You know an issue of Aquaman is going to be a lot of fun when the very first line is ‘outrageous!’ Whilst I don’t think the Brave & The Bold cartoon version of Aquaman would really work in the DCU, he’s still a brilliant take on the character, so Jeff Parker taking little bits and pieces from it just puts a smile on my face.
This issue picks up from where #28 left off, with Aquaman and Mera returning home to find that his Trident has been stolen. Thanks to his new Police Friend, Aquaman soon finds out that it was taken by Dr Daniel Evans, a scientist working out in the Azores. He heads off to get it back, which means Mera has to go to an Atlantean Council meeting in his stead.
This meeting serves to continue the growing sense of distrust between Aquaman and his council, but also to set up an interesting crossover between this book and Charles Soule’s Aquaman. The reason for this meeting is because of a strange burst of Algae in the ocean. Readers of Swamp Thing will be familiar with this event, and it’s very cool to see it reflected in another title, and for us to have a crossover that really seems organic.
Back at Dr Evans’ site, things obviously don’t go to plan. The Trident isn’t opening up a portal to Ancient Atlantis, instead it’s just opening the doors to the prison where the Atlanteans kept their most feared monsters. These monsters managed to use their will to change the symbols on the stone, so ‘Hell’ was changed to ‘Gate’ and someone would be tricked. It worked, and now they are out, wreaking havoc. Aquaman soon arrives to save the day and fight some monsters, which is always fun, Jeff Parker seems to have really amped up on the monster quotient of this title.
Just as it looks like Aquaman is about to save the day, one of the chief monsters goes back into the portal to bring back with her an even bigger threat. This massive humanoid figure is far too strong for Aquaman, and he should be, as it’s none other than Hercules. The back-story here is that the Atlantean King asked Hercules to come help him defeat these monsters, and Herc did so, pushing them into the portal. But the King couldn’t risk the monsters getting out, so he shut the door with Hercules still inside and left him with the beasts. Now he’s back, and with vengeance towards the Atlantean King on his mind… even though it’s not the same King! I like this reveal, it explains why Hercules hasn’t been a part of Wonder Woman (although the First Born is sort of like Hercules, maybe he’s Heracles?) and he’s a formidable foe for Aquaman, I’m not too familiar with the old DC version of Hercules, but I gather that he was a more villainous character than Marvel’s loveable oaf, like how he actually raped Hippolyta.
This title continues to be a lot of fun under Parker, he surprised us last issue with the High School Reunion, and he’s done so again here. Paul Pelletier’s art was great once again, this was a very action-packed issue, and he delivered that, and the look of the various weird monsters was very cool. He suits this title’s old-school superhero tone.