I loved that the first Aquaman story arc focused on a new threat, The Trench, but I’m likewise thrilled that in this issue, Aquaman’s number one nemesis, Black Manta finally shows up. He is chasing down a precog named Kahina The Seer, whose future-predicting save her from being skewered by one of Black Manta’s harpoons. She doesn’t, however see that the projectile is explosive. It goes boom! Nevertheless, she survives and the pair engage in a sword fight. When it becomes clear that they are evenly matched, Manta cheats and blasts her with his eye beams. He tells her that they are both seeking “that savage girl.” He vows to kill her as well as Kahina’s husband and children. She mutters Aquaman’s name, “Arthur” before Manta kills her and steals a golden relic she is carrying.
Meanwhile in the Atlantic, Aquaman and Mera are struggling to rescue endangered ships during a violent storm. Once finished, they visit Dr. Stephen Shin. Aquaman wants to show him the A-shaped artifact he found in the Atlantean ship he encountered in issue #5. (A television news reporter discusses Aquaman and Mera’s rescue attempts, but erroneously refers to her as Aquawoman and mentions her altercations last issue.) Shin questions Aquaman about The Trench, and he flatly states that he killed them, but Shin is skeptical that after surviving so many centuries that Arthur could have truly destroyed them. Just as Shin begins examining the artifact, they are attacked by the “savage girl” Black Manta spoke of, accompanied by a ferocious panther! She calls Shin a murderer and lunges for him, before Mera intervenes, tackling her and smashing through a wall of the house. Outside, Mera whips up a panther of her own, constructed out of water. The savage woman uses a power similar to Aquaman’s aquatic telepathy, utilizing the same “Vee vee vee vee…” sound effect. Apparently, as Aquaman can communicate with sea creatures, this woman can communicate with others, like this panther. Mera’s water panther strikes and the two woman race toward one another, before Arthur cuts them both off. The woman, whom Aquaman identifies as Ya’wara, tells him that The Seer is dead and that Black Manta has her Golden Seal, which upsets Shin, who steps outside. Ya’wara states that “If Black Manta is involved, so is Shin. You know that!” Mera, like the reader, is confused and unsure of how everything ties together. The last page shows a photograph from an unidentified point in the past, depicting Arthur standing amongst a group, as indicated by the title of this story, known as The Others. In addition to Ya’wara and Kahina, the group also includes P.O.W., The Operative, and Vostok-X.
Hmmm, so who are The Others? That question is teased to great effect here! As with the issues prior, this book maintains its level of quality as one of the best super hero books out there. Can squeaky clean Aquaman actually have a dark past that he’s kept hidden from both readers and his own wife, Mera? While only two members of The Others get any action this issue, they are both pretty fascinating! It’s too bad Kahina died! She had a lot of potential! As teased by the story, as well as the cover, each member of The Others possesses a golden artifact that are apparently pretty desirable. Aquaman’s, of course, is his trident, but as was mentioned before, he may not be the rightful owner of this weapon! But even so, we aren’t yet sure of these relics’ value or their true nature.
Ivan Reis and Joe Prado’s art remains some of the best out there. Top notch art, excellent super heroic story telling… this book is a winner! It’s really great to see Aquaman reclaiming his spot as one of the most significant heroe sin DC’s roster after being outshined by Green Lantern and The Flash in the past couple of decades.
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado