Considering all of his strengths, it is a shame that Aquaman doesn't have a larger fan base—given that he's spent most of his time as the laughingstock of the DC comics’ universe. We've all heard the jokes and made more than a few. Yes, I'm guilty of it as well. What we need to focus on is the history behind Aquaman that made him the hero that he is. Here goes nothing, I guess.
Arthur Curry, also known as Prince Orin of Atlantis, was the son of the Atlantean Princess, Atlanna and surface-dweller and lighthouse keeper, Tom Curry. Because of who his father and the fact that he had blonde hair, known in Atlantis as the “curse of Kordax.” This left on Mercy Reef to be devoured by sharks. Thanks to his blonde hair and family ancestry, he had telepathic control over marine life and was able to persuade a dolphin to carry him to the surface, back to his father. He lived there for thirteen years, until Atlanteans, who had come for Orin due to the recent death of his maternal grandfather, killed his father. He eventually became somewhat comfortable in Atlantis, never shirking his responsibilities, despite Atlantean superstitions. While mocked by the general public, he is respected in the superhero community for his bravery, superior strength, speed, enhanced senses, mid-level invulnerability and intelligence.
Geoff Johns is back on another book. I have got to say, this may be his best yet of the new No. 1s. While there are numerous jokes about the King of the Seven Seas, this issue tackles his comedic mythos head on. This is the Aquaman you might remember from the old cartoons: proud—despite the constant snickering going on behind his back. The fact that the entire public calls him out on his reputation and his responses to those individuals makes for a much more compelling character. In the old DC, we would have seen someone laughing in the background and Arthur would have either shrugged it off or been completely oblivious of it. This is why Geoff Johns is as renowned as he is, because he makes characters and dialogue very real, rather than stiff.
From Brazil, artist Ivan Reis is one of the few comic artists I would consider being an artist for the sake of art. He has also taught comic illustration in his native Brazil. His most notable works are the covers and interior illustrations on DC's Blackest Night and Brightest Day sagas. His artwork here is the epitome of perfection. For the life of me, I can't think of anyone else in the comic industry better suited to illustrating this title.
Aquaman gets a 9.7 out of 10 for this issue. I am definitely hooked on this one.
Here is a link of Ivan Reis' cover work for this issue: