REVIEW: Aquaman #1
Saturday, October 01 2011 - Reviews - by: born4this
Hey everyone! This is born4this from the Sprite This Down column (one of the few video game blogs currently on this site.) I officially started following "traditional" comics for the first time with DC's New 52. (I say "traditional" because I've been following the hilarious & awesome webcomic Axe Cop for the past year, online and in printed form.) I've followed comic book superheroes through movies, cartoons, and video games in the past, but I've never followed them in their original form until now - not even my favorite comic book character, Batman. When my friends and I heard about the New 52, we got excited because it was the perfect opportunity to start buying comics. Many of us had always wanted to, but we didn't know where to start. Brilliant marketing strategy, DC Comics; this was just the thing we needed to jump in. So here I am, a comics noob... writing comic book reviews for Crimson Monkey from a newcomer's perspective. Enjoy.
I've always had zero interest in Aquaman. (Honestly, I still think his name is a little silly.) I've never seen an Aquaman animated series, an Aquaman movie, or an Aquaman video game. Most of what I know about Aquaman comes from spoofs on shows like Family Guy, Robot Chicken, and Saturday Night Live. Aquaman seems lame to me - the ridiculed superhero that nobody likes.
I have a friend who follows comics, and he told me he was excited for the new Aquaman #1. He also told me that DC was putting one of their best writers on Aquaman for the New 52. This was laughable to me. I thought, "Why bother?!? Just let it go; people think Aquaman is silly!" I had no intentions of buying Aquaman #1, despite his excitement (we have different tastes.) Days before Aquaman #1 was released, I started seeing interest in the reboot online. "Seriously?!? What the heck? Why do people care about Aquaman? He's never seemed to be very popular before, so why would he be popular now?" Then release day came and I saw a few messages on Twitter about how Aquaman #1 was a "must read," including a tweet from Crimson Monkey's own Dave O Mac. I found this intriguing, and I started doing some research. I went to DC's website and read this description:
Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!
"The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!" Hmmm, interesting. This piqued my interest. I went further and decided to read the description for Aquaman #2:
An entire town…devoured! As Aquaman and Mera discover the grisly truth behind a town's disappearance, the Trench infestation spreads inland! Plus: Another gruesome Trench power revealed – and it's not for the squeamish!
"Not for the squeamish?!? Dang, these descriptions make Aquaman sound pretty hardcore!" After a few conversations with friends about this new Aquaman information, several of us said that we'd checkout Aquaman #1 just to see what all the buzz was about. Needless to say, the one friend who had already planned on getting it was pleased that he wouldn't be the only one.
When I read Aquaman #1, it felt like it was written just for me. Basically all of my skepticism was addressed in this first issue. "What's Aquaman doing here? We're not in the ocean and I don't see any fish around..." "Aquaman talks to fish. Everybody knows that." "Do you ride whales and swim with the sea lions?" Like me, the people in the town don't seem to know much about Aquaman. They are confused about who he is and what he does. At the same time, they're aware of who he is, and they know that he's a ridiculed superhero (again, like me.) "I'm sure you've heard all the jokes and seen all the skits from Saturday Night Live." "How's it feel to be NOBODY'S favorite superhero?" Aquaman's writers are very aware of the popular opinion of this character, and rather than trying to avoid it, they approached it head-on. Brilliant move, simply brilliant.
From my perspective, DC couldn't have picked a better way to write Aquaman #1. I'm confident that the New 52 is bringing a lot of new people in, like me, and getting all the misconceptions out of the way was a smart and entertaining move. This first issue helped me better understand who Aquaman is, and it made me respect DC for being able to laugh at themselves and embrace the stigma that this character has. Popular opinion is a tough thing to change, but Aquaman is off to a good start. I'm excited to see what happens next with The Trench in Aquaman #2.
The Bottom Line: For surprising me by addressing everything I think about Aquaman, I give Aquaman #1 an A+. I couldn't have asked for more. Silly Aquaman... I guess you may not be so silly after all...
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