Written by Geoff Johns
Artwork by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
Most characters throughout DC history have some sort of world built around them. While each publisher’s universe mostly exists as a coherent setting for a majority of their books, individual characters bring their own villains, their own back stories, supporting cast and their own, unique set of problems to solve. Aquaman’s “character world” is one of the most interesting. Atlantis, as a comic book idea, exists as a world removed from our own – much like aliens, only living under our oceans.
Aquaman #5 is all about the disconnection between the sea and the surface. Instead of focusing on Arthur, Geoff Johns chose to highlight Mera, Arthur’s wife. In the ‘New 52’, Mera has never ventured into human civilization, which gives Johns a whole world – literally – to play with. Unfortunately, he chose to talk about sexism. Now, I’m all for tackling social issues in comic books. DC has a long history of making social and civil issues a part of their stories. But in this case, Johns misses the mark and it comes off as paltry. It’s a bit disconcerting, on her first visit to actual human society, that Johns would immediately put her in a situation to be objectified. It’s pandering to an idea that Atlanteans must have a bad impression of surface-dwellers due to bad experiences. Honestly, I’d hoped Johns would have taken a more experimental route with his Human-Atlantean relations.
All in all, it was still a great issue. Mera’s show of force is so much fun to read, and Ivan Reis’ artwork is fantastic in conveying the action. The water looks like it’s moving and has more density than normal, facial expressions are rich and textured, while the lanscapes are subtly shaded and colored. Unfortunately, exceptional art can’t save the story from being a tad boring. I’ll wait patiently to get back to Atlantis’ origins…until next month.