I like the idea of Mera taking over for “Aquaman” #6. After all, “Aquaman” #5 starred Aquaman himself while Mera was back in Amnesty Bay and this month shows us what she was up to in his absence. While on the surface it’s not a bad issue, there are some parts that are a little hard to swallow.
The basic plot is simple enough; going into town to buy dog food for the first time, Mera ends up involved in two different violent incidents. The first one stands out as not quite holding up to a close inspection, though. As presented to us by Geoff Johns, Mera is befuddled by dog food choices and in the process gets into an altercation with a store owner. This is the sort of sexual harassment story so obvious, it denigrates those who have been harassed for real. Store owner Randy is such a caricature of a villain, you’d expect him to twirl a mustache and laugh maniacally before feeling up Mera. Instead of going for a subtler, much more insidious and creepy harassment you’d find in real life, we get something so blatant, it’s a little hard to swallow. Essentially, Randy is a punching bag dropped into the story so Mera has something to hit.
The saving grace in the writing for “Aquaman” #6 is Mera herself. Confusion over dog food choices aside, Johns generally writes her as a competent, take-no-nonsense character. We get some flashbacks from four years earlier to learn more about how Mera first met Aquaman, and it fits in well with the character we see here whom upon being asked if she’d surrendered earlier, responds with a clipped, “Obviously not.” Johns continues to try and redefine Aquaman and Mera into characters the readership views as dangerous and to that end we see her water-manipulation powers kicked into a deadly mode. It’s an idea we’ve seen before but Johns gives Mera a clinical narration to go along with its usage that gives it a little bit of a punch.
Ivan Reis just provides breakdowns this month, leaving Joe Prado to provide the rest of the art. Prado’s art is good here, reminding me of a cross between Ethan Van Sciver and Jim Calafiore; the latter of whom had his own long run on “Aquaman” in years past. Prado gives us long, lanky figures with sharp edges and a great deal of texture in their hair. He’s probably at his strongest when it comes to Mera’s water manipulation power, weaving the strands of liquid across the page in an elaborate, elegant manner. It makes the water look active and alive and that’s exactly the effect we should be getting.
“Aquaman” #6 isn’t a bad issue, but it’s awfully predictable and feels dumbed down in places. The first incident feels ridiculous, and the second one has an ending you’ll see coming a mile away. I like the idea of Mera getting a solo outing here and the flashback moments we get are by far and away the best part of the issue. Overall, I expected a lot more from this issue than what we actually good. Not bad, but it could have been better, too.