Writer: John Arcudi
Artists: Patrick Gleason (p), Christina Alamy and Mick Gray (i)
Publisher: D.C. Comics
As Aquaman and his sidekick stumble across a group of individuals who are clearly using drugs, we see Aquaman sets out to discover who is supplying these people with the product, as he's doesn't want his new underwater community to fall victim to uncontrolled drug trafficking. However, while Aquaman is able to locate the main supplier, we see he comes to the conclusion that this is not a problem that can be resolved with a well placed punch.
While I'm a little concerned about this title's future, as John Arcudi is not exactly a writer who has shown an ability to boost the sales numbers of a title, I have to confess that I rather enjoyed the direction that he took the "Thunderbolts", and his "Doom Patrol" series stands up as one of my favourite titles to come out of DC in years. As for his first issue on this title, it's a pretty average outing, that has Aquaman encountering the evils of the drug trade, as we see the criminal element has keyed to the idea that in spite of their new underwater local there is still a demand for their product, and the inability of the buyers to leave the water affords them a virtual monopoly on the marketplace. Now the issue manages to nicely sell the sense of desperation that comes with a drug addition, and the depths that users will descend in order to satisfied their habit. The book also adds an element of excitement as we see the dealer has a group of henchmen who look to have taken to filing their teeth to jagged points, and they appear to be quite willing to feast upon anyone their boss tells them to remove from the picture. However, the story doesn't really go in any direction that I found all that unexpected, and sections of the issue have a rather disjointed feel, as characters respond to comments that aren't on the page, and I found myself wondering if some of the word balloons were accidentally left off the page. In the end this wasn't exactly the explosive start that John Arcudi needed to offer up if he was looking to add new readers to the book.
It's good to see Patrick Gleason looks to be sticking around as the book's regular artist as he brings a highly polished style that would be quite difficult to replace. The art does a very effective job of capturing the smug nature of the head drug dealer and the pitiful nature of his customers, as the opening page of this issue is a powerful little sequence to get the issue started. There's also some lovely big impact images in this issue, such as the credit page shot of Aquaman as he enjoys a moment away from his responsibilities. The art also does some lovely work on the panel where Lorena vents her frustrations on a diver that she believes is a thief preying on her community. There's also some solid work when it comes to the facial expressions of the characters, as there's a great panel where Aquaman figures out what's wrong with these people. I also enjoyed the decidedly unsettling appearance of the henchmen, with the shot of them feasting on the fish being a particularly power image.
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