Writer: John Arcudi
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.50 U.S. / $3.50 CAN
As Aquaman finds his ability to deal with the various problems that are entering his life in a calm, rational manner being sorely tested, we see he completely loses it when emissaries from Atlantis arrive in Sub Diego expecting him to forgive and forget their previous treatment, that had him exiled and left for dead. We than see a very ticked off Aquaman pays a visit to the JLA Watchtower, where he receives a rather unusual lesson from J'Onn, who tries to give Aquaman an ego boost, by pretending to be Superman, and acting like a complete jerk.
This issue offers up a very strange sequence where Aquaman pays a visit to the JLA Watchtower, and we see J'Onn decides to play a little trick on his team-mate by disguising himself as Superman, and acting like a complete jerk until Aquaman is provoked into attacking him. Now I'm not sure what exactly the point was behind this little game, beyond to provide an attention getting moment that could be used on the cover, but given J'Onn has been acting a little strange in many of his recent appearances it's entirely possible that his recent actions are hinting something bigger, and the conversation does seem to hint that the JLA are dealing with a looming crisis that might explain J'Onn's uncharacteristic behaviour. In any event while the scene doesn't really hold together all that well if you study it too closely, if nothing else there is something inherently cool about the idea that Aquaman displaying a willingness to take on Superman, and I loved the flash of rage that we see from Arthur as he demands respect from a belligerent Superman. In fact the entire issue is full of great little moments where the writing lets Aquaman display his customary short fuse as if I've had one problem with this latest series, it's that Aquaman has been too willing to play nice, and seek out the more reasonable solutions. In fact the one element that originally served to make me a fan of Aquaman was that he always looked to be bearing a serious grudge, so it's nice to see the character looks to have gotten his edge back. The issue also manages to introduce an engaging secondary plot that brings back the Atlantis component, and watching how this aspect of Aquaman's continuity impacts to new status quo could be a lot of fun. In fact the exchange between Aquaman and Vulko was my personal favourite section of the issue.
Patrick Gleason's work on this issue is a little more cartoonish looking than his previous work on this title, and given the creative team looks to be the same, I can only assume that this was a deliberate style choice on his part. Now on one hand I do like that his characters are far more expressive, as Lorena's facial expressions throughout the issue help to sell the emotional beats of the story, from her excitement on the opening page, to her wide-eyed wonder when the ship from Atlantis arrives in the city. The art also does a lovely job on the issue's big impact moment as Aquaman and Superman trade blows, and the panel where an enraged Aquaman demands respect was a very memorable image. Still there were some panels where the art looked a bit bizarre, as the panels before Aquaman pulls out the reporter's business card looked downright strange. Still, the cover image is sure to catch the eye of the passing fan, and while Superman fans might feel like they were tricked into buying the issue, Aquaman readers will adore this shot of their hero.
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