Review: Aquaman #17

by Matthew Lloyd
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[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciller: Scot Eaton
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

Aquaman is on his way to addressing the United Nations when he again feels that disturbance in his Aquatelepathy.  Warily, he continues on to the address and experiences a moment at the beginning in which he sees someone who clearly shouldn’t be in the room, but is only visible to Aquaman himself.  He finishes his address and as he’s leaving, he has another vision of this same individual.  He follows the man who isn’t really there.

This takes Aquaman to Beckman College, where we saw Warhead last issue attempting to make contact with Aquaman.  Aquaman has to carefully disarm more innocents being controlled to get to Warhead.  Along the way, Aquaman learns his name and gets the sense that Warhead is looking for help, despite the use of mind controlled pawns.  He finally gets to Warhead and there is an explosion and carnage.  Aquaman believes this to be another vision at first.  He then realizes it’s real.

Scot Eaton’s pencils stand out this issue, giving the book a different look than either Brad Walker or Philippe Briones.  The adoring crowds gathered outside the U.N. hoping to see Aquaman represent a big shift in the perception of Aquaman within the DC Universe.  He seems to have quickly developed a Cult of Personality.  This could prove to be the basis for a future story.

Naming Aquaman’s telepathy with an “Aqua-” qualifier recalls the campiness of the Batman television show from the ’60’s.  It’s a curious choice, but is endearing in that it reminds the reader that no matter how bad-ass Aquaman seems, this is still a comic book and should be fun at its core.  Exploring the aspects of Aquaman’s telepathy is a way of eliminating the pop-culture derision heaped upon this power by watering it down to “talking to fish.”

At this point, Warhead seems fairly one-dimensional, with Aquaman’s perception of what’s going on adding a much needed layer to Warhead’s unknown motivation.  Should Warhead prove to be less than Aquaman’s perception it will retroactively sink this arc’s gravitas.  It appears that if Aquaman is right, there’s a bigger issue going on that will resonate with current world politics and even suggest a role for Aquaman’s “New 52” team, The Others.

As with any part one of a new story arc, there are lots of unanswered questions.  The potential is there for a great story that moves Aquaman even further into the realm of a political thriller.  It’s been a theme from issue #1, and it seems that it will continue for the good of the character.

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