I review Aquaman #23.1 by Geoff Johns, focusing on the Ocean Master as part of DC’s Villain’s Month.
AQUAMAN #23.1 – OCEAN MASTER
Story: Geoff Johns, Tony Dedard | Art: Claude St. Aubin| Publisher: DC Comics | Price: $3.99 (3D) | $2.99 (2D)
Set loose as the Secret Society’s plan unfolds, Black Manta is shocked to learn that Aquaman may be dead! Without the object of his hatred, how will Manta claim his final vengeance against the man who killed his father? Where will one of the most lethal villains alive turn his rage when he begins a new mission?
Before having re-read Batman #23.2, I billed Aquaman #23.1 (which I keep calling Aquaman #23.2 by mistake) to be my Pick of the Week and the best Villain’s Month book thus far. However, on reflection – the book, despite being a pretty solid read, and exploring the events in Forever Evil in more depth, it doesn’t just lack the awesomeness of Batman #23.2, despite its awesomely executed piece, mainly because it serves, like several other Villain’s Month issues – as a teaser to expect greater things in Forever Evil.
From how this issue plays out, you’ll see that Black Manta isn’t entirely happy with The Crime Syndicate. When asked now that Aquaman is dead, who he’ll turn his hate to – it’s an interesting question, even if the answer is somewhat obvious. It will be the people who killed him –in this case, it’s the Crime Syndicate. There are a few repeated scenes here from Forever Evil #1, but on a whole– Aquaman #23.1 is actually more than a fairly solid read – coming across as one of the better titles in the week and probably the second best Villain’s Month issue that we’ve had so far.
For the most part, this book was pretty good. The only problem that I didn’t consider on a first read but was more open to on a second was the predictability of Orm’s actions once Aquaman is gone. That, and the book felt fairly short too – mostly because we’ve seen some of this before in Forever Evil.
The book itself, like the General Zod issue of Action Comics, makes Ocean Master out as pretty badass character. Like all of the Villain’s Month issues thus far, Aquaman #23.1 really does devote the attention to Ocean Master, so if you’re worried that the book will be from another’s POV, or merely have others dominate the storyline with brief appearances by Ocean Master, then I can assure you that so far, at least from my experience, Villain’s Month really does what it says on the tin. An Aquaman-less issue in an Aquaman book.
The interaction early on in this issue between King Shark and Black Manta was pretty awesome as well, as it added a nice element of humour between the two characters and hopefully we’ll get to see them co-operate in the future, even if it looks unlikely. One thing’s for sure though, despite Aquaman #23.1’s flaws, it still remains one of the better Villain’s Month issues.