"The Shade of Things to Come"
Writer: John Arcudi
Artists: Patrick Gleason (p), Christina Alamy (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: As Aquaman investigates the mysterious group who looks to have benefited the most from the sinking of Sub Diego, back under the ocean waves a debate is growing in Atlantis about whether they should rush forward and embrace the population of Sub Diego or they keep their distance from these new arrivals. An old enemy of Aquaman lurks on the sidelines ready to stir the pot even more.
Comments: I had completely forgotten about Aquaman's son Koryak, and while it all came rushing back once this issue had established how this character was connected to Aquaman, this issue reminds readers how many elements of Aquaman's universe had been swept under the rug when this series relauched with its bold new direction. With a couple new changes in status quo under his belt, John Arcudi is actively bringing back these elements starting in this issue with the return of Koryak who gets to play the role of a romantic interest for Aquaman's newest sidekick. This issue also features the welcome return of Tempest, Atlantis, and one of Aquaman's long time enemies also looks to be ready to make a return. I'm not going to reveal the identity of the big villain, but given Aquaman's rogue gallery only has two noteworthy members, I'm willing to bet most fans will be able to guess who I'm talking about. Since the cover to the next issue which makes it pretty clear that another important cast member returns to these pages, this book is starting to feel a bit like a high school reunion, as I'm reintroduced to all the various elements that were pushed aside when this title made its various bids to secure new readers with its attention grabbing changes in the status quo. Still, while some might look at this return to the old status quo as a sign that attempts at changing Aquaman failed, I'd rather like to think that John Arcudi simply came to realize that this book was trying to pull in the fans with one hand tied behind its back, and the return of these established elements will now let this book display all of its cool toys. If nothing else, the interaction between the new elements and the old proved to be the most engaging sections of the issue, with the debate about welcoming the people of Sub Diego into Atlantis being my favourite section of the issue. The book also offers up some nice forward momentum on the whole mystery organization front, as Aquaman and his reporter friend make some intriguing discoveries.
I just noticed that while I was busy taking great pains to keep the identity of the mystery villain a secret the cover image to this issue is busy advertising the character's presence, and as such I feel like a bit of a goof as it clearly reveals that I'm not paying nearly enough attention to the material like a good reviewer should (but than again I've never claimed to be a good reviewer). Still, it is a little curious that the cover image would seem to suggest that this villain is connected to the whole genetic tampering plot, when the scene inside the book suggests that the character is little better than a side element that the real villainís plan on using to pull Aquaman's attention away from their plans. As for the interior art, there's some powerful visual moments in this issue, from a great looking scene of a very angry Aquaman storming away from a meeting, to a great visual moment where a royally cheesed off Aquaman arrives in Geist's lab. The art also does some nice work on the issue's big battle, as I'm sure all Aquaman fans will draw great delight from the scene where our hero whacks a monster with a massive crane.
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