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Aquaman #12

Posted: Monday, November 17, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Rick Veitch
Artists: Yvel Guichet (p), Mark Propst (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
As Aquaman finds himself locked in a seemingly hopeless battle with the Thirst for the control of the Secret Sea, the situation in Atlantis has become a full blown crisis, as dark magic has swept over the world's oceans transforming all ocean life into raging monstrosities. However, Aquaman is able to solve both these problems by simply giving up, as his surrender allows the forces of light to sweep over the world, instantly solving everything.

Comments:
Rick Veitch had a number of balls in the air when he entered this final issue of his run, so I entered this issue expecting him to use a quick fix solution that sweeps over the comic instantly resolving all the various problems. However, expecting to see one doesn't do much to quash my disappointment that Rick Veitch actually made use of one, as out of all the tricks a writer can employ in the telling of their stories, the instant cure-all solution sits right up there with "it was all a dream" on the list of my least favorite endings. What's more the big solution is dependent on Aquaman essentially giving up, which simply doesn't project a heroic feel. I mean, having our hero throw up his hands and surrender during a fight in which the fate of the entire world is in the balance is not the ideal method of selling the character to the readers as a heroic figure that you would want in your corner during a crisis. Now it was nice to see the JLA put in an appearance, even if they do little more than scurry about like Chicken Littles discussing how little there is for them to do to keep the sky from falling. The issue also does some nice work when it comes to taking care of the supporting cast that was developed for the book, as the old fisherman finally gives up the ghost, while Sweeney's crush is cut off at the pass with a somewhat humorous admission by Aquaman. Overall though this is an issue that resolves its problems with what is essentially a wave of the hand, and this never results in an enjoyable reading experience.

As for the art, Yvel Guichet continues to offer up some fairly solid, if somewhat unremarkable work on this series, as for the most part the story is visually easy to follow, but the big impact moments lack the visual punch that they require. I mean there a one-page shot of the evil creation, which is altering all the life in the ocean, where the art does a very poor job of conveying the size of this creature, and it also doesn't help that half the creature is off panel. The look of the merged Aquaman/Thirst creature is also a bit disappointing, as there are panels where this creation almost looks cartoonish, which in turn acts against the panels where it's supposed to come across as a dangerous treat. The sequence where everything is returned to normal is also a bit weak as it's largely dependent on the dialogue to tell us what is going on, and this is never a good sign when the art is supposed to be delivering a big impact moment.

Final Word:
The idea that a writer can resolve their big crisis, or in this case a pair of them, with a instant quick fix is something I've come to see as a writer essentially telling the reading audience that they couldn't be bothered to come up with a proper ending. I mean how much effort does it take for a writer to set up a problem, if such an easy resolution is waiting in the wings to solve everything once you've advanced the crisis to the stage where everything looks hopeless. Now I've been treated to this type of ending literally hundreds of times during my decades of reading comics so Rick Veitch isn't doing anything I haven't seen before, but it's reached the stage where I'm simply no longer willing to view these type endings as anything but the writer engaging in outright lazy plot resolution, and while I saw this one coming it's still disappointing. It is nice to see this book acknowledge that the JLA would respond to a crisis of this magnitude though, as far too often books seem to forget they are part of a larger universe, with their insular storytelling practices.



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