activates it. Immediately, an Atlantean appears and announces that Atlantis is in danger. Clearly, the story is meant to be: Arthur wants to move on with his life, but still feels responsible for Atlantis. Because of the choices he is making in life, he doesn’t truly feel at home anywhere. He’s like a fish out of water. Sorry.
The Navy comes to his rescue, and some more jokes are made at his expense. I hope that Johns has more plans for this title than simply using every joke that David Letterman might use in a Top Ten List about Aquaman.
I enjoyed the subtlety of the story telling at the end of the issue. Arthur arriving home wearing a Navy t-shirt was cool and insightful. There is a head-scratching cliff-hanger at the end. Mera goes to town for dog food.
Something about that note made we feel like I should scream, “No! Not Dog Food!”
I guess we’ll see.
My prediction on the value of the book is: Solid. All the DC books have been seeing at least modest gains.