OK, so this is unprecedented…Geoff Johns has been involved in a storyline I’ve enjoyed for 3 volumes in a row…oh, and it’s AQUAMAN.
The only drawback is that this volume includes some Justice League issues that I’ve already read and apparently didn’t enjoy. So Ya, somehow that Origin issue of Aquaman was much more enjoyable, Arthur accepts who he is, meets Vulko (who’s OBVIOUSLY drawn in a way that gives away plenty…..) and returns to Atlantis.
The JL stuff was still kinda dumb, the reserves being called in was cool, but seriously, ELEMENT WOMAN??? VIXEN??? Hawkman and Firestorm, sure, Black Canary and Lightning, OK, even Zatana, but those 2???
Issue #14 of Aquaman is missing from Vol. 3 of Justice League, and it’s actually a pretty crucial piece of the puzzle, and probably the other reason I like this version of the story than the JL version. Here Arthur and Orm have an actual conversation like adults, and Orm comes across as perfectly reasonable and actually having some love/respect for his half-brother. When you put it into the context of the whole story of Atlantis attacking Earth, it adds more to the story and the shades of grey that everyone lives in.
Here’s a strength; everyone IS a shade of Grey. There’s no absolutes. As much as Arthur shouldn’t be attacking JL members, the JL members seem pretty dense about things (other than Batman, who’s just his usual self, but actually gives Arthur more leeway than I’ve seen him give anyone).
#14 also has a great section with Black Manta in Belle Reve Prison and his interactions with Amanda Waller. His actions here do more to build him up as a pretty badass mofo. When he tells Waller what he does (view spoiler) it only makes him a much stronger character in my mind.
When you add the events of 14 to the whole story, it makes it flow much better, gives a depth of understanding to characters, and adds borderline levels of Greek Tragedy to the relationship between Orm and Arthur. The JL Vol. 3 collection omits this issue, so we lose out on that whole part, which I actually feel is crucial to the feel/emotion/shades of grey.
Oh and to echo Anne’s thoughts…Mera IS a badass. She for sure deserves her own miniseries or at least a spot on Birds of Prey (they could call it Fighting Fish and crosspromote with Namor!).
So even though the difference between Vol. 3 of Aquaman and Vol. 3 of JL is but 2-3 issues change, it makes a WORLD of difference…I’d up my review to 3.5 stars.
Looking forward to Vol. 4 (I’ve already read it, so I’ll put my thoughts up now.)