DC New 52: Aquaman Volume 2: The Others by Geoff Johns – Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]

Aquaman Vol. 2

Bane of Kings writes a review of the second volume of Geoff Johns’s Aquaman series. Even though the Hardcover is not yet released yet, all have been read as individual issues apart from #0, which is not included in this review but included in the graphic novel. 

“Aquaman continues to be the biggest surprise of DC’s New 52, with Geoff Johns excelling in every way.” ~The Founding Fields

Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Padro | Publisher: DC Comics | Collects: Aquaman #0, #7-13

Long before the King of the Seven Seas joined the Justice League, Aquaman was a part of another super-team: The Others. These young costumed adventurers traveled the globe, each trying to find their own individual road to redemption. 

Six years later after a grisly murder, The Others are reunited. They know only one man could be responsible: Black Manta. Aquaman must lead the charge to stop his arch-nemesis, but will the years have fractured The Others just enough to keep them from bringing this villain to justice?

If there was a list of DC’s New 52 Series that have been the most surprising sales wise, then Geoff Johns’ Aquaman series would probably be the highest on that list. It’s continued to impress, and Johns has exchanged the joke that Aquaman was before the reboot into a character that is very awesome and very badass indeed. In this second volume, following The Trench storyline, Johns takes us on an interesting ride through the depths of the ocean and catapults us into the mystery of the Others, and the Black Manta.

Aquaman Vol. 2Whilst the whole flashback story can feel at times overdone, we get an interesting glimpse at Aquaman and his pre-Justice League days with the interesting Others making the slightly longer than usual length of the storyline bearable. The characters are well developed, and I’ll be interested to see more of them as the series progresses.

On the villain side, The Black Manta was an interesting nemesis for Johns to handle and whilst having never read much about an Aquaman comic before, I quickly found myself thrust into believing that he is much more than just your average villain for Aquaman to spend a couple of issues fighting, a true threat for the character to deal with. Whilst Mera doesn’t have such a prominent role as Arthur Curry does in this arc, I found that Johns manages to create an enthralling tale that has been really enhanced by the artwork provided by Ivan Reis, who is on top form here.

Whilst there’s a lot to take in for newcomers like myself, Johns manages to expand a lot on Aquaman’s history and mythology, allowing for a captivating storyline that will keep you interested in the character. Having seen Aquaman’s character in a few Injustice: Gods Among Us walkthroughs, it seems that the Aquaman that Johns has used in this series has been an inspiration for that interpretation of the character, and when I get my hands on the game (most likely towards the end of the year), he’ll be one of the first few characters that I play as.

This series boasts a lot of strengths and there are hardly any letdowns throughout. The issues are richly detailed, very fast and enthralling, and the artwork on this book goes a long way in helping to make this series even more enjoyable. With comics, you’ve got to make sure that the storyline and the artwork is both brilliant, and thankfully, both is succeeded here. It also seems that Johns is a lot better writing individual-focused hero novels than Justice League, because whilst that series started out strong, its second arc wasn’t good. However, it seemed that its third really upped the ante, and the current ongoing arc is also promising indeed. However, it’s Aquaman that has been consistent throughout, with the upcoming  Throne of Atlantis Crossover between this series and the Justice League being one of my favourite story arcs of the New 52, up there with the likes of The Court of Owls and the Death of the Family story from Scott Snyder’s Batman.  The Others is also a very strong read as well, and if you were impressed by the first Volume, then you’ll want to get on board for this.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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