Tag Archives: aquaman

New Year’s Review of New 52: Geoff John’s Aquaman!

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This past summer, Political Jesus got SOAKED with a wave of posts ( so many puns!) relating Aquman New 52 and environmental justice! I mainly did topics relating to black American slave perceptions of nature and the physical environment and its suprising, if even a bit elusive, connection to Arthur Curry’s (Aquaman!) own experience as the King of Atlantis.

Aquaman

Aquaman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After having gone through the first 3 volumes (Vol. #0,#1, and #2) I would like to say that all-in-all, I ADORED the comics. I am very much happy with this attempt at blowing new life into a superhero that rarely gets taken seriously to begin with! From the updated cosmetic art-style to the deep , profound story-line and development of Aquaman’s back-story, I became enamored from the first pages of Vol #0!

 Vol # 0: As mentioned, Aquaman was given an edgy storyline with depth. We’re introduced to the fact that the often-mocked superhero, harbors a deep sadness for his father as he’s looking through the pages old photo albums with his red-headed aqua-vixen girlfriend, Mera. It is revealed that his father, who was once keeper of the lighthouse , was swept away by creatures , never to return again. What’s more? Arthur is supposed to inherit the thrown of Atlantis- the epicenter, the political capital of this strange, cold, dark, underworld! While I may have used this fact as an axiom for how black American slaves felt in during slave-holding America, these plot details , even this early in the series, provide a fascinating juxtaposition of a king who has come to reign over a region ( the oceanic depths) that doesn’t receive him. His rejection by the citizens of Atlantis and the ocean at large (the aquatic creatures) is evident through Curry’s father’s death at the hands of the ocean and one of the opening scenes where our hero is swimming through the ocean and narrowly misses an angry shark swipe, hungry for blood! Excellent, excellent plot set-up in Vol. #0!

Custom Aquaman minifig

Custom Aquaman minifig (Photo credit: Roo Reynolds)

Vol. # 1: More lovey-dovey between Aquman and his femme fatale – but one thing I can say ( and perhaps I’m speaking too soon…) is that there is no excrutiating display of affection between the two. I’m not one for sappy love stories so if that’s youas well then Vo. #1 shouldn’t make you wanna vomit or anything. Without giving away too much of the developing plot, the most memorable scene in Vol. #1 was Aquman at a seafood restaurant!  A wiseguy cracks a joke about Aquaman ordering fish, although he “talks” to fish… there are also a few stabs at his relative mediocrity to other D.C. universe heroes (#hatersgonnahate!)…  being a sucker for breaking the fourth wall, I found this amusing! Vol. #1’s pace was a bit slower than  #0  yet still ended on a cliff-hanger, not forgetting the main plot!

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Vol. #2: Definitely the most high-throttle point in the plot of the three I’ve read!  Vol. #1 was definitely the calm before the storm! The foreshadowed , anthropogenic gremlins of the deep “rise to the surface” of the plot! (ha!) Excellent action shots featuring the combative prowess of Mera and Aquaman as they try and fend of the creatures of the trench that were proving too powerful for law enforcement. Little does Curry know…these creatures are coming for their king… Staying true to the first two issues, Vol. #2 also ends on quite the cliff hanger!

So far, I would give Aquaman New 52 a stunning 4.5/5 stars!!  It features moments of exhilirating action, a captivating storyline rendering Aquaman respect in the D.C. universe and fascinating implications for the environment, politics, and even religion. Perhaps I’ll read the next 3 and do yet another review!

Also, if we learned anything this Summer from this update for Aquaman….

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A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Part 5, Aquaman

A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Part 5, Aquaman

Posted on November 2 by 

Check out the introduction for background on this series of posts!
Check out part 1: Green Lantern. Check out part 2: Captain America.Check out part 3: Wolverine. Check out part 4: Power Girl.

Aquaman

Aquaman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aquaman is fairly well known to most people, even if he tends to be somewhat a joke for many. While his power level and overall skill sets are mightily impressive, the land-based bias that we air-breathers have prevents many people from taking Aquaman seriously, and lots of folk typecast him in the role of the fish out of water (see what I did there).

Who is Aquaman?

 Raised by a father who ran a lighthouse, Arthur Curry always knew he was different, but didn’t always know how or why. The ultimate reason was that his mother was an Atlantean princess and his father was a human, which made Arthur a rare half-breed, but also ultimately, the heir of the underwater Throne. His abilities manifested themselves most strongly when he was in water, and eventually, he joined the Justice League of America as a founding member.

Is this character heroic? Absolutely. Aquaman is the first to dive into troubled waters when people are in need. In fact, part of the struggle in Aquaman’s comic is between his desire to help the people he is entrusted to rule, and also to protect his above water homeland where he was raised. (1 point)

Does this character represent the “powers” or fight against them? Aquaman is directly on the fence here. On one hand, he can be a radical eco-activist, who levels strong and valid critique to those who use and abuse the world, and especially its oceans for their own purposes. It is part the charm of Aquaman, honestly. Yet, on the other side, Aquaman firmly represents what amounts to the largest empire that has ever existed, given that he rules the entire ocean, and that covers 3/4 of the Earth. Also, when in his role as underwater king, Arther acts very much the part. He tries to avoid conflict, but ultimately often succumbs to the will of his people and often lets go of his strong morality in favor of pleasing this faction or that.  (0.5 points)

Does this character kill? Yes. Fairly often. Not very publicly. Not  ever for joy. But the myth of redemptive violence is in full effect with Aquaman. (0 points)

Does this character have a spirituality? No? I don’t think it is really ever mentioned that I can think of, but the imagery of Atlantis is solidly Greek/Posidedonic. Also, in the one or two times in the last 60 years that Aquaman is seen to “pray,” it is to Father Neptune. Having said that, I can’t think of Aquaman ever doing anything remotely religious or vaguely spiritual, besides uttering an oath before battle. So no. He is likely a nominal Neptunian. (0 points)

Does this character have an interesting (and sustainable) story to inhabit? Yes. Very much so. His constant struggle with his two lives breeds conflict and drama nearly every issue. He struggles as an outsider to both his peoples and you can really feel his tension at desperately wanting to fit in somewhere, but ultimately not. The fantasy and Arthurian legends that often overlay Aquaman’s super-heroic stories form a depth that many comics don’t reach. (1 point)

Does this character have a supporting cast that isn’t just around to make them look good? More than most, actually. His main squeeze, Mera gets almost as much face time in Aquaman’s book as he does, and often, she is a much more compelling and complex character. She steals the show whenever she is on camera. Additionally, Aquaman’s former team, the Others, have been making more often appearances, and they are getting quite fleshed out as characters in their own right, and are making more and more appearances, almost to the point that between the Others and Mera, the book might as well be renamed, Mera, her man, and the Others.  (1 points)

Does this character have a T-shirt I can buy in size XL? Probably a few. But the variety stinks.  (.5 bonus points)

Does this character represent, in broad terms, an outlook on life that I can support? Not really. There is very little about Aquaman I relate to. I don’t like his constant submission to the traditions of his kingdom, and I don’t care for his views of his enemies. Every other issue, he is screaming about how he is going to kill so and so because he did so and so. Aquaman is interesting, but far too angry and angsty for me.   (0 Points)

Are this characters powers (or lack thereof) interesting? Yeah. Far from the joke that many want to make him into, his powers actually are compelling. He can swim fast (like very very fast), he can communicate and control sea life (including giant sea monsters, perhaps even Godzilla?), he is super strong, nearly invulnerable, can breathe underwater, and has access to a number of magical weapons and items that are all very cool in their own right. Even on land, he is a force to be reckoned with. Underwater, even Superman wouldn’t stand a chance… (1 point)

Verdict: 4.5 out of 8 points

Tune in next time for a discussion of Luke Cage…

Aquaman Vol. #2 – The Trench, Oceanography, and Theology – Ode to #Sharkweek!

“Take heart, for I have overcome the ocean”

 

                In Vol. #2 of Geoff John’s New 52 Aquaman , we see our hero getting more and more intimate with his sea maiden – Mera. As Arthur digs deeper and deeper into his albums of shots with his dad and other shady characters , Mera’s curiosity heightens more and more. While this is all happening, however, there is a whole legion (that we saw at the end of the last volume) of blood-sucking, alien-like monsters emanating from the deep, dark trench!

 

                As in the last volume, we saw them initially confronting a group of fisherman on a boat. One of the unfortunate fisherman who had cast this line ended up getting pulled into the water  only to leave his blood floating to the surface- paralyzing his mates with fear! But little did they know…they’d be next…

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                Back ashore, while Arthur and Mera are oogling over pictures, they hear a swift knock on the door. It’s a police officer to alert him of the imminent danger of these gruesome trench creatures as their advancing front moves upon shore.  There’s a massive scene involving the entirety of constables as they gaze out into the blackness of the night and the oceanic depths.

It makes for a great story and certainly gives Aquaman the kick he needs in his “bada$$ meter”  to at least give him a fighting chance when compared to Superman or Batman, but it’s comforting to know that the oceanic depths that blanket ¾ of our planet aren’t quite as horrifying as Geoff Johns is illustrating- or ARE they!? A while back, Buzzfeed posted an article entitled, “Why No One Should Mess  With the Oceans” – and it makes quite the compelling case. I’ll post a few of the highlight reasons here: ( the following images are from Buzzfeed – here’s the original article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/why-no-one-should-mess-with-the-ocean)

1. The ocean is INFINITESIMALLY DEEP!

First of all, the ocean is deep as fuck.

2. This is what most of the ocean looks like:

This is what most of the ocean looks like:

3. It’s probability to our own benefit that it’s so dark, because these are some of the friendly faces we’d see:

4. Scientists estimate that up to 80% of all living things live in the ocean!

Why No One Should Mess With The Ocean

5.  No sunlight = no plants, which = nearly everything these preying on FLESH!

Why No One Should Mess With The Ocean

6. There are vents shooting out boiling-hot water with sulfuric acid – would take your face clean off of your skull!

It's a frickin' hellscape down there. There are vents of boiling-hot sulfuric acid that would take your face clean off your skull.

7. WE’VE ONLY EXPLORED LESS THAN 5 % of THE OCEAN!

The worst part is we've only explored less than 5% of the ocean.

 

Good googly-moogly – how could God have wrought such terrifying creation!?! Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for sure… but as bad and hellacious as the oceans seem, I believe the most terrifying showcase of creation is right on dry land – and even looks a bit like you and I! Earlier this week, GreenPeace had shared an image on facebook ( that I in turned shared) that seemed to really resonate with quite a bit of people.

Photo: More people die every year from falling coconuts than from shark attacks. But thanks to humans many species of sharks endangered.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>Text SHARK to 877877 to get daily shark facts and ways to help protect them every day of #Sharkweek!

John 16:33 ” I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

When we look at the horrifying images of the deep sea and all the seemingly unknown, there’s a sense of queeziness that might come over us simply because it’s all so unfamiliar – did Jesus really overcome ALL the world? One of the most interesting questions I have been asked is “Do animals have a religion?”  – was there, in fact, an Incarnation not only for humanity but for sharks,  dolphins, and deer? It’s a little hilarious to entertain such a thought, but I believe that the above passage kind of answers the question – because Christ came to reconcile MANKIND, He OVERCAME the world! As vicious as the natural world seems, mankind’s evil is unmatched. What’s most interesting about that assertion, especially in view of the Greenpeace graphic, is that environmentalism (even the most atheistic brand) affirms this  – MAN is to blame! Sure grizzlies will sever your appendages and pythons may strangle- but it isn’t the savagery of the animal kingdom that the narrative of contemporary environmentalism is so concerned with – it is the savagery of man! Environmentalism is concerned, ultimately with man’s ego and finding ways to reconcile it for the sake of ecological welfare.

We can say, then, that maybe the scariest thing about the alien-like creatures from the trench of Aquaman isn’t so much that they represent our fear of ocean creatures ( though the artist did a good job making them look plenty gruesome – and they DO seem to operate like deep-sea leeches) – but because they’re anthropomorphic – in a way , we see the worst side of humanity in them!

P.S. Oceanography pretty much empirically proves that Aquaman is the best D.C. hero 😉