Friday, July 5, 2013

Aquaman #21

Six years after this scene during a Justice League Meeting: Batman: "Has anybody seen Aquaman?"

After that interlude with The Others, I'm not sure I can remember everything that was happening with Aquaman. I'm not even sure the last time Aquaman spent any significant time in his own comic book. Mera had just traveled down the Bermuda Triangle to be reacquainted with the reason she never wanted to enter the ocean again: her husband. Aquaman was searching for The Scavenger to stop him from selling Atlantean technology. And the Ice King was still not revealing his actual identity.

I think the only other thing you need to know is Aquaman has stupid powers that could be replicated by a pet psychic with a strong swimming ability.

I know, Aquaman Defenders, I know. There's so much more to Aquaman than his ability to speak with fish and swim. Keep shouting from the mountaintop how anybody that makes fun of Aquaman is an idiot and just doesn't get it and doesn't understand comic books and only wants to write slash fan fiction about Batman. You're the assholes that drove me back into the "Let's Make Fun of Aquaman" camp because those people are much more fun and way less judgmental and holier than thou than you! Well, maybe they're not less judgmental since they are judging Aquaman on some pretty shallow traits. But you have to admit that at least 75% of the reason you claim to love Aquaman is because of all of the Aquaman stories where even DC Comics treated him as a joke! "Aquaman rocks because he rides gigantic, mutant seahorses!" "Aquaman is the best because he forces octopi to make him sandwiches!" Hmm, that may not have been an Aquaman story. I think I'm picturing an episode of Laff-a-Lympics where The Really Rotten's octopus went up against Squiddly Diddly in a head-to-head match creating a delicious deli tray. They also may or may not have ended up having sex with Josie and the Pussy Cats.

Not surprisingly, the issue begins with Mera because her name really should be on the cover of this comic book. Not because her super power is so much better than Aquaman's super power but because she's fierce and doesn't take any shit while Aquaman stoically takes shit to the nth degree until I can only imagine he's going to go Full Monarch at some point. At least that would make him interesting! Although his ass makes him pretty interesting. Maybe this comic book should be called "Aquaman and Mera Have Great Asses."

Assassinate? Well, she ate an ass's ass. Is that close enough?

Maybe this comic should be called "I Love Mera" because she's got some serious 'splaining to do. Also, she has red hair. And she's totally not funny! So it's just like "I Love Lucy"!

Holy crap, now I'm poking Lucille Ball fans with sticks as well as Aquaman fans! Maybe I am an internet troll! I don't care about comic books at all! I'm just a loser Batman fan that's trying to piss off everybody else! Except I've never really been as into Batman as DC thinks everybody should be into Batman. Sometimes while writing these commentaries, I find myself in a weird place where I want to explain the way things really are and not the way I present things! But when I do that, it means I'm doubting the intelligence of my readers and beginning to write to the few people that stumble on these commentaries and overreact because I called Aquaman useless and Batman super rad. Fuck it. I guess I just have to accept that my love of Batman and hatred of Aquaman is real and not just satire.

But what is satire anyway? Probably just my true, unrepentant feelings bubbling to the surface and shitting all over everything everybody else loves.

Bubbling shit. I think that's an apt metaphor for what's going on in my brain.

Oh hell. Those fish aren't going to keep this kind of juicy gossip to themselves.

Mera makes it clear that she isn't married to Nereus. They were meant to be married after Mera returned from assassinating Aquaman. But now that she accidentally married Aquaman instead of assassinating him, the marriage to Nereus is probably going to have to be delayed.

Men, this is why you can't give women too much freedom. Because they'll realize that their lives don't have to revolve around you and your needs and they'll actually discover that they enjoy sex with different, good looking, interesting men instead of overbearing despots and meek comic book lovers who just happen to be the best looking overbearing despot or comic book nerd in the bunch of comic book nerds or overbearing despots y'all run around with. But if a woman is allowed to expand her boundaries and explore her passions and desires, she might realize you're not actually the One and Only True Love which you and your society convinced her she was allowed to have. The equality of women means you might not be able to manipulate the woman you have a huge crush on into being with you and only you. So force them to cover their heads and bodies and limit their movements, Men!

Earlier I was speaking about satire, and it just now reminded me of a post I saw on Tumblr where somebody mentioned how they hated Stephen Colbert because, even if what he was doing was satirical, he was still saying homophobic things. I just hope that post was satire!

Meanwhile in my Aquaman Comic Book, Aquaman finally deigns to make an appearance. He's followed a trail of discarded Twinkie wrappers to The Scavenger's submarine. It's time to end this subplot! Oh fuck, I just accidentally cracked myself up.

Except The Scavenger isn't on this submarine. He's inside his secret submarine building facility. I don't know what he's planning on doing with all of those subs. An army of submarines with no other support sounds about as useful as an underwater superhero in space. Perhaps he's going to invade Atlantis and/or Xebel. Xebel is the underwater nation that Mera is from. What? You didn't know that?

Down in the Atlantean Prisons, Vulko notices the current has changed directions. This means either Mary Poppins is coming or The Great Lie is over. I suppose The Great Lie has something to do with who is the actual Ruler of the Seven Seas and how Atlantis usurped the actual ruler's power. But Aquaman never gets to hear any of Vulko's wisdom on the upcoming disastrous events because he finds out that Mera was kidnapped from Amnesty Bay and, possibly, tossed into The Bermuda Triangle. And Murk and Tula and Swatt have a conversation where they each mention the names of the others so that I don't have to feel crappy about my inabilty to remember them. Also, they're definitely ready to head to the surface and rescue Ocean Master.

This might also have something to do with The Great Lie.

Mera and her ex-fiance are turned into popsicles mere moments after this. People used to worry about violence and sexism and juvenile delinquency resulting from kids reading comic books. But I don't know why they weren't worried about a rash of kids freezing themselves and their friends in ice! Because according to comic book logic, this will never, ever kill a person. Everybody winds up perfectly fine once the ice is thawed.

Aquaman soon finds out they were frozen by the Ass Ice King who, it turns out, is the First King of Atlantis! And he's a bit miffed that nobody but Vulko seems to remember him. But the meat of that confrontation will have to wait until next month. The end of the comic book this month reveals that the Atlantean pulled from The Scavenger's sub with evidence of a removed kidney really was a Trojan Horse. That's like, and I don't use this word lightly, literally the oldest trick in the book! Unless The Bible is older and then the literal oldest trick in the book would be getting the Pharaoh to believe your wife is your sister. I'd say getting some schmuck to eat a forbidden piece of fruit was older but I don't think that was intended so much as a trick as a "Hey, I fucked up so you need to fuck up too so I'm not the only one God yells at."

The Atlantean had a tracking device shoved in his Atlantean Liver which enabled The Scavenger and his army of submarines to find Atlantis. And nobody is left in the city to save it! Except for normal Atlanteans but what good are they? If any of them were important, Geoff Johns would have introduced one of them to us by name. Although Atlantis does still have that gigantic underwater flea that Aquaman spoke with earlier. Maybe it can help protect the city.

Aquaman #21 Rating: +1 Ranking. When this comic book first began, I enjoyed the take on Arthur within a world that considers him a joke. I actually like his reaction to feeling ostracized from both of his parents' peoples even while he feels the obligation to protect them both. Some of the actual plots didn't strike me as that interesting but this is still the first time I've ever been interested and entertained by Aquaman. And this is from somebody who has purchased the beginning issues of every revamp he's gone through over the last twenty five years. Unless he was revamped during The Long Hiatus. I would have missed that one. Being, you know, on Hiatus. And while some of these issues have come very close to losing my interest, Johns has always included a few truly emotional and touching moments which redeem those issues. But by the end of this issue, I feel Johns has created a world here that I want to know more about. I don't care how little Aquaman is concentrated on each issue because I'm curious about all of these characters. The New 52 has been a lot about World Building but I don't think they talk enough about World Fixing. Although I still hope Aquaman rides a giant seahorse at some point.


  1. Just how long exactly was that hiatus ha ha.
    You've had to have read the Peter david run right? Tht was the most significant personality change yet at the time, as ol' Artie was turned into an angry, hook-handed asshole. A change of pace for sure, but then the old AQ became sorely missed after PD left.

    1. Yeah, the Peter David run (up until, as usual, I became bored with Aquaman. And I really like Peter David's stuff!) is on the reread list because it's in my stacks of comic book boxes I'm rereading.

      The Long Hiatus was from the end of Cerebus to the beginning of The New 52. So about 2003-2012.