This issue opens with a flashback revealing a bit more about Aquaman’s upbringing, essentially that he was raised by a single parent, his father Tom Curry. His mother Atlanna was gone for most of his childhood, somewhere in the ocean.
Cutting back to the present, Aquaman and Mera continue battling the “Cannibals of the Deep” as they are described on the cover, the monstrous creatures from The Trench. The leader’s teeth are powerful enough to penetrate Aquaman’s chain mail armor! And as revealed previously, whenever one of these monsters dies, it is devoured by the others! It’s a grisly battle, amazingly rendered by illustrator Ivan Reis. The leader displays a bio-luminescence, like an angler fish, before the creatures retreat for parts unknown.
Despite the fact that Aquaman and Mera were pretty much solely responsible for fending off the invaders, the police captain still insults them and belittles their efforts. It makes no difference to Arthur, but irritates Mera. Aquaman pries open the cocoon the police found and inside finds a dog, still alive, and surmises that they were taking food back to where ever they came from. Taking the body of one of the creatures, he and Mera depart.
They go someplace Aquaman had hoped never to have to return to, the home of Stephen Shin, a scientist that Tom Curry had taken Arthur to, in order to develop his super powers. Shin apparently attempted to kill young Arthur for not taking him to Atlantis. However, his expertise is needed to study the Trench Creature. Shin does provide some needed scientific explanation for the creatures’ insatiable appetites and their point of origin. However, first he wants to keep the creature and then pleads with Arthur to tell him where Atlantis is. His credibility as a scientist has apparently been destroyed and he needs something to restore it. Aquaman and Mera plunge into the depths in pursuit of the creatures.
‘Aquaman’ is a comic that is simply doing everything right! The artwork is stunning and powerful. The battle sequence is brutal, energetic and gory. You can practically feel every blow! The quieter moments are expertly rendered and the story-telling is cinematic! I love the “soft” look of the first page, the flashback. That’s a brilliant effect! This book really does have me dying for someone to make an Aquaman movie and do it as well as this comic!
Johns is really cranking up Aquaman’s bad ass factor with a vengeance! No one can question his power and fighting skills after this storyline. “Talks to fish” my ass! And Mera shines as well, with her water constructs being used to maximum effect! I’m getting tired of the condescending attitude a lot of the civilians in the book have toward the Sea King. I hope their opinions change soon, as a lot of readers’ have. The scene with Stephen Shin is a centerpiece and possibly the most pivotal one yet. His scientific analysis of the Trench Creatures makes perfect sense and reveals that they are possibly an endangered species. Because of their voracious appetites, their food supply is dwindling, which is why they have come to land. Their saliva causes most of their prey to become paralyzed. Aquaman doesn’t even feel it. In addition to the explanations, there is further allusion to Aquaman’s past, particularly his trident.
‘Aquaman’ continues to be one of the absolute best super hero books on stands! Excellent dialogue, a gripping storyline and breath-taking art… it’s pretty much perfect!
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado