Aquaman. Issue 6. Comic Book Review!

Don’t call her Aquawoman!

Aquaman #6!
(Johns. Reis. Prado!)

Wow.

Since I started reviewing comics here at MCM Buzz, I’ve read a lot of good and a fair few mediocre. Even given some positive reviews. Which makes this difficult, as this comic almost necessitates a complete overhaul of how I grade the material that I read and what criteria I use in terms of analysis.

I mean… it’s just ridiculous.

And by ridiculous, I mean awesome. It’s a word that’s banded around a lot nowadays, but the word really does apply here in every stretch of the imagination. And yet there are other words that apply. Words such as:

Heartwarming
Tragic

And:

Hilarious

This comic manages to do what most fail to do, and tick all the boxes of the emotional spectrum within one specific story that starts with the first page and finishes that very same issue. An impressive feat to be sure. It’s especially impressive considering that the focus point is a supporting character (lead female in actuality, but to non-Aquaman fans she’s not that big a character). She is the one most people mock, in story and not.

With the first five issues of Aquaman, and the last couple of Justice League issues, Geoff Johns has sought to really bring out the positives of Aquaman while hiding the negatives — something all comic-books should do, and one of my core problems with a fair few DCNu titles is that they don’t bother.

Here Johns turns the tables and chooses to put the centre spotlight on Mera, following a day in her life that’s interspersed with flashbacks to before, and just after, she met Arthur Curry. And it’s absolutely fantastic, a winning character study that puts across how out of her depth Mera is when compared to Arthur, while also asserting that she has a good heart and merely can’t stand to see a young woman being manipulated by an insidious elder; a clear allusion to Mera’s relationship with her father, as hinted at in the flashbacks.

The reason this succeeds so well is that the art and writing are perfectly in sync in showcasing every postive Mera puts out, from her slightly ethereal beauty to the mastery of water, pushing past the anger boiling beneath the surface while allowing a hint at the end that she loves humanity when she truly sees it, and that she’ll fight for their freedoms because of what they’re capable of.

She also gets many a bad-ass moment, from casually snapping handcuffs to depriving a criminal of his water supply. This moment also reinforces Mera’s true character, as she sees a young girl, as scared of her father as Mera was, choose love over vengeance. Something that likely hits home with Mera given the likely implications of how her relationship with her father ended.

And the penultimate scene, with the young woman she helped? Beautiful. Just beautiful.

I have to rank this as one of the best comics I’ve ever read. In Blackest Night, Geoff Johns did horror, in Brightest Day he did hope… and here he does something better. He’s written a love-letter to a character. Just wonderful.

Grade:  A++

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