Aquaman #37

"Aquaman" #37 gives the holiday gifts I really wanted: gorillas in a comic book. After all, it's a special event, like Christmas or Hanukkah, right? On a more serious note, writer Jeff Parker and artist Paul Pelletier continue to unfurl the saga of the "Maelstrom" arc in "Aquaman" #37 as Aquaman's quest to discover his mother's secrets leads him to Gorilla City -- or Katangala, as its denizens refer to it.

This hero's quest has opened up the DC Universe to Parker, who has seized the opportunity to answer the question, "What if Aquaman met...?" Grodd is the guest-star in this issue, as Aquaman follows a connection between Atlantis and Gorilla City. The issue sees the King of Atlantis introducing Mera (and the readers) to the customs of the land and to Solovar, king of Katangala. The writer reminds readers of Aquaman's ability to balance diplomacy and action, just as this comic book balances information and adventure. The familiarity between Solovar and Aquaman is certain to bring smiles to readers' faces with the possibility of a team anchored by the duo, righting wrongs and serving justice.

The art from Paul Pelletier is on the mark, per usual. His gorillas carry themselves with power and might rippling through their limbs as intelligence burns behind their brows. Pelletier brings a nice, surprising range of emotions to Solovar and his subjects and plugs in a smart design for Katangala, including the necessary steps to be taken for Grodd's cell. Colorist Rain Beredo dials up a moodier soundtrack to the visuals of "Aquaman" #37, layering in shadows and half-light as Aquaman pursues a conversation with Grodd. Inker Sean Parsons provides a lush range of strokes to Pelletier's drawings, adding texture and style to the gorillas' fur, fashions and architecture. Penciler, inker and colorist all combine to give readers strong delineation between present day and flashback, serving up the memories with warm tones and fragile outlines -- fleeting, but detailed. Letterer Dezi Sienty adds rumble to the words of Grodd and Solovar, giving the artwork plenty of space to thrive, but punctuating all of the right spots in Parker's adventure.

"Aquaman" #37 is a wonderful exploration of a corner of the DC Universe packed with potential. In just twenty pages, Parker, Pelletier, Parsons, Beredo and Sienty give readers the latest installment of Aquaman's quest, a history lesson on Gorilla City, a fight and a few more clues in the mystery behind "Maelstrom." Aquaman has been an adventure-packed read since the relaunch of the DC Universe in 2011, and this is another fine example of why, as it packs in everything superhero readers buy comic books for, plus some gorillas for good measure.

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