Writer: Rick Veitch
Artists: Yvel Guichet (p), Mark Propst (i)
As Aquaman descends into Dreamtime in an attempt to protect the latest river goddess from the Thirst, we see the situation in Atlantis takes an unexpected turn as Vulko's opposition to the current leadership is nearly exposed. However his precarious position is strengthen somewhat by the arrival of Garth.
This current arc effectively lost my interest as of this issue, as while I consider myself an Aquaman fan, and I found the new direction intriguing, Rick Veitch seems to be locked into a repeating loop, in which the only thing Aquaman seems to be able to accomplish is to be on hand when the Thirst drains yet another river goddess dry. Now I could pretend that I haven't already seen this issue plot play out two times already, as Rick Veitch seems convinced that we won't notice how this issue is pretty much an exact copy of the previous three issues, with the only real changes being surface detailing. Basically we have the standardized plot where Aquaman races to the scene where the latest river goddess has come under attack, and he arrives just in time to mount a completely ineffectual defense, before the Thirst drains yet another river goddess. Now the location changes, and the river goddess exist in different environments, but it's hard to get excited when little else is changed. This issue also treats us to a rather self-indulgent exercise, where Rick Veitch goes overboard with his symbolic writing style, in what I'm guessing was an attempt to reflect the mysticism of dream-time. I will admit to be mildly intrigued by events playing out in Atlantis though, but even this subplot seems to lack any forward momentum, as the only real plot advancement is Garth's arrival.
As for the art, Andrew Robinson's cover is a visually interesting style, if somewhat overly simplistic in its delivery of the human form. As for the interior work, the Dreamtime environment is a mixture of surreal imagery, and oddly enough flat, almost unimaginative backgrounds, as we shift from a wonderful looking star-filled underwater environment, to a chunk of rock jutting out of the water. The underwater scenes in Atlantis are also a odd mixture of solid imagery, and empty voids.
The bloom is officially off the rose, as Rick Veitch's new direction seems to be spinning its wheels, and offering up the same plot over & over again, while at the same time casting Aquaman into the role of a completely ineffectual hero. Now I realize that the Thirst is supposed to be coming across as an unstoppable force, and when Aquaman does manage to defeat him his victory will seem more impressive, thanks in large part to the string of defeats he's been handed. However, this issue feels a bit like the third night of turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving, as I'm more than ready to move on to something else. It also doesn't help that Rick Veitch decides to open the issue with page upon page of purple prose, in what I'm guessing was an active bid to convey the surreal, and almost dream like quality of this latest river goddess' realm. Still, the subplot back in Atlantis looks like it's getting ready to pull out of the station, as Vulko's alliance with the mysterious jellyfish man is exposed, and Garth shows up, after having been literally jettisoned from Aquaman's plot in the previous issue.
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