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Review Group Week 278 - Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1

It's Aquaman this week, but it aint your daddy's Aquaman! OUTRAGEOUS!


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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

This week's pick is Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1, it's an event tie-in, it's Aquaman. The forecast is gloomy


 
Thefourthman

So, despite the lame mini bringing him back, I ended up liking Barry Allen and was sad when I was told that his book was ending. Second time they've made me care about Flash and then pulled the rug out from under me. But surprise, surprise, Flashpoint, the big summer epic from DC is all Flash centric and abit of a mind/time fuck. I love that kind of stuff and am even hella excited for massive linewide reboot in September (assuming Flashpoint was done when they gave this information out, cause Kubert ain't exactly Mr. Timely).

Then there are the mini-series, an onslaught of alternate versions of characters, given the time screwiness of the main series. Honestly, it all stinks of House of M (except thus far not as boring). While some have been awesome, Citizen Cold, Frankenstein; some have been pretty craptacular... I couldn't even finish World of Flashpoint, that was some yawn inducing shit.

This brings us to this pick... well I already said there were two awesome ones released this week, however, Mammon the Fool Breaker (who I am unsure who is) picked Aquaman for some fucked up reason. First of all, Aquaman is lame. Second off, Aquaman is lame. Thirdly, evil Aquaman is even more lame.

There are some neat plot points here like when his wife (whose name escapes me) explains why the citizens of Atlantis are so pissed off. However, the story format, while similar to others in this line, is near incomprehensible, mostly because I am unsure who everyone is and as usual with a book like this (read Fan Fodder)... I am given no reason to care. Obviously there was some kind of double cross, YAWN!!!

To make matters worse, the big teaser for next issue is "THE SECRET ORIGIN OF EMPEROR AQUAMAN"? For reals? WHO THE FUCK CARES? God dammit DC, here you are in the middle of one of the most exciting experiments in the big two in ages and you return to you must unliked well... fuck off, assholes.

The art is servicable. To be honest, I don't recall liking it or disliking it, so it must be average.

Overall

Story 0

Art 3

Total 3.

Guitarsmashley

That was literally the greatest comic I've ever read. It may even surpass Top 10 as my favorite comic of all time. The art of course is masterful but obviously that was expected since Tony Bedard couldn't write a convoluted/trite/ script if he even tried. I look back at some of the books we've "liked" over the years and this book easily surpasses stories like 4 eyes, nextwave and of course Blackest Night. This is just a masterful comic in a truly unique story that will be remembered how it changed the industry and the way we read and enjoy comics.

10

my real score is 4. Pretty much read that review and do the opposite

Rockman

Words cannot express how powerful this particular piece of literature was. And I do mean literature, this is easily on par with Great expectations or any of Shakespeare's finest work.

First this book stars aquaman. A character which has always had a special place in the hearts of comic book fans. A character so enigmatic, so intriguing, so fliacid even the staunchest of haters can appreciate him. Who hasn't walked around their house and though "Gee I wish I could talk to fish, they could do my chores for me and junk" Of course Aquaman doesn't use his gifts for such trivial things, he used it to ignite our atmospheres with awesomeness and I am left totally ignited.

Secondly I don't know who did that art, but it was like flipping through a photoalbum instead of a comic book, it was that impressive. When A-dawg (my ultra hip nickname for aquaman) talk that nasty shark a lesson I thought I had just watched a deleted scenes from Jaws or something, instead this time this shark was killed by an a veritable calvalcade of awesomeness rather than a cheaply made bomb.

Again let me reiterate this book is a massive success. It will change your life, it will make women weep in pleasure, it will make men cower in shame of their lack of awesomeness and it will unite this group if you let it.

I now support Aquaman for president of the United states after this.

11 billion dorsel fins out of ten.

**There is no conversion chart for dorsel fins to review group review points I'm afraid.

Fieldy Snuts

DC's attempt to make Aquaman into a legit badass: Combine a Namor personality with a Cpatain Nazi look and conscience. I have no idea what I read, all I saw was a bunch of scenes that were strung together with what might as well have been chewing gum to give Aquaman a piss poor motivation to flood Europe. The pains they went to in order to draw Hitler comparisons with both Wonder Woman and Aquaman (even to the point of using it in dialog talking about concentration camps and such) were amusing despite how it all stretched all credibility to points way off even the comic book scale.

Bottom line, writing was a terrible mailed-in effort that read like it was someone not even bother to put any effort in mailing in an editorially mandated book and the art was average..nothing special.

I plan on returning it to my store claiming I made a copy+paste mistake with my pull list today.

Story: 0

Art: 5

Overall: 0

Mammon, Fool Breaker

Cover: First off, it's got Aquaman on it. This is a good start, and it only gets better with the crisp coloring and simplicity of the drawing. It just screams "This guy is one bad Mother 'ucker and he is 'ucking with your shit." The cover doesn't lie, everything depicted happens in the pages of the comic. The cover gets bonus points for showing the remnants of Paris, just another example of France getting rolled over by an evil dictator. This cover just falls short of GL #50 quality. –(8/10)

Story: A bit difficult to follow, but with a few page flips to double-check; I was able to keep the timeline straight. I am wondering how the Reverse Flash was able to murder Diana's mother, but that is still yet to be revealed. Overall I liked the story. The only thing this story lacked (other than Black Manta) was Aquaman killing somebody in person. Ending every soul in west Europe is a good start, but that trident of his is looking a little underutilized. Also, my first exposure to Ocean Master is not a disappointment. Sadly, the lack of Black Manta really takes away from the overall story. (7/10)

Art: The best part of this issue is the art. Every panel is eye catching. His flagsubmarine which looks like a giant manta ray bristling with weapons is just too cool for school. Doctor Robotnik as an assistant? Yep! Aquaman even wears a cap in one shot, how freakin' cool is this guy? It just never stops. The bad aspect of the art is seeing my beloved Rome sink beneath the waves... It looked cool, but my favorite subject to study got washed away. *tear* -(7/10)

Overall- Loved it. Aquaman is already cool, but like Thomas Wayne being Batman, I like this version of Aquaman a little more than the original. I guess I just can't get enough of my villains. The lack of Black Manta really does irk me now that I'm thinking about it, but I guess without Aquaman being a hero, Black Manta doesn't need to be a villain. So, scratch that last statement of me liking Emperor Aquaman more than regular Aquaman. -(8/10)

Final Score- (7.5/10)

Starlord

This is a perfect example of how the DC hate around here has blinded you to what is actually a rather entertaining book. I'm on the fence about this whole Flashpoint thingy to be honest but I do know when a piece of the pie is done well, and this story is seasoned nicely. Some well polished art with a competent and enjoyable story gave me my monies worth.

Story: 8

Art: 8

My Score: 8

SilverPhoenix

On my journey as an aspiring writer, the one thing I've learned is to never write to your audience as if they're stupid. It doesn't matter what you as writer may think of the public at large, but the minute you're committing words to paper, the question of "If I was paying to read this, would I want to be talked down to?" takes priority above everything else. Failure to do so, can not only cause your audience to feel insulted, but can cause such a severe logic gap which results in your story no longer working. Something that Emperor Aquaman #1 ends up suffering from, despite the writer's best efforts to prevent this from happening. How so do you ask? All will be revealed shortly.

Writing and Story:

From everything I've observed from Tony Bedard's work, the justifiably worst thing anyone could say about his work is that it's merely serviceable enough to make the story readable. Wasted words, directionless exposition, and atrocious dialogue sequences are aspects that rarely occupy any scripts of his, with this issue being no exception. From the monologue sequences, to the dialogue, the writing keeps the reader engaged enough to understand the characterizations and motives of the characters on a base level. In fact, the only real base structural issue ends up being how one can misconstrue the time jumps if their attention is not solely focused on the book (something that the Super 8 Advert Comic adds to). However, it is that same issue that got me to ask questions, which allowed me to uncover the biggest issue as to why the story presented doesn't work as a whole.

Why does the story not work, you ask? Well, for me to truly expound on why, everyone needs to get up to speed with the important plot points this story presents. These points include (presented in Chronological Order):

- A marriage between Aquaman and Wonder Woman was arranged with the purpose to prevent war, only to have Aquaman murder Hippolayta on the wedding day.

- In response, Wonder Woman conquers the British Isles.

- Motivated by preservation, King Brion (Geo-Force) desires an Alliance with Atlantis, complete with comparing Wonder Woman to Hitler and Aquaman with Stalin.

- To establish his sincerity, Brion is set meet with Mera In Rome, only to be attacked by Atlatean dissidents, but is saved from impending doom by Mera, who sets the record straight.

- What Byron didn't know though, was that the alliance (and everything that went with it) was subterfuge for Doctor Vulko to gain the data he needed to build a "Geo-Pulse" Emitter with himself being the weapon's warhead. However, it is during this deception that Mera was murdered by Wonder Woman, to which is response was to sink Western Europe and Northern Africa.

- We also learn that while Aquaman was successful in sinking those landmasses, New Themyscira avoided such a fate, thanks to Tara Makov (Tera) and her own Geological Powers, hence why Aquaman calls for a concentrated attack on the Amazons at the end of this story.

With those points established, here are the questions that I think are important to this plot's integrity. (These questions are asked in reverse Chronological Order, with the last question being the most important)

- Why should Aquaman sink Western Europe and Northen Africa if the British Isles were his main target?

- Why would Aquaman even begin to agree building such an extreme weapon in the first place and in turn place Mera in such a predicament, where she could get decapitated?

- Why would Wonder Woman attack the British Isles?

- Who would destroy Themyscria, and is that event connected to the one posted above?

-Why would Aquaman even murder Hippolayta (during his Wedding Day, mind you) in the first place?

In this reviewer's opinion, it is these exact questions (with questions 1, 2 and 5, being far more important than 3 and 4) that not only cause Aquaman's motivations to become flimsy, but cause the plot to weaken to the point where it no longer really works. Even the questions that do have answers are quite weak, and add very little in terms of character motivation, which affects story credibility. To put it succinctly, this book suffers from "Blackest Night Syndrome", where the story falls apart against even the shallowest of analysis. With that being said, this doesn't mean that I feel that every story should straight forward and not have the reader ask questions. However, a good story should not fall apart under those questions and a great story could use those questions to enhance the experience. Emperor Aquaman fails to do either, and by doing so, it fails the effort that Bedard put into this book.

Art:

Between the writing and the art, if I had to pick any one aspect of this comic that made me ask "What could've been, it would most certainly be the art. Make no mistake, Syaf and Cifuentes work very well together in building the world where this story takes place. With the great use of color and the amazingly depicted backdrops, Emperor Aquaman has visuals that this reviewer considers to be very good, with some that even touch greatness. The first thing that holds it back from reaching that next level has to do with how rough the human drawings seem in some spots, with flaws that range from missing eyes, haphazardly drawn people in various spots and an air of Lifelessness in the action scenes. The second thing that didn't please my eye is that the earth splash page wasn't on the same level as the ones under the sea. In fact, the last splash page felt a bit rushed from where I sat, making me feel that this comic was under a very strict deadline that comes with event-mandated mini-series. At the end of the day, my disappointment with the art was far less stated than my disappointment with the drawing, simply due to the fact that the art showed those glimpses of excellence.

Final Thoughts:

When I get right down to it, even though this reviewer feels disappointed by this work, he feels very little in terms of venom or disgust. Unlike Weird Worlds #1, Brightest Day #23 and Iron Man 2.0 #5, this book actually felt like someone tried their hardest to put out a decent product. However, when you have story that only works if you're not willing to think about what's happening on any level, then it doesn't matter who is working on bringing this vision to life, it's just not going to work. Bottom line, despite the promise that Emperor Aquaman #1 shows in some places, the lack of thought as to how this story would work, ends up making the whole entire thing fall flat.

The Verdict:

Story/Writing: 3.5

Art: 7

Accessibly: 6

Final Judgment: 4.25

Eli Katz

The story was mediocre, filled with all kinds of cliches and stock characters. But me love Murphy's work so much. Me can look beyond hackneyed storylines.

STORY: 7

ART: 9.5

OVERALL: 8.25

Punchy

Story - One of the things that separates DC Comics characters from those of other companies, is that they exist as much in the reader's heads as they do in the page. There are so many different iterations of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern etc as a fan the version you come up with in your tiny fanboy mind may not necessarily be what DC wants. The version of Superman I see when I close my eyes is not Christopher Reeve, or Earth-2 Superman, or Post-Crisis John Byrne Superman, or Max Fleischer's Superman. It is all of those and more, all twisted together to form Punchy's version of Superman. It's the same with Aquaman, I haven't read much Aquaman, but I have an Aquaman in my head, he's got some 'Outrageous!' in him, he's got some Super-Friends lameness in him, he's got some Hook-Hand beardy in him. And now he's got some Emperor Aquaman in him. Because even though this mini is set in an alternative reality, it still managed to shed some light on Aquaman and make me view him differently. That's a big bonus for me, this isn't just some meaningless tie-in, it's got something to do with something that matters at least.

One of the chief problems Aquaman has is that he's perceived as being lame. He talks to fish, he's a joke. And there is humour to be found in Aquaman, but come on, there are some pretty deadly fish in the sea, and those aren't his only powers. I often wonder why people say Aquaman is lame, when the similarly powered Sub-Mariner is viewed as being a total bad-ass. A lot of it comes down to attitude, Aquaman is a fundamentally decent guy, whereas Namor is a massive twat, and therefore cool (that or it's the ankle-wings). Flashpoint rectifies this by making Aquaman a bad-ass, not in super-ficial ways like giving him a hook-hand or a water-hand, but by making literally wage war on the surface world (something Namor often promises to do bet never actually will do), by making him sink Europe. Pretty much all of Europe. Woah.

Now yes, this is an alternative reality, this is Flashpoint, but it's a handy reminder of how dangerous Aquaman could be. There but for the grace of Reverse Flash goes our Universe. I'm sure that in the upcoming Geoff Johns/Ivan Reis Aquaman solo series we'll see Arthur Curry being much more heroic, but this series will inform our view of the character, we know he could do this, we know he has an edge.

This issue itself is not without it's problems however, Tony Bedard utilises three separate time-sequences. The present, 8 months ago and 11 months ago. I found this quite confusing, and it was hard to parse where each individual scene took place, especially since he doesn't work through them in a linear direction. Jonathan Hickman's Ultimate Thor mini-series did the same thing, but managed to come together in the end. I hope this series will do so too. The timeline of this story seems muddled at the moment, there is a wedding between Aquaman and Wonder Woman mentioned, but it seemed as if Aquaman was already married to Mera at this point, do Atlanteans practice polygamy, or was it a mistake? Bedard needs to clear this stuff up.

Overall, this was an enjoyable issue. It featured everything you could want in an alternative reality story, where half the fun is spotting traditional characters in new roles. It's a base pleasure, but it's there. Evil Aquaman is a fun kick, and if you're a fan of the character I think you'll enjoy seeing Arthur and his supporting cast in a darker mode. And if you hate Aquaman, if you think he's lame and a Family Guy cut-away gag, then this issue might just change your mind. Yes it's an imaginary world, but as Alan Moore (sort of) said, they all are, and they are all equal in creating the Aquaman in your head.

Art - Ardian Syaf is a great choice for this book, pretty much because his work looks almost exactly like Andy Kubert, who is drawing the main Flashpoint mini-series, and this provides a nice sense of continuity. It's not quite as polished as Kubert, but it is very similar. Has he been given a book in the DC Revamp yet? He needs a good one.

Best Line - 'You are a metahuman King. So is my husband. It must be the most exclusive of fraternities'

7/10

Comic_Doctor

I don't know if I'm too late, but I read Emperor Aquaman #1 last night.

I really enjoyed it, and that's a lot coming from an old-school "Marvel Zombie".

Art was very solid, and so was the writing. So far I'm liking this Flashpoint world, and this issue helped expand it more.

Score: 8/10

Asmodeus Jones

I read this Emperor Aquaman book...Granted I haven't read or even paid attention to the events of Flashpoint so far, so I may be missing something regarding the motivations of the characters in this issue but I couldn't fathom why anyone was doing what they were doing in it. I couldn't make myself care to try too hard either, as Flashpoint seems like a throwaway bunch of nonsense to get The Flash to remake the DCU on Earth Prime or whatever and Sept's new books.

The art was mediocre and didn't do an adequate job of portraying the wide scope of the dire events. This reminded me of another dud by the competition, Ultimatum, which also was merely a lynchpin to shake things up over there in that fictional universe but at least the artist on those books did a better job of depicting large-scale and devastating events.

Flashpoint Emperor Aquaman should make DC fans more eager for September's re-whatever-it-is, because at least Flashpoint will be over then.

4

Amoebas

This book was a lot better than I thought it would be. I wasn't going to get this but now I'm intrigued enough to want to see what comes next.

Vulko - Wow. He's like Desaad in his evilness. Did not see that coming.

Story was easy to follow despite it not being linear and the art was quite nice. I'm actually a bit upset that this 'world' only exists for a few months now.

I give it a solid 8

John Snow

I haven't read any of Flashpoint, heck I haven't even read any Flashpoint threads. I was vaguely aware that it was an alternate universe type of story, but honestly I just didn't care. Emperor Aquaman did nothing to change that. So what if Arthur is an angry, vengeful dude? He's still the same boring dead fish he's always been, a flat-top and a scar across his face doesn't change that. Maybe half of Europe sinking means something if you're invested in the Flashpoint universe, but if you're not there's nothing of value here other than the 18 garishly amusing Green Lantern adds.

The art was the same as you would see in any 2nd/3rd/4th tier DC title over the past 5-10 years. DC must have it's own Kamino out there somewhere to be able to come up with so many artists that draw virtually the same.

Story: 1

Art: 6

Overall: 3.5

Stephen Day

By the end of this issue, I really felt for Geo-Force. He tried to do the right thing for his people only to have his efforts turned against him. his tear at the end of this issue made me really want to see Aquaman get what's coming to him.

I'll give it an 8 out of ten.



Woof, that was a long one. After all that, this book got an aggregate score of 5.48. So that's that. Next week we've got hot Viking action with Northlanders #41. 

Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt
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About the Author - Niam Suggitt


Niam Suggitt, Punchy to his friends, is the most humblest of all the Outhouse writers.  His easy going manner and ability to see and recognize the point of views of those who he disagrees with has made him one of the most sought after members of our community to resolve conflicts.  Although he likes all of you, and considers everyone to be his friend, Punchy would prefer you use “Niam Suggitt” when quoting him for the front cover blurb on your book.  Follow this wonder of a man at @NiamSuggitt, if you want to, he’s cool with you either way.

 


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