Today, Shelby and Mikyzptlk are discussing Aquaman 18, originally released March 27th, 2013.
Shelby: Aquaman 17 seemed to mark a new direction for our favorite King of the Seven Seas. Already tired of dealing with the political machinations of his new throne, he seemed ready to devote himself to the ocean, because fish don’t give a shit which political party you represent. I was intrigued where this would take the story; would it turn into a Captain Planet-esque crusade to protect ocean-life? Would that be lame, cool, or just enough of both to be enjoyable? As it turns out, all my speculation was for naught; despite Arthur’s desires, he finds himself mired more and more tightly in the politics of the throne. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and guest writer Mogo are discussing Justice League 17, originally released February 20th, 2013, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.
Shelby: When I was in drama club in high school, we put on a lot of older comedies with the entire plot revolving around one basic misunderstanding. That one misunderstanding would compound exponentially (as misunderstandings are wont to do), and before you know it, you’d have a wacky, 2-hour situation involving mistaken identities and hiding in closets. At the end of the show, everyone would reveal themselves, and, with a good chuckle, the guy would get the girl, the plucky sidekick friends would hook up, and everyone lived happily ever after. In ComicBookLand, where two superheroes can’t bump into each other on the sidewalk without getting into a fight and destroying a city block, misunderstandings are never so innocently comedic. Justice League 17, the finale of the Throne of Atlantis, is no exception. Continue reading →
Michael: Nothing gets me going like a dramatic reveal. I love stories wherein tables are turned and even villains fall in and out of virtue. In comics, a strikingly juxtaposed panel can make a subtle twist even more shocking. There’s something thrilling about being duped by a brilliant turn. We’re told something is true, relevant, or congruous, only to find out that some or all of these things don’t matter, and yet the story is somehow better for it. It may be that we enjoy the release of tension or delight in dashing our assumptions that makes these betrayals so enjoyable, but part of what makes them effective is context. What the hero knows determines how new information changes him. Issue 16 of Aquaman delivers some really solid twists from Geoff Johns with vivid art from Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons to back it up, but our heroes are so clueless and mired in chaos that the impact of these bombshells are hard to gauge. Continue reading →
Shelby: Events are tricky things to handle. On the one hand, you have an opportunity to tell a story on a broader scale; you can involve more characters and build bigger plots. You also get a chance to lure readers to new titles, which can either be see by readers as an introduction to something new, or a cheap trick to make us give DC more money. To some extent, both are true. The real trick to an event, though, is figuring out how to distribute your story, and Geoff Johns is making some choices with Thrones of Atlantis that I find to be interesting to say the least. Just a heads up to you, our gentle readers: don’t make the same mistake I did. If you haven’t read Justice League 15 yet, put this down, go read it, and then come back, otherwise Aquaman 15 isn’t going to make a lick of sense. Continue reading →
Mikyzptlk: There’s been some internal discussion of whether or not the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline should be considered an event. Some of us here have grown tired of DC’s seemingly endless run of events and I can’t really blame them. The comic book “event” is a double edged sword. While they definitely bring attention and increased sales to the books that are involved, they tend to get bloated with needless tie-ins, many of which are written by writers who may not be nearly as talented as the showrunners themselves. The current Batman event “Death of the Family” is a good example of this. Compare some of the “DotF” tie-ins to the main series and you’ll know what I mean. Fortunately for “ToA,” the entire story is being handled by the one and only Geoff Johns, so we shouldn’t have to worry about any bloating. In fact, as it’s only 6 issues (3 in Aquaman and 3 in Justice League) some may consider it more of a crossover than an event. Regardless of that, however, Johns gives us something that feels like a big event, with a prologue that is both foreboding and fairly intense in a mostly quiet way. I think it’s safe to say that I actually enjoyed this issue more than any other so far and it’s gotten me pretty psyched for the “events” to come. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Aquaman 0, originally released September 26th, 2012. Aquaman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Shelby: Geoff Johns is a big picture kind of guy. When he gets an idea, it’s a big idea. This plays out well in trade paperback collections of his story arcs, when you can read them in great big chunks. It doesn’t always work so well in the monthly issues; when a huge story is dragged out over months, the pace slows and it’s hard to keep that big picture in your mind. I think Johns found a solution to the problem: just write an issue with a story so big it spans all the oceans, treat it like the opening scenes of a movie, and give your artists plenty of elbow room.
Today, Peter and Shelby are discussing Aquaman 10, originally released June 27th, 2012.
Peter: Since its return last year, Aquaman has been selling extremely well just about every month. That is really surprising to me. For a while I’m wasn’t sure what was driving these sales. Was it Aquaman nostalgia? Was his impressive run in Brightest Day? Out of all the books I have been reading, it’s been pretty hit and miss. It has some really great issues (issue 5) that have been amazing, and some really terrible issues (issue 6) that just don’t work. With the introduction of the Others storyline, Aquaman has quickly become one of my favorite books again. This issue is no exception, giving incredible historic elements, as well as dynamic characters.
Today, Shelby and Peter are discussing Aquaman 9, originally released May 23rd, 2012.
Shelby: I have grown to appreciate Aquaman. I used to think he was pretty lame, but I think his character has been fleshed out in recent years. There’s some depth to him now; he’s a man torn between two worlds, and all that. Geoff Johns obviously has some grand ideas for where he wants to take Aquaman; he just keeps doling out his ideas at such a slow pace, I’m afraid there will be a point when my questions so outnumber the answers, I’m just going to get fed-up.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Aquaman 8, originally released April 25th, 2012.
Shelby: Geoff Johns first impressed me with Rebirth, the retold origin arc of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. His narratives combine epic, sweeping action with a much closer, personal look at the characters. He has a knack for writing emotion that doesn’t diminish the super-humanness of these characters. Lately, I haven’t been quite as impressed; both Justice League and Aquaman have felt a little….pedantic. It’s true, I have fallen away from Johns somewhat with the relaunch, but I feel like this Aquaman arc is beginning to get back to what it is I first liked so very much about his writing. Continue reading →