Friday, May 1, 2015

Aquaman #40

What are the odds that this book would get reshuffled in the upcoming Divergence relaunch? As someone who is buying only a handful of DC comics these days (Aquaman, Batman & Robin, Batman, and JL3000), I’m pretty bummed that Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier are leaving this book.

I’ve made no secret of my distaste for the new 52. I have many reasons for disliking it; the generic stories, having to pretend that characters have never met before, and lack of consistent or interesting characterization all make the list. But Parker’s Aquaman didn’t fall victim to any of those traps.

Parker gave us Aquaman as a king of Atlantis who was experienced as a hero but was still on his hero’s journey. More importantly, but putting Arthur against new foils and obstacles, nothing felt repetitive. Throughout the Maelstrom storyline, we’ve seen Aquaman team up with other heroes and take on a variety of classic villains. In every case, the evergreen interaction that Parker presented meant that this story would fit into any continuity. I found this approach so refreshing. I don’t’ know if incoming writer Cullen Bunn will continue this or not.

One of the best parts about this run has been the bond between Aquaman and Mera. They are the ultimate butt-kicking couple, supporting each other while maintaining their own personalities. Heck, in this final chapter of Maelstrom, Mera steps up to take on the big bad in a spectacular action sequence. Through all the familial strife of the last few issues, things never seemed too dire because Aquaman had Mera at his side. Judging from the solicits, that will not be the case after Divergence.

Pelletier is one of my favorite artists. I always say I can see a John Byrne influence in his work, so it has been a pleasure seeing him draw Martian Manhunter, Gorilla Grodd, and the other characters in this arc. Atlanna is a great addition to the DCU, half Conan and half DC Atlantean. Pelletier also excels at drawing monsters, making the fantasy-tinged Maelstrom a showcase for his monster design skills.

Parker and Pelletier delivered an action packed story with many good character moments, crowd-pleasing guest stars, and the addition of Aquaman’s mother to his mythos. That’s a pretty GOOD run, folks. 

1 comment:

Johan_L said...

After Johns' departure from the title I was sort of anxious to see what Parker would do next with Aquaman... turns out he's been more than able to finish it in a pretty decent note. The Maelstrom arc (and whole series if you ask me) has been one hell of a ride.
Just like you, I'm not sure the new issues will take the story further. Judging from previews from #41 it looks like some sort of reboot inside a reboot (?). Whilst it looks promising I can't help but to be pissed when thinking they won't follow this continuity... #41 (and I guess most Divergence titles) seems to drastically be heading towards the Futures End storyarc rather than continuing with the previous issues. Which I'm not sure I like...
The 40 issues so far have managed to leave more than one loose end to assure continuity in future issues by other writers (I'm aware the "rise of the seven seas" arc will be a JL one, that Chimera and Atlanna's open endings do not necesseralilly mean they have to appear again, but it all feels too important to just leave it out not only from the main series but also from the series at all).

Do you have any clue on what this is all heading to? I'm lost here