[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciller: Scot Eaton
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
The Shaggy Man continues his path through Atlantis in order to reach Amnesty Bay. This threat unleashed by N.E.M.O. appears to be unstoppable as the Shaggy Man only grows stronger from the attacks by Aquaman, Murk and the other Atlanteans. Upon reaching Amnesty Bay, the Shaggy Man begins wrecking everything in sight. Aquaman does his best to try to stop him physically. It is only when Murk confronts him that Aquaman uses his brain to figure out how to stop the Shaggy Man.
While all this is going on, Mera is still undergoing the trials to determine her suitability for being Queen of Atlantis.
Murk figures out what’s wrong with Arthur. Aquaman is too proud to call the Justice League for help. This sequence could be read as meta-textual. Aquaman been perceived in pop-culture as a joke. Here he is fighting that notion that he doesn’t need to the rest of the Justice League to save the day. Murk makes a stirring argument for Aquaman not needing to prove himself to anyone, because he knows the real Aquaman. However, there is a subtle shift as part of the lesson Aquaman needs to learn that sometimes you need to ask for help. Aquaman doesn’t necessarily ask for help as he utilizes his Justice League resources and has the JL Satellite transport the Shaggy Man into outer space.
This was a fast paced issue that increased in intensity as the story went along. It was established early on that the Shaggy Man would be unstoppable and that it would take something creative to to stop him. The resolution did not result in a consensus that Aquaman was a hero. Some townspeople still saw him as trouble and an outsider, while others were grateful. It didn’t bode well when Murk was unable to find a land dweller to help the collapsed King of the Seven Seas at the end of the issue.
While eliminating the pop-culture perception of Aquaman is a noble endeavor, it seems like this could be a bit of a rut for this era of the character. Exploring the perception of Aquaman as an outsider is a much more intriguing and complex issue. I am confident that this series will continue in this direction and not allow the former to be over used.
A nice conclusion to the two-part Shaggy Man story. Aquaman takes something away from this encounter to improve himself. A good balance on action and character, Aquaman continues to be a very good read.