I recently finally got around to seeing Pacific Rim, and by the looks of this issue, so did Jeff Parker, as the bulk of this month’s issue is taken up with Aquaman fighting a giant monster (or Kaiju) that is in the midst of trying to destroy a city. Unfortunately it’s not Tokyo or Hong Kong, but Reykjavik, but still.
The fight starts with Aquaman in a mind-meld with the creature, where he discovers that it comes from Old Atlantis, and was under the control of the King, who used it to fight his enemies. Once the connection is broken, the fight still has to go on, and it was a lot of fun to see Aquaman go up against a threat so much bigger than him, and the way he defeated it was particularly great. I wasn’t such a big fan of the mid-fight flashback Aquaman had about his father, because that’s the sort of daddy-issue stuff that Geoff Johns always does, and I was looking forward to something a bit different under Parker, but it was well-written, and it did come about when Aquaman was just crushed by the monster’s foot, which was cool. As I said, the way Aquaman dealt the final blow was especially awesome, he tries to attack with his Trident, but it gets stuck in the shell, so he picks up a fallen girder and just hammers it through the brain and out the other side.
Of course, this fight wasn’t just for show, as it furthered quite a few subplots. The reaction from Aquaman’s fellow Atlanteans was not good, as this creature, the Karaquan is a legendary hero for them, and they didn’t like that their King killed it, rather than used it. This reaction seems to drive Aquaman and Mera towards a vacation on the surface. We also find out a bit more about the people who accidentally unleased the Karaquan last issue. They are ‘Triton’ and their newest member is Dr Stephen Shin, who is in the unlikely position of being the voice of reason, so you know they are bad news. I also wonder if the guy visiting Amnesty Bay at the start of the issue is related to them in some way. In the immediate aftermath of the battle, they are able to steal the dead Karaquan’s brain and take it back to base, and that obviously looks like being a bad decision, as for some reason, it’s attracting sharks, and one of their mechanics is out in the open water, bleeding… Although he might be OK, as Aquaman can still sense Karaquan’s brain, and should be on his way to save them. But of course, Aquaman discovering Triton probably isn’t what they want.
Jeff Parker’s run on Aquaman continues to be enjoyable, he’s doing a good job of getting back to basics with the character, and showing why he’s a good superhero, but also not forgetting the fantasy and political elements that did take over a bit towards the end of Johns’ tenure.
The art from Paul Pelletier and Netho Diaz is solid stuff, but I would prefer if just one or the other drew the whole issue. With the announcement of a second Aquaman series, the future looks bright for everyone’s favourite Super-Friend, now is the time to jump on board (or overboard I suppose).