Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Aquaman #9 (July, 2012)

At the U.S. Army Health Center in Heidelberg, Germany, a solemn man named Torrez sat in his darkened room. On a wall were the pictures of loved ones, whom he would call on the phone and silently listen to until they hung up. These were not Torrez's family, but those of the ghosts of soldiers that he communed with. Meanwhile, Black Manta had been murdering his way through the complex, and managed to sneak up on Torrez to choke him with fishing line. Using his powers and a gun under his pillow with one chambered bullet, Prisoner of War managed to fight off Manta, claim his manacles, and escape. Manta didn't understand why the suicidal soldier put up such a fight, just to keep him from his prize...

You know, they're trying too hard to make Black Manta cool, and he's starting to get ridiculous. Why cut a bloody swath through a military hospital, and then choke your super-powered target? The whole stealth assassin thing is undercut by wearing an enormous chrome helmet with glowing red headlights for eyes and an oxygen tank besides. How about the wussy wrist mounted mini-harpoons he fires with the thread attached? Is he serious with those things? I grin every time they appear because of the stupidity of them.

In the Amazon Rainforest, Aquaman fought off the armed troop, while Ya'Wara slaughtered them with blades and big cats. Aquaman tried to stop all the killing, but the beast mistress had lost her favorite jaguar to gunfire, so she was not easily placated. However, "This fight. The blood. The heat. Remember?" Arthur grabbed her wrist. "I'm taken Ya'wara." She sneered, "You have changed. I'm not sure I like it."

Arthur had already sent a signal to Vostok-X through his old Justice League communicator. The Russian was psychologically engineered to prefer isolation, and had taken to living on the moon, aided by an Atlantean helmet that allowed him to forgo oxygen, food and sleep. It would take him hours to fly back to Earth, though. Meanwhile, Arthur figured Prisoner was still at that hospital in Germany, so it might have been nice of him to prioritize contacting a living being over his layman's autopsy of the deceased Kahina the Seer. Torrez might have appreciated that before the choking and harpooning, y'know?

Mera manhandled Dr. Stephen Shin until he was good and ready to drop a meaty brick of flashback. Many years prior, Tom Curry had given sweet loving to an Atlantean queen, and got stuck raising their kid by his lonesome. While out on the water searching for "...something," Tom rescued Shin from drowning after a storm killed the rest of his crew on a deep diving expedition. Much later, Tom called in the favor, asking the doctor to help his boy Arthur deal with his emerging powers. More time passed, and while Shin helped Arthur relish his abilities, the doctor also wanted to go public with them. Tom was furious at the mere proposition, tore up Shin's office, took all pertinent information recorded about his son, and refused Shin any further access. Dr. Shin went to the press in hopes of recognition for his work, but without substantiation, only tabloids and conspiracy theorists had any interest. Shin became a laughingstock, losing his job, credibility, and "...my only friends."

Desperate, Dr. Shin hired a treasure hunter rumored to have single-handedly fought off pirates to retain a shipwreck find he'd made near Iceland. The hunter was only supposed to acquire a blood sample from Arthur, but when Tom defended his son, he suffered a heart attack that killed him three days later. The hunter later became Black Manta, likely in no small part due to Arthur's reprisal having left Manta's own father dead.

Back in Germany, Manta's pursuit of Prisoner stalled in the face of Aquaman's arrival...

"The Others: Chapter Three" was by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Andy Lanning. What is the deal with all the inker pile-ups these days? If there's only one pencil artist, is his work so detailed that it takes more manpower to embellish? Do the pages sit in the editor's office for so long that they have to be rushed out to a team for finishes? Eh, the finished product in this case is gorgeous, so who cares?

New 52's Day

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