"To Serve & Protect"
Writer: John Arcudi
Artists: Patrick Gleason (p), Christian Alamy (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: As Aquaman busily supervises visits between families members that were separated when San Diego sunk beneath the ocean, he's not on hand when some of the new ocean dwellers come under attack by a group of sharks. However, Sub Diego looks to have itself another superpower protector, as a genetically altered police officer steps in to save these people. Aquaman's curiosity about the experiment that created this super-powered police officer is side-tracked by a news report from the surface that will have a major impact on Sub Diego.
Comments: This issue does leave me a little concerned, as rather than breaking new ground, it feels a little bit like John Arcudi is simply taking well used comic book plots and transferring them into the underwater setting. This issue offers up the ever familiar story where our main hero discovers that a new super-powered champion has set up shop in his neighbourhood, and I'm a little concerned that this book might follow the predictable path of having our main hero discover that this new champion might not be as welcome a sight that he initially appears to be. We also have a familiar feeling plot that centres around Lorena coming to realize that Aquaman doesn't consider herself to be much use when it comes to dealing with the serious threats. One can already see the path that she's likely to take in order to make herself useful. On the other hand, a couple of plot elements introduced in this issue leave me quite excited, as John Arcudi decides to bring in a pretty major element from Aquaman's previous series. I'm rather looking forward to seeing what will happen when Aquaman's two worlds collide. The last page revelation also introduces a potentially interesting problem, as Aquaman learns who is responsible for the San Diego tragedy, but he can't really move against them without exposing the secrets that he has buried about his own involvement in the tragedy. The idea that this mysterious company has performed a in-depth study of Aquaman's DNA could also make them a major threat, as they probably know more about his genetic make-up and more importantly his weaknesses than even Aquman himself.
Patrick Gleason turns in another fine issue, as he strikes a pretty effective balance between exciting action and facial expressions that deftly sell the emotional beats of the writing. His ability to sell the emotions of the character is demonstrated during the scenes where Lorena begins to discover that Aquaman doesn't really look upon her as a useful ally. Her final expression makes it pretty clear that she will take some steps to make herself useful, especially since it's now been established that Geist is able to offer up superpowers. The action scenes in this issue are also quite impressive as Officer Malrey gets a fantastic debut appearance, with that introductory one page shot of the character being the highlight visual of the issue. Also while it's a throw away image I rather enjoyed the panel where Aquaman enters the water, and the only part of him that we're able to see is his hand.
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