Current Reviews


Aquaman #23

Posted: Friday, November 5, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell


Writer: John Ostrander
Pencils: Chris Batista
Inks: Dave Meikis
Colors: Jared K. Fletcher
Letters: Nathan Eyring

Publisher: D.C. Comics

In the aftermath of the sinking of San Diego, we see the U.S. Government expresses concern that when the city went down it also took with it a sizeable navel fleet, as well as the numerous weapons that were on these ships. Concerned that these weapons might fall into the wrong hands, we see Aquaman and the Sea Devils descend below the waves to recover these weapons, but they soon discover they are not alone.

John Ostrander will always have a soft spot in my books thanks to his work in the early 1990s, and he's also turned in some solid work in recent years with his stories set in the Wild West. However, his work on this issue is a pretty conventional reading experience, as Aquaman and the Sea Devils embark on a mission to recover military ordinance that ended up at the bottom of the ocean during the San Diego disaster, and of course these unsecured weapons have drawn the attention of individuals with less than noble intentions. Now I did enjoy the opening moments of this issue, as it's clear that John Ostrander has put some genuine thought into the impact that the sinking of San Diego would have, and the scene where the idea of raising the city is discussed makes for engaging reading. However, the underwater mission is pretty much a plot-by-numbers affair, with the only real moment of interest occurring on the final page as we see the villain managed to shatter Aquaman's magic hand. If nothing else I'm looking forward to the explanation as to how the villain accomplished this little trick, and my fingers are crossed that this development will serve to remove the instant problem fixer quality that we've seem from Aquaman's magic hand. In any event it's nice to see John Ostrander's name on a DC title, and if nothing else he deserves credit for attempting to inject some personality into the Sea Devil cast, as I haven't been overly impressed with these character during their previous guest-appearances.

Chris Batista managed to grab my full attention with a fantastic opening visual that captures the destruction of a naval fleet, and while the rest of the issue never quite manages to equal the impact of this scene, for the most part he does a solid job delivering the art for this issue. The visual design of the main villain is worth a mention, as the character has a nice menacing quality about him, but on the other side of the equation the art is a bit weak when it came to it's delivery of the Sea Devils, as the characters have a rather generic look, and none of the technology they bring to the table is all that impressive. However, I did like the way that the issue captured the idea that there is a decidedly lack of light on the ocean floor, as the villain launches his initial attack on the Sea Devils. I also loved the nice simple design elements of this issue's cover, as Aquaman descends into the darkness.

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