This issue should actually be titled ‘Mera’ #1, as the bride of Aquaman steps into the spotlight. And just as issues #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 were used to identify Aquaman’s true badass nature, now it is Mera’s turn in the spotlight. Her ability to manipulate water has always been pretty impressive and in many ways, more useful offensively than Aquaman’s powers. But writer Geoff Johns really pushes her forward in this issue, utilizing her abilities in new, innovative ways.
We also get some interesting back history on the character, as the issue opens and closes with flashbacks to her dark past. (In keeping with the developments in ‘Brightest Day,’ she was sent from her home dimension to kill Aquaman, before learning his true noble nature and rebelling, getting herself banned from her home kingdom in the process.)
In the present, Mera goes into Amnesty Bay to buy dog food for the dog they rescued in ‘The Trench’ storyline. Unfortunately, it turns out the manager of the small town grocery store is a sexist cretin, who blatantly harasses one female employee named Jennifer (who seems to put up with it, for some reason), before the stunning Sea Queen enters the store. He hits on her hard, even putting his hands on her, until she retaliates in a manner less restrained than Aquaman would have. A security guard attempts to apprehend her, but she cuts loose, shattering large water bottles and whipping up a swirling vortex of water. Things spiral out of control very quickly as the town’s police arrive, guns in hand. She faces them down, until she overhears a report on their radio of a man named Ryan Slayter, who was convicted of killing his wife, who has escaped and is on his way to possibly harm his daughter. Mera instantly surrenders and allows herself to be taken into custody.
Once there, she and the police see that Slayter has done exactly what they predicted. She drops her ruse, snaps her handcuffs, smashes the door to the police car and confronts Slayter, who is holding a pistol to his daughter’s head. He scoffs, “You can’t do nuthin’ to me. I have a gun and you’re a fish out of water.” Mera mutters, “I don’t know how Arthur puts up with this constant barrage of unappreciated and unoriginal comments. I won’t do it.” She then comments, “Why does everyone think water is our weakness?… The absence of water is not my weakness. It’s all of yours.” Not to spoil things, but without a sizable body of water nearby, she has to draw water from someplace else. This is the new and innovative way of utilizing her abilities I spoke of earlier. She subdues Slayter, but becomes frustrated by the police and even Slayter’s daughter and leaps off in a huff.
Her encounters don’t leave her unfazed however. After she returns to her scenic lighthouse, she thinks back to her home and her father and feels isolated. Jennifer, the grocery store clerk from earlier, stops by with dog food. She gives Mera her number and tells her to call whenever she needs more. “I just want you to know that… we’re not all bad,” she explains. Mera smiles genuinely. “No. No, you’re not.” Aquaman arrives and tells her that they are going to talk to Dr. Steven Shin to gain some answers.
Regular artist Ivan Reis only provides breakdowns, this issue, with Joe Prado ably stepping in to finish the art. He does a fine job. His style is slightly different from Reis’, but it’s equally as detailed. The water effects are maybe not quite as vivid as they have been in the past, but it still looks good. Very good, at any rate!
Mera comes across as haughty, yet not unlikeable, which is a pretty fine balancing job, so kudos to Johns, in that respect. Her palpable feeling of alienation softens her up and makes her easier to relate to. As I said, she ramps up her badass-appeal this issue. She uses her powers in interesting ways. She clearly breaks down that neither she nor Aquaman are solely reliant on water and are not to be underestimated in any environment. I wonder if this issue is sort of a backdoor pilot for a possible solo series for her? I doubt it, but if she were to receive one and it was as good as this single issue, I think it could be a hit! I mean Batman has like four books. I think Mera could juggle being in two!
Written by Geoff Johns
Breakdowns by Ivan Reis
Finished Art by Joe Prado
Cover by Reis, Prado and Rod Reis