Review: Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brandon Thomas
Art: Ronan Cliquet
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Josh Reed
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
A scientist retrieves a dinosaur from the past, but what’s the real plot? And What does Oliver Curry King of Atlantis have to say about it? And, why is Arthur Queen vying for the throne? Wait, what? Something is very wrong…
There have been numerous famous team-ups in the history of the DC Universe: the World’s Finest Superman/ Batman team, those Hard Travelling Heroes, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, the Flashes of Two Worlds- Barry Allen and Jay Garrick. But, Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #1 recalls a nearly forgotten team-up despite being included in the 1989 volume, The Greatest Team-Up Stories Ever Told. In Adventure Comics #267 (December 1959), the Green Arrow and Aquaman stories crossed over to form a team-up, “The Manhunt on Land” and “The Case of the Underwater Archers” show the characters switching domains as one of Aquaman’s foes becomes a “Land Pirate” and Green Arrow has to follow his quarry under the sea to capture him.
It’s not an obvious choice for a pairing at first, but these two characters share a common history. They both made their first appearance in More Fun Comics #73 cover-dated November 1941. While George Papp designed Green Arrow (and Speedy), Paul Norris gave Aquaman his iconic appearance. However, both were the brainchild of Mort Weisinger who would go on to oversee the adventures of the Man of Steel through the 1950s and 1960s until Julius Schwartz took over the Superman family of books in 1971. So, with Aquaman and Green Arrow celebrating their 80th anniversary this year, it makes a lot of sense to recognize this shared history in a series.
Like the aforementioned team-up from Adventure Comics #267, Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #1 plays upon the idea of the characters swapping locales. However, it’s not simply that, their names and histories have been jumbled as well. However, instead of wandering (paddling?) around aimlessly, the two know that something isn’t right. They know that something terrible has happened and they have to agree to come together to figure it out. And, therein lies the difficulty. Aquaman and Green Arrow are both known to be hot-headed and Brandon Thomas uses that character trait to provide a bit of drama, as well as a bit of humor.
There’s a tongue-in-cheek quality to the issue in general as the scientist at the beginning is using a machine to bring a dinosaur to the present through time travel. This screams Silver Age, and it seems to fit right in. The plot also seems to suggest that Thomas is homaging Ray Bradbury’s story, “A Sound of Thunder,” and any Bradbury reference is a positive.
It’s not entirely clear if this is supposed to be a canonical story or simply a tale that celebrates these characters and their shared history. What does come across very clearly is that it is FUN! With a short-haired and bearded Aquaman, the two characters also bear a physical resemblance. Ronan Cliquet gives the reader some efficient and dynamic storytelling that fits the tone of the issue. Lastly, or perhaps firstly, Marco Santucci provides the main cover with a unique approach showing the pair in a more familiar appearance as the sun flares in the background dramatically. The architectural setting is reminiscent of Renaissance paintings that would blend classical subject matter with a contemporary setting.
Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #1 ironically doesn’t go too deep. It presents the characters as we know them, but it doesn’t make any bold statement. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every comic can be or should be Miracleman.
This is a fun issue, with a fun premise that is more of a celebration than any sort of deep exploration of character. Fun comics are great and important. It doesn’t quite hit the highest nostalgia moments, but it does show that Thomas is aware of the history of these characters. You’ll enjoy Aquaman/Green Arrow: Deep Target #1 in the way you enjoy an old Silver Age comic or adventure romp.