One of Aquaman’s former allies, The Operative, one of The Others, infiltrates Black Manta’s base seeking information, but he is stopped by three of Manta’s guards. He flees, but not without sustaining some injuries.
Mera refuses to believe the jaw-dropping secret revealed last issue, that Aquaman killed Black Manta’s father after his own father, Tom Curry, died shortly after one of their battles. (He died of a heart attack, though. He wasn’t directly killed by Black Manta.)
Nevertheless, the fued between Aquaman and Black Manta is significantly deeper and filled with more rage on both sides than ever before. The pair began slugging it out last issue and continue to do so here, in a sprawling, brutal sequence, inter-cut with flashbacks to the two parents’ deaths. Black Manta narrowly gains the upper hand and uses another of The Others’ golden relics to seek revenge on someone that he considers a traitor.
Geoff Johns does another deft job here, giving the Manta/Aquaman feud some real depth and passion. In the old continuity, Manta killed Aquaman’s infant son, creating a similar rift, but that was well into their history. This gives them something to really hate one another over at the basis of their feud.
That said, The Others aren’t quite making the impact that I’d hoped for at the beginning of this story line. There are just so many of them, and they are just supporting players, but they’re such cyphers at this point, I’m not sure how I’m even supposed to feel about them. I guess they have potential, but it’s being realized very slowly.
The art is excellent as always. The action scene at the beginning, showcasing The Operative was particularly impressive and energetic. The battle between Aquaman and Black Manta was top notch! Ivan Reis used some really interesting angles and mixed long shots and close ups to create drama.
‘Aquaman’ is definitely one of the best mainstream super hero books out there and it’s impressive in its consistence. Definitely one for the pull list!
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Cover by Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis