Images © DC Comics, Inc.
“The Others” concludes in this 13th issue of Aquaman. I can’t say I’ve loved the storyline, but it did keep me coming back for more. Writer Geoff Johns tried his best to make villain Black Manta menacingly evil and dangerous, but for me it always comes back to that silly bulbous helmet, I have a hard time taking it seriously. The previously unknown super-team that Aquaman was involved with, as revealed in this storyline, had some nice moments here and there, but they don’t seem like A material to me, and I don’t expect them to be getting new storylines soon. The Atlantis connections are perhaps the most interesting thing going on in this book plotwise, but Johns is keeping us guessing as to where that will go, no real resolution here. The relationship of Aquaman and Mera, when they’re not fighting over who should be taking on the bad guys, has been appealing, and the art on this book, mainly pencilled by Ivan Reis with several inkers, has been stellar throughout. Despite my quibbles, this team has made Aquaman himself an A list character perhaps for the first time ever, and kudos to them for that.
This is one of those Annuals that are just a longer section of story than the monthly book, but the extra length does allow us to enjoy a lengthy flashback of the first, previously unknown meet-cute of a young Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane when he visits a European town devastated by radiation where Anton Arcane and his family live. It’s a great interlude that allows plenty of character development and some romance along with thrills, terror, horror and all that usual swampy stuff. The story is self-contained, but makes more sense if you understand the history of the characters. It’s well written by Scott Snyder and a good read. There’s even what seems to be some real science involved before things get ugly. The best thing about this book is the wonderful art by Becky Cloonan. I’ve seen bits of her work, but never a story of this length, and I’m very impressed with her art. She has great skill and a sure ink line that reminds me of Mike Allred or Peter Snejbjerg, a little cartoony flavor overlaying very solid draftsmanship and storytelling. Excellent work. I’ve now put Cloonan on my “want to see more” list.
Both books are recommended.