“Batwoman” is the most beautiful comic being published at DC right now, there’s no doubt in my mind about it. But one of the most beautiful single pages from DC this month that isn’t in “Batwoman” is probably the initial page of “Aquaman” #3. It looks like Rod Reis is coloring directly off of Ivan Reis’ pencils, and the pair are going for broke here. It’s one of the most color-filled sunsets you’ll ever see, the sun sparkling off of the water and the orange sky above it bursting with hues. As young Aquaman is held up to view the sight, there’s also a real sense of joy about that final panel in what is otherwise a slightly sad scene.
It serves as a great contrast to what comes next when you turn the page, an eruption of violence as Aquaman goes up against the monstrous creatures from the trench looking for food. Reis kicks the energy levels up almost instantly, between Aquaman’s thrusts and parries as he fights the creatures, and Mera’s water spouts whipping all around the dock, bending around corners and defeating the enemy. The creatures themselves look gruesome and dangerous, and in doing so Johns sells their monstrousness quite well. You don’t think, “Oh, it’s an ambulatory fish” but rather, “Move over piranhas, there’s a new big nasty in town.” And when the fight finally slows down, Aquaman’s grim, “I don’t know” comes across powerfully in part thanks to the strong-jawed depiction of him at the bottom of the page, the ultimate regal warrior.
As for Geoff Johns’s story? It’s good, although it moves faster than you might initially think. Between the fight and then some exposition, you’re at the end of the comic before you realize it. There’s a lot that happens here, but there’s something extra-zippy about this issue. Re-reading the issue, the amount of exposition packed in here is impressive; we learn more about the sea creatures, get hints about there being more to Aquaman’s trident when we think, and the addition of Dr. Stephen Shin. A strange mixture of ally and enemy, there’s enough interest here to make me want to keep an eye on him and see where Johns will take the character.
“Aquaman” #3 is good, and I don’t feel like it’s being dragged out at all, but at the same time I found myself wishing that it felt a little longer. Overall it’s a good issue, though, and Johns and Reis are definitely making “Aquaman” a compelling read. With the lead-in to what we should be seeing next issue, it looks like everything’s about to get even crazier next month. I’m looking forward to it.