I can hardly believe that it has already been a month since Aquaman #31, in which we got to see a really cool honest-to-god fight between two of DC’s biggest superheroes in the New 52, Swamp Thing and Aquaman. It was a pretty damn good story that showed off both the heroes in a good light and justified both their reactions to other. But one thing has been percolating in the back of the main story since Jeff Parker took over, something quite mysterious on its own and that is what comes to bloom in this week’s Aquaman #32.
In the new issue, we finally get a good sense of what is happening at Triton Base. Or rather, what happens at Triton Base when the scientists gathered there finally lose control of what they were building, and thus Aquaman has yet another monster to bring down before he can return home to Atlantis in time for dinner. As great as the storyline was here, I was a bit confused by the pacing and the way that Jeff Parker planned things out. But at the same time, his writing kept me interested and the artwork is the best that it has ever been in the series. Or close to it even.
There are three narratives in this issue. The first deals with Mera and Tula as they investigate the assassination attempts on the former and the disgruntlement felt by certain members of the Atlantis’ defense forces. The second deals with the shocking events at Triton Base, events that threaten to destabilize the power balance in the world’s oceans yet again. And the third deals with Aquaman’s response to the second narrative.
The action in this issue is unrepentant and it continues on without pause all the way through to the end. And you know what? I loved that. Jeff Parker hasn’t shied away from the big action sequences thus far and this issue in particular is no stranger to that. There are lots of action scenes here with a lot of variety between them so none of it feels tired or cliched or just there for the hell of it. Jeff has been building up a really intricate story with lots of different characters and this is where they all start to come together, some more obviously than others.
The best parts of this issue are easily the ones where we meet our new sea-monster, a genetically engineered being named Chimera who has taken to quite a dislike for the current King of Atlantis. A few issues ago a diver from Triton Base nearly died when attacked by sharks (IIRC) and since then he’s been under the care of the scientists at Triton Base, one of whom was quite unscrupulous in the kind of tests and experiments he ran on the half-dead Coombs. Now it all comes together and the “reborn” Coombs is not happy. He lashes out, and he lashes out hard.
Then again, the scenes between Mera and Tula were awesome as well. Girl power all the way in those scenes. I love how Jeff Parker has added on top of all that Geoff Johns built up during his run on the title and that he has continued to developed these characters. They are like a really serious buddy cop team, and I love how the two of them interact and all.
The pacing of the issue was a bit off, but once you get past that, you really start to see how Jeff Parker brings together all the different little smaller subplots that was seeding in the previous issue, and how it all comes back to Aquaman, aka Arthur Curry.
Speaking of the art, Paul Pelletier goes solo as the penciller after a long time, and it is most glorious indeed for he has come to define the look of this series just as Ivan Reis and Joe Prado did before him. Aquaman looks awesome. Mera and Tula look awesome. The new monster, Chimera, looks positively freaky. The colours are just perfect. The inks are the same. Honestly, having Paul back full-time is like the best thing that could have happened to this series in the last couple months or so, and it is easy to ignore the faults, such as they are.
Jeff Parker has continued to redefine Aquaman has he sees fit after considering many different options, and Aquaman #32 is one of the best examples of that.