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Aquaman #21

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artists: Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy

Publisher: D.C. Comics

This issue doesn't really doesn't really break any new ground, but it does manage to tell it's story in an effective, and at times highly engaging manner that I was genuinely entertained. First off I have to say that the one thing that Aquaman has always been in dire need of is a larger roster of villains in his Rogues Gallery, as once you move past the Black Manta and Ocean Master, you are left with a steady string of third-raters, and this issue deserves kudos for the big baddie that it offers up, as he gets a couple wonderfully disturbing villainous moments, with the constricting force field sequence being a highlight reel moment. In fact if there's one thing that could reenergize the interest in Aquaman's corner of the DCU is a steady influx of villains that actually leave one deeply unsettled. The issue also manages to do a pretty fair job of playing with the notion that Aquaman is comfortable with playing the leadership role, as there's a solid sequence where we see the character runs up against the plodding progress of the bureaucratic machine, and he makes it very clear that he's not going to stand for it.

We also get a fun sequence where we see Aquaman takes on a pair of looters, and while the character is never in any real danger, this scene does make for a nice display of the character's ability to control the creatures of the deep. The scene where Aquaman works to save the life of an infant who is born without the ability the breath underwater also does an effective job of reminding readers of the complications that this new status quo would produce. In fact if nothing else I was a little disappointed that the book didn't spend a little more time playing up the angst of the idea that the mother couldn't be near her newly born infant.

Patrick Gleason does a very effective job of selling the more disturbing elements of this issue, as the opening scene where a man is tortured by the main villain was nicely unsettling. The sequence where a criminal who objects to the main villain's authority is crushed by a force-field was also a great display of power, and I can't wait for Aquaman to run up against this element of the villain's ability. The sense of urgency when Aquaman races to the surface with the drowning infant was also well realized, as was the panel where the looter turns his gun on Aquaman's cetacean friend. The encounter with the force field wasn't conveyed as well as it could've been though.



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