Aquaman vs. Black Manta, who ya got? Is it good?
Aquaman #2 (DC Comics)
Rebirth continues with issue #2 this month and the official DC Comics synopsis reads:
“THE DROWNING,” Chapter Two: In issue #2, unity between land and sea is Arthur Curry’s greatest dream. But Black Manta has a dream too: to destroy everything Aquaman stands for, starting with the sea king’s Atlantean embassy and everyone in it.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Dan Abnett has fashioned a fantastic new direction for Aquaman as he attempts to be a superhero, but also manage an embassy for his people. The fact that he’s brought in a terrorist attack to rattle Aquaman’s cage is incredibly poignant given the news these days, which makes this series all the more meaningful.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Sweet, sweet memories.
The throwdown continues in this issue, but before we get to that Abnett reminds us why Aquaman and Black Manta fight at all. We see a flashback when Aquaman (though not Aquaman at the time) killed Manta’s father, which created his rage that just won’t go away. It’s important that we are reminded of this as their battle ends in an unexpected way. Given Aquaman’s new direction as an ambassador it makes sense that he quells the battle the way he does and Abnett should be given credit as it works.
Much of this issue is a fight sequence, though there are some important moments for a new human character to shine too, and it’s easy to follow and exciting. The last issue had a page or two of action that was a bit hard to grasp what was going on, but Eaton does well with backgrounds–and flowing water–to help us understand spatially what is going on. There’s one moment that’s truly badass too, where Aquaman shoves a spike out of his body by slamming his body against a wall. It’s brutal, and works due to the art looking good.
It can’t be perfect can it?
You will need to sort of forget all the times Black Manta and Aquaman fought if you’re going to buy into the choices made near the end. Manta is basically a very sad and broken man due to the loss of his father, so it makes some sense, but given how many times these characters have fought it does seem too easy for the characters to make the decisions they do. Is it earned? For the most part, but not so much if you take into account how far they’ve gone fighting each other in the past. This is post-New 52 though and given that I think it makes sense.
This issue is largely action, barely exploring the ramifications of the damage to the embassy, where Black Manta is mentally when his new direction is revealed, and exploring the supporting characters. It leaves you wanting more.
He’s just trying to take your temperature!
Is It Good?
If you’re looking for an emotional action sequence you can’t do better. The issue is heavy on the action though, leaving you wanting more.
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