30 Days of Comics, Day 24: Aquaman #1

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Aquaman #1

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Aquaman is probably the most widely ridiculed superhero in the DC Universe if not all comic book universes. I get why it’s easy to pick on Aquaman, because his powers are only useful in very selective situations, but when his name is Aquaman, what do people really expect him to be? Honestly, I think Aquaman gets a bum wrap as far as superheroes go and maybe it’s time the poor guy went out and addressed his haters head on. This is exactly why I liked this comic so much, because that’s exactly what happens and it’s just so much fun to read.

Our comic starts in the city of Boston as three armed gunmen are leading the police on a car chase after presumably robbing a bank; in the vernacular of Bostonians this is what’s called a “Tuesday.” The chase is causing a lot of collateral damage around town so the nearest superhero who happens to arrive at the scene is none other than… Aquaman. The gunmen and the cops react in the manner that most people do when they see Aquaman.

Aw shit, here comes Aquaman!

I can’t decide whose reaction I like more.

So the gunmen have a good laugh and decide to just run Aquaman over. They seem to forget that Aquaman still has super strength and is super resistant to physical trauma. This fact becomes apparent after Aquaman flips their van over with his trident and then proceeds to take several rounds of automatic gunfire before beating their asses down. After such an awesome display of power, the police are no doubt incredibly appreciative of Aquaman’s help and bid him a fond farewell as he leaps back into the ocean.

leaps tall buildings in a single bound

So if you were wondering how Aquaman can get from the coastline to the middle of Boston so fast: He fucking jumped, that’s how. So after that little bit of super-heroism, we are treated to the best part of this comic, which really does a great job defining everything Aquaman is and isn’t. What happens? Aquaman walks into a seafood restaurant and orders a meal. I know this doesn’t sound exciting or interesting, but trust me, the conversation he has with the patrons is brilliant.

aquaman doesn't talk to fish

This scene really gives us a sense of what it’s actually like to be Aquaman. Here’s this guy who for all intensive purposes is a superhero who has foiled crimes and battled threats to world peace and yet no one really cares. What makes it more tragic is the fact that he doesn’t really


anyone’s gratitude; he just wants their respect and it’s very evident that he doesn’t even get that. Hell, he can’t even sit down to eat his lunch without being harassed.

Aquaman tries to eat lunch

In case you can’t tell by now, this comic is incredibly self-aware; Aquaman practically looks the reader in the eye in some panels when he defends himself. It’s almost like Aquaman is trying to set the record straight for new readers who have probably had their impressions of him shaped purely by old


episodes. This comic really tries hard to make Aquaman a sympathetic character and it definitely worked in my case; I want to see him change people’s perceptions and get the respect that he deserves.

Aquaman is not amused

Now while I personally think the restaurant sequence is the best part of this book, other things happen too. We don’t get an origin story for Aquaman but we do get hints at one, suggesting that this has not discarded the previous continuity. There’s also the appearance of those freaky fish monsters from the cover; we don’t get much info on them, but it seems that after centuries underwater, they’re coming to the surface for food. Maybe they’re paving the way for the coming of the Ancient Ones; expect to see Aquaman fight Cthulu at the bottom of the ocean for the fate of the world.

Dark Ones

Wait a sec… Rock, the boat? Did they seriously just do that?

I highly recommend this one because it really marks an interesting direction for the character. Having a narrative that’s aware of how the public perceives Aquaman is really interesting and I’m curious to see where they go with it. I never thought I’d be giving a solid recommendation to an Aquaman book, but here I am. The writing’s solid, the artwork is good and I have no complaints. If you’re a new reader, this is a pretty straightforward story that’s easy to get into. If you’re not new, this is still a great read and a fantastic analysis of Aquaman which poses a great question: what really makes a hero great? Is it how cool his costume is? How strong his powers are? Or does it just boil down to whether his heart is the right place? That being said, this book really has a lot of heart behind it and that’s why I recommend it. Got anything else to add, Aquaman?

aquaman seriously doesn't talk to fish

Easy, buddy! I wasn’t trying to start nothin’!

So with that behind us let’s hope tomorrow’s book is just as good! Tomorrow we’ll take a look at

All Star Western #1

starring Jonah Hex!

All Star Western #1

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