Four chapters into the story of “The Others,” we’re still learning about who those Others are beyond the names and rough sketches introduced in March. “Aquaman” #10 gives the Operative a chance to get some insight into The Operative.
Naturally, with a new character bearing such an unapologetically spy-influenced name, more espionage and suspense is brought into this comic. The Operative breaks into Manta’s headquarters, providing a glimpse into how Manta lives when he’s not cursing the name of Arthur Curry. It’s a rare glimpse behind the dome of one of pop culture’s most endearing villains, but only a glimpse. Manta’s minions and the Operative trade shots, which leads to more insight about the Operative.
Aquaman doesn’t appear in his own comic until page ten, but Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis make that initial appearance incredibly bold and brash as to quickly remind readers whom this comic is about. As has been the standard on this comic, the art is nothing short of phenomenal. This issue — with the first five pages spent in the lair of Black Manta — is considerably less light-hearted than previous installments, but that suits the darker focus of the story. Johns and Reis are working metaphorically through the art, but only in a way that enhances the story as well.
The remainder of “Aquaman” #10 is filled with appearances from Prisoner of War and Ya’Wara as well as a flashback to Arthur and Manta’s defining battle. The other story threading through this issue is the conversation between Mera and Shin which continues to mark time. Shin expands upon the last-page bombshell dropped in the previous issue, continually reflecting the darkness in story and art.
“Aquaman” continues to be one of the handful of DC comics that I truly look forward to each and every month. This issue serves as more of a transition, shifting the battlefields and re-arranging the combatants with an awful lot that happens to move the growing legend of Aquaman forward.