Aquaman #2 sees the conflict between the King of Atlantis and Black Manta escalate.
After the previous issue’s bombing of the Atlantean embassy, Black Manta and Aquaman continue their decades long fight. And whilst there are some places in the book that border on the stereotypical “We’re the same, you and I” style villain monologues, the writers manage to steer us away from being too predictable. Instead, the majority of the dialogue is actually quite emotional in places. With the two arch-enemies delving into why they hate each other so much, and how their conflict has almost become a game of cat and mouse. It’s quite a good deconstruction of rivalry between two very similar characters.
What the issue does particularly well is remind the reader that Aquaman is first and foremost a politician. He’s the King of Atlantis, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that when he spends a lot of his time with the Justice League. But he’s quite clearly a skilled tactician and negotiator. He quickly manages to talk down Black Manta when their fight reaches a stalemate. He even manages to convince him to hand himself over to the authorities. It seems like their back-and-forth style of getting revenge on each other is over… for now. The only problem with the resolution that the two come up with is that it doesn’t feel concrete whatsoever. Remember, this is a comic-book, Black Manta will be back at some point.
We’re actually quite impressed with Aquaman #2. The reasoning behind the pair’s conflict is reasonably compelling, and genuinely understandable. What also makes it a brilliant read, is that if you took the situation out of the world of superheroes, gods and monsters… it would still make for a brilliant story. It’s a story about the loss of a father, and taking back an identity whilst overcoming prejudice. Does that not resonate in today’s society? We’re not saying that Aquaman is a figurehead for social values and justice, but some of the themes in the story are easily relatable.
We have to say though, some of the dialogue felt a little unnecessary at times. An Atlantean guard screams in the face of a British Navy liaison Officer… just after she’s saved the Queen of Atlantis. It just felt completely out of the blue and completely unprovoked. It’s quite clear that the writers want tensions between Atlantis and the surface to escalate further. Although, the British Navy Officer has one of the best exclamations in the issue, that captures her britishness perfectly without being stereotypical.
Overall, Aquaman #2 is a very good read. A character that has been the butt of jokes for decades is well and truly back to an impressive standard. Hopefully the writers keep up this quality of writing throughout the rest of Aquaman’s Rebirth run, because it could turn out being one of the better ones out of the huge list. Don’t dismiss the King of Atlantis anymore folks, Arthur Curry is well and truly back.
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After being the butt of pop culture jokes, Aquaman #2 really shows just how good the King of Atlantis can be.
- Compelling Villain
- Arthur Curry: Politician