Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Black is Back


Manta, that is.

He's spiffy. He's wicked. He's radical.
You think his ideology's outmoded?
You think his costume's silly?
You think he's "lame"?

Look at the man. I've got news for you:
Black Manta doesn't give a flying fish what you think.

While you're laughing at him, he's planning on forcing you to fight your best friend to the death as your baby suffocates in front of your eyes.

If you aren't reading Aquaman, then do. It's all coming together.
Sub Diego and Atlantis. Aquaman's son, Koryak (woof!), and Lorena the Aquagirl. ProGeneTech and Black Manta. Esther Maris and Arthur Curry. Captain Malrey and Dr. Geist.

The labcoat is off, and Aquaman's mythos has turned a corner with this issue. It's not that anything huge happened (except the seamonster attacking the pipeline, but you'll have to read that for yourself), but Aquaman's world just seemed to finally all click into place.

When I read Aquaman this month, it finally felt like it feels when you read a Batman story: it cohered. You know the character, you know his world and the other players, but you still don't know what's going to happen.

Rick Veitch, Peter David, Grant Morrision, et al., were focused, I think, on trying to turn Aquaman into some other character (He's King Arthur underwater! He's the Mysticky Aquarian! He's the Rule of 3/4 of the Planet! He's the conceptual love-child of Namor and Captain Ahab!) because, at heart, they are embarrassed about what he is.

He's Aquaman. He's got power over the things that live in the sea and he protects people and things that live in, on, or by the sea. That's quite a lot and it's quite enough and his monthly title now proves that.

Despite some editorial/authorial bumps along the way ("Gibberish!"), DC finally has people who are building a world, a story around Aquaman himself (thanks to WILL PFEIFFER, whose genius made it all possible and who has gotten too little recognition and gratitude for it), instead of making up some story they find interesting while trying to shoe-horn Aquaman in as the supposed central character.

And, lo and beyond, build a mythos around a character instead of trying to graft him onto one and it actually works. Someone should write about that.


2 comments:

Brian Cronin said...

Yeah, Will Pfeiffer ruled.

I totally agree...it really WAS an example of coming up with a story that fit Aquaman rather than forcing Aquaman to fit into a story.

Good call.

Kris said...

I still want more surface people involved in Aquaman, but the actual purpose and industry going on in this issue was such a relief.

Although I really liked the *idea* of Sub Diego, I found it too much like a claustrophobic post-Apocalyptic Gotham...without the sunny bits. The thing I found most strange about the recent serial killer story is that more people don't flip out and kill themselves and others. As if Aquaman were presiding over Arkham and it's inmates!

These people need an actual society to be threatened, in order for Aquaman to protect it.