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Aquaman #20

Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artists: Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy

Publisher: D.C. Comics

This issue has a couple clever moments as I rather enjoyed the scene where Aquaman stages a fake death in order to keep the secret group from taking out the scientist who created the water-breathing serum. I also found the sequence where we see the sea-life helping out the humans was a fun little display of imagination. However, these moments are in the midst of an issue where we're left with precious little else that really grabs one's attention, as basically the entire issue is centred around having Aquaman discover that his trail of leads in the investigation of who dumped half of the city of San Diego into the ocean have reached a dead end. Now us readers get a little more insight into the players, as we get some sign that they are going to hide behind the mask of a charitable organization, but to tell the truth we're six chapters into this new arc and we still have no clue as to the motives of the villains, or even how they managed to pull off this horrific action.

Now the rest of the issue manages to set up the idea that this submerged city is going to be the new status quo for the conceivable future, and it's not a bad environment, as it comes ready made with a host of new supporting players, and it manages to deftly connect to both the surface world & Aquaman's ties to the ocean environment. Still, in the end I found myself less than impressed with this issue as it spends far to much time focused on the obvious little details, while the far more engaging elements involving his investigation of the city's sinking are given precious little forward advancement. I also have to say the new Aquagirl hasn't really been developed beyond her original characterization as a rebellious young woman.

The cover to this issue is a cute bit of misdirection, and it's not a bad piece of art, as the sheer speed of their movement is nicely reflected by the background visuals. As for the interior art Patrick Gleason turns in a pretty effective issue as there's a wonderfully effective scene where we're taken on a visual tour of the devastation, and there's some unsettling images to be found during this exchange. The shark attack sequence is also quite effective, as the sheer violence of this scene is well conveyed. There's also a nice almost poster-worthy final page shot of Aquaman that nicely captures the character's regal nature.



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