Review: Aquaman #4

This is where Geoff Johns is doing his best work right now - the tales of Arthur and Mera.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Aquaman #4

I love when Geoff Johns starts crackin’ it. Thus far in Green Lantern, I haven’t felt that Johns magic, the stuff that’s made him one of the best scribes in comics. However, with Aquaman, the magic crackles to a point that Harry Potter would shit and run. I love that Aquaman kicks ass, I love that he’s surly and I love that the once peaceful man of the ocean is not afraid to bring it! Aquaman #4 is the final chapter in the opening arc dealing with creepy creatures from the bottom of the ocean.

On the floor of the sea, Aquaman and Mera continue their rescue quest. The disturbing humanoids from the deep have cocooned humans from a seaside town (that they forgot to close down?*) in order to feed. Johns does a great job of setting up how difficult this mission is with small details. Aquaman’s body can’t adjust to the darkness, the fish he can so easily command are refusing to help because they’re just too afraid. You get the idea that Aquaman and Mera are completely alone, that this mission could actually end them.

Johns doesn’t just set up the great tension and action, he’s also setting up just how cool and heroic Aquaman is. As he and Mera descend into the depths of the humanoid creature’s lair, the two argue over the fate of their enemy. Mera wants them destroyed, wiped from the sea so as not to endanger anyone again. On the flipside, Aquaman wants to rescue the humans but not destroy a previously unknown race. The scene gives us a nice look at how magnanimous Aquaman can be. Then, on a dime, Johns kicks into the action and unleashes not just the humanoids but also their giant Queen.

The abrupt switch to action, in a lesser writer’s hands, would feel forced. Johns adds enough exposition to keep the story going while Aquaman battles hundreds of humanoid creatures. The ultimate decision he makes to save lives is actually sad, and you can tell it will weigh heavy on the king of the sea. I especially liked the end, when all the human dicks had to eat crow because the most “unpopular” hero ever rose to the occasion.  When the little kid tells Aquaman he’s his favorite hero, you can’t help but get a few chills. Johns also drops the next year in Aquaman’s life as he tries to answer who or what sank Atlantis. Should be a good year!!

As always, the art from Ivan Reis is totally on point. His strong lines and eye for detail really brings out the depth of where Aquaman and Mera are. He creates darkness and fear. He also keeps those damn humanoid creatures looking as fucked up as possible. The pages involving the battle is some of the most beautiful work that Reis has ever done. Nobody kicks out an action scene like Reis. Everything just pops off the page. With Johns taking it to the mat and Reis serving up delicious art, Aquaman could be the book to watch in 2012.


*Add ten points to your cool factor if you got that reference