AQUAMAN: THE OTHERS by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado
Aquaman has secrets no one in the DC Universe has ever known about – and Geoff Johns is sharing them in The Others, the second graphic novel from the New 52 run he’s currently writing.
As I have stated in another review, I was blown away by Johns’ new incarnation of Aquaman. Although a perennial favorite of mine, Aquaman (Arthur Curry) has been much maligned in the comics community, and especially in one of my favorite television shows, The Big Bang Theory.
You can’t make jokes about this revitalized Aquaman. He’s as tough as they come, not quite Superman level, but I’m beginning to think he could go toe to toe with Wonder Woman. But as always in a Geoff Johns story, it’s the character’s backstory that really takes center stage.
And boy, does Arthur Curry have one. Although some of the seeds for this revelation are laid in the first graphic novel, they really come to fruition in this one. I’d never seen Aquaman as quite the bad boy (well, maybe a little in the Peter David run), but his younger self was a lot different from the man he is today. Of course, Johns lays out the reasons for all the strum and drang in his story: Aquaman’s mother disappeared after giving birth to him, he was raised by his father who kept waiting for the love of his life to reappear, he manifested strange powers that set him even further apart from the general population, and Dr. Shin was there to exploit Arthur – up to the point of causing Arthur’s dad’s death.
That’s a lot of estrangement to deal with. On top of that, as the displaced king of Atlantis, there are unknown factions out to get him, and the sunken continent has got a lot of hidden mythology we never knew about.
The Others are the first super team Aquaman worked with prior to the Justice League. Johns outdoes himself with their creation, making each member volatile and instantly memorable. Not only that, he ties them in to some of Atlantis’s lost legacy and reveals where Arthur got his cool new trident.
Mera continues to be a big part of the series, and I loved the scenes between her and Ya’Wara (who would have ever figured Arthur would have been an item with a JUNGLE queen? Yet, Johns makes that make sense too). That tension could have been played out differently, rendering Mera as a worried female. Instead she is bold and trusts Arthur, and just makes sure she marks her territory to the ex-flame.
Black Manta has long been a staple in the Aquaman universe, but his character in this graphic novel is a lot more edgy and dangerous than he has ever been. Previously, I just hadn’t seen him as much of a match for Aquaman, but in this story he’s definitely a physical and intellectual threat.
In laying down the foundations of Atlantis, Johns is also setting up the future complications with the sunken city and his half-brother, Orm. I can’t wait so see where Arthur’s story takes us next.
As always, Ivan Reis’s art is simply fantastic. He draws readers – literally – into fascinating and detailed worlds. I often go back through the pages just to absorb the images.