‘Aquaman: The Throne of Atlantis’ Review: Yes, Aquaman is Cool

Posted in The Screening Room by - December 12, 2014

The third volume of Geoff Johns run at New 52 Justice League is a crossover event with Aquaman called The Throne of Atlantis which brings the King of the Seven Seas and his mythology to the mainstream.

I’ll avoid making “Oh, Aquaman is the star?” jokes because, not only are they played out and lame, but Johns makes them for us during the story. This brings a little lighthearted humor to an otherwise more emotion filled story. We get Johns’ take on a new Aquaman, which if you read any of his individual run, is a total badass. But, his perception in the world is the same as it is out of the comic circles, he’s more of an afterthought, a lame hero.

Johns has a knack for writing a compelling story that draws the reader in. There is a US Naval ship that is remotely hacked, and it’s missiles are sent into the middle of the ocean, striking Atlantis. Aquaman’s brother, Orm, is King of Atlantis and he takes this as declaration of war by the surface world, and launches a counter attack on the East Coast based on some war tactics he wrote up with his brother years ago.

Orm, otherwise known as Ocean Master, has always been more of a B-list villian, but Geoff Johns does a great job of bringing some emotion to the character. In the past, Orm was a purely evil villian, who hated the surface world and was a pretty one dimensional villian. Here, he is a reluctant leader of Atlantis. He wants Aquaman to be the King, and has a serious love for his brother. At the end of it, Johns really makes you almost feel bad for Orm.

Since this is a crossover event, there are huge set pieces featuring Batman, Superman, and other big name DC characters. We get scenes of the League fighting waves of Atlanteans, in well drawn  sequences. In addition to getting great shots of Aquaman in action vs Ocean Master, we get Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in battle. Later in the story, we even get new League members such as Green Arrrow, Black Canary, Zattanna showing up as well.

There is a fair amount of excellent character interaction during all the events that unfold. Mera, Aquaman’s significant other, gets interesting sequences and we get interaction between Batman and Aquaman, which has always been an undervalued relationship. Cyborgs story gets it’s own progression in the middle of everything, and the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship is delved into a bit more as well.

Everything ends with a bit of a twist as we find out who was truly behind the missile launches that sparked everything, and Aquaman takes back his throne after defeating Orm. This story definitely showcases Johns’ ability to deliver a complex narrative sprinkled in with character development to get you invested in the overarching story.

As I said before, Johns take on Aquaman is a must read, and this is the first run of New 52 Justice League that really showcases his skills as a creative writer for the DC universe.

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