Aquaman’s family appear as Geoff Johns writes some family history, and kicks off the story that sees Aquaman clash with his brother and the justice league in the prelude to Throne of Atlantis.
Ivan Reis has sadly moved on: providing pencils for the Justice League, also written by Geoff Johns. We will still see his rendition of Aquaman in the Justice League, however it is sad to see him move on from Aquaman art. Pere Perez and Pete Woods both contribute strong art to several scenes. In particular, where Aquaman meets his brother – the Ocean Master – in a sunken ship called the Essex. There are flashbacks to their great-grandfather woven throughout these pages, and the visual storytelling shows us the origin of animosity between the “surface world” and Atlantis.
The ship’s captain drove his crew to hunt down Aquaman and Ocean Masters great-grand parents, and we are told a story of a vengeful captain who was completely overpowered by soldiers from Atlantis. Whether this is a warning to Aquaman, or Ocean Master showing Aquaman that he finds conflict with the surface pointless, is unclear. What is also unclear is why Ocean Master is kept in shadows throughout the comic, while the cover (see below) is a fantastic portrait of the supposed villain.
To return to the flash back story, Aquaman’s grandfather resembles the Aquaman of the 1990’s: he has a full beard. His blue scaled shirt also resembles a previous look for the hero. It’s great to see this small nod to Aquaman’s different costumes from the past decades here. Hopefully, we will learn more about this character.
Some interesting point are mentioned in side stories. The Black Manta is almost recruited to the Suicide Squad. He refuses Amanda Waller’s dubious offer of membership, saying “We know about it [the suicide squad]. We don’t like it”. It is a concern that Black Manta might be referring to a group of villains here. An Aquaman character created in 1967, Vulko, also returns. What’s interesting is that he is living in a Norwegian fishing community, and his neighbours are all aware of his Atlantean heritage. It’s a good example of surface and Atlantean people coexisting without conflict.
Whether this can work out on a global scale, however, is another question entirely.