If you checked out the preview of “Aquaman” #7 on CBR earlier in the week, you know the big reveal that this comic brings: the “other” League that Aquaman was once part of. Oh, at it also features the relaunched universe debut of Black Manta.
In the DC Universe of old, Manta was without question Aquaman’s greatest foe. Manta’s actions here make it quite obvious that he’s on the path to reclaim that title in the new DCU. Geoff Johns introduces us to a character identified as Kahina the Seer, who is being chased by Manta to open the tale. Kahina has some shared history with both Manta and Aquaman, which the cover to “Aquaman” #7 and early March media push reveal as “The Others.” Since this is part one, we don’t meet all of the “Others,” nor do we get their collective purpose.
What we do get is the sense that the mystery of “The Others” is not a mystery endured solely by the readers. Mera has no idea who these people are or what their connection is to her husband. To further complicate matters, The Others also have a connection to Atlantis, which Johns uses as a handy plot device to tie everything together, including a visit to Dr. Stephen Shin.
Aquaman’s presence in his own comic is startlingly limited for the second issue in a row, but when he does appear, Johns writes him with the commanding confidence one should expect of a Sea King. Mera also continues to evolve as the world around the waterlogged duo gets more acclimated to the presence of the submersible superheroes.
Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis bring their fantastic brand of superlative art to this issue. Aquaman’s first appearance, hauling a ship by its anchor chain, is stunning in detail, power and grace. Arthur is clearly exerting himself, but there is no question that he will succeed in delivering the crew to safety. On the page facing, there is a panel with a rolling tidal wave that looks as though Katsushika Hokusai stopped by to help out with a panel of this chapter. Reis, Prado and Reis continue to find new ways to dazzle readers with the imagery in this comic and The Others seem like nice alternative to encourage that experimentation.
Like many of the issues of “Aquaman” to this point, the story moves quite quickly. This is a fast but considerably enjoyable read. There aren’t a lot of revelations, nor is there a great deal of character development, but the plot drives the story forward and for now, it really works. It heightens the sense of adventure and gives “Aquaman” a quality not unlike that of an Indiana Jones movie. The mystery of Atlantis and the history of “The Others” promises to bring some amusing stories and this installment is the perfect shallow end for new readers to ease in.