From the very start of his run on Aquaman with issue #26, Jeff Parker has gone bigger and better. He has explored Aquaman’s world, his supporting cast and his people, and has given them a new outlook that matches what the previous writer, Geoff Johns did on his stellar run from the very first issue, and yet has gone his own route. I won’t deny at all that I’ve been enjoying Jeff’s run on the title as much as I did Geoff’s. He has maintained consistency on the title month-in and month-out, which is what I’d hoped for when DC announced that he would be taking over the series once Geoff left after issue #25.
In the previous issue, Jeff tied Aquaman and Atlantis with Greek mythology by introducing a crazed Hercules and an army of the Giant-Born, the remnants of the Gigantomachy which ravaged the world in ages past. It is a fantastic direction for the series and by the end #30 we see how it results in a team-up I didn’t even realise I’d wanted to see for a long time. Jeff continues to be awesome, and so does the artwork. More guest artists this month unfortunately, but there is still a good amount of consistency between their work and the regulars.
I’ve always been fond of Greek mythology, largely because of the Disney movie Hercules, which I saw as a kid and then later also had a huge interest in the follow-up short-lived animated series. The interest bloomed during my high school years when I read as much of Greek mythology as I could, and that interest later developed into academic interest and in my freshman year of college I added Classics as my minor, studying Greek mythology on that level and even learning how to read and write ancient Greek. Fun times. Throughout all of it, if there was one Greek mythology figure I loved more than any other, it was Hercules. Just love the guy and his mess of contradictions.
So when saw that he was the new antagonist for Aquaman, I was pretty thrilled. I read an issue or two of Wonder Woman last year, set in the days following the Infinite Crisis crossover mega-event and written by Allan Heinberg that dealt with Hercules as a villain and that was interesting. Jeff’s interpretation is quite different from Allan, but no less interesting. In fact, I like it far more. The idea of a Hercules who has gone mad from countless hundreds of years of exile, perhaps even thousands, is an idea that appeals to me. And Jeff gives him a great run in this issue, expanding on the character and hopefully setting him up for a future reappearance, which I would love.
But that’s not all that goes on in this issue. Mysterious events continue apace at Triton Base and it is kind of frustrating that we are seeing so little of what is happening there. Perhaps it is all a setup for the Seven Seas crossover later this year. I wouldn’t put that past Jeff. And we also have an assassination attempt on Mera while Aquaman is off fighting Hercules. This was a surprising turn of events in that it happens so soon in the series, but isn’t all that unexpected either. It is nice to see that Jeff is maintaining a wide scope on the stories he is telling and writing about as many characters as feasible while still advancing the story in the issue and overall.
The issue ends on a very ominous note once Aquaman goes to one person in the entire world who could be considered a true expert on Greek mythology. No points guessing who. Hopefully that will set up Seven Seas as well. Meanwhile, I’m just loving what Jeff is doing. He hasn’t disappointed me yet and if the promised team-up happens, then I’ll be giddy with the pleasure.
Joining series regulars Paul Pelletier (penciller) and Sean Parsons (inks) are Alvaro Martinez (pencils) and Raul Fernandez (inks). The title has been going through a lot of guest artists of late, and not all of it to my liking. But it appears (via the grapevine) that Paul is struggling maintaining a monthly schedule, which is regrettable. There haven’t been any big awesome Pelletier splash pages in the series for a while and I really miss those. But as long as the series is on target for its release dates, I don’t mind all that much. As with previous issues when guest pencillers have come in, there are some inconsistencies on how Aquaman and his supporting cast are drawn, but not too much thankfully. And I have to say that I definitely miss Rod Reis on the title. Rain Beredo just doesn’t have quite the same sense of colour palettes and finishing that Rod had. Still, the issue was great, and Alvaro draws a really mean-looking Tula.
Overall, another satisfying issue, although there’s still a hint of something missing from the title.