DC’s and Geoff Johns’ “Aquaman” No. 1 is exactly what a No. 1 issue should be — “New 52″ or not.
It’s the first of the new No. 1′s (of admittedly few) I’ve read this month that covers all the bases of what this mass relaunch promised to accomplish.
It starts out dynamically. It firmly establishes the character’s place in the universe. It touches on his origin without dwelling on it. It sets up a potentially exciting story arc. It has humor and drama. It’s new-reader friendly without being dumbed down for longtime readers. Ivan Reis art is fantastic.
My only complaint is that it’s not three times longer.
“Justice League” came close but dragged a bit. “Wonder Woman” didn’t have much of Wonder Woman in it, and the first shot we got of her was naked in bed. Puh-lease. “Legion Lost” and “Legion of Super-Heroes” were cool, but “Legion Lost” had extremely faulty internal logic, and neither were friendly to new readers at all. As a longtime reader, I liked “LSH” a lot, but it wasn’t a No. 1. “Demon Knights” was neat for fantasy lovers but nothing special. And I’ve still got this week’s “The Savage Hawkman” and “Justice League Dark” in my bag.
But I couldn’t wait to read “Aquaman,” and I wasn’t disappointed.
In the story, he helps the Boston P.D. catch bank robbers but doesn’t get an respect. He tries to order fish and chips at a coastal diner and is inundated with stupid people — a great comment on our celebrity-obsessed culture and growing lack of basic manners in the say-anything-you-want Internet age.
We also get to see Mera and watch as Aquaman makes a life-changing decision.
And we see the vicious new threat the Trench. It’s a new bad guy instead of falling back on an old one that might make Johns feel beholden to waste space with exposition.
And most of all in this sampling, Johns seems to really get him. At least in the way I do. He’s smart. He’s powerful. He’s underestimated. People laugh at him, but he knows who he is and what he’s doing. He’s a hero because he’s a good … guy. Not just a good guy.
My only question is how this book fits into the DCnU timeline. This doesn’t seem like an Aquaman who at the point he seems to be here would be a member of the Justice League. Maybe, but not necessarily. But he’s obviously and established hero, so he must be. I look forward to finding out.
I haven’t been this tickled by a comic in a long time.