I was very impressed with the first issue of Aquaman: Deep Dives. Aquaman has always been a character I’ve been indifferent about. He’s had his moments to shine in various Justice League stories but I just never got into his solo adventures. But that is starting to change now thanks to how Aquaman: Deep Dives #1 set up the character. Steve Orlando established some intriguing elements for this version of Aquaman. Now Michael Grey, who I was impressed with his work on Batman: Gotham Nights #2, is stepping up to write the story in Aquaman: Deep Dives #2. Let’s see what this issue is about now.
Writer: Michael Grey
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Aquaman is sad to find toxic chemicals dumped in the Black Sea, an area he does not keep a close eye on, after hearing rumors of a “poison mountain.” He finds that the chemicals have caused all the sea animals to mutate and that he is unable to communicate with them.
Aquaman notices a chemical being dropped into the water and goes up to check things out.
Aquaman is surprised to find a heavily armored submarine with the Sea Devils logo on it docked next to a cargo boat.
On the cargo boat the Sea Devils are shown attacking the crew. Dane, the leader of the Sea Devils, gives his team specific orders for them to disable the cargo boat and take out the crew. Aquaman bursts out of the water and causes one of the Sea Devils to lose a bag of explosives
Aquaman asks the Sea Devils why they have suddenly become ecoterrorist. Dane tells Aquaman that they have not become any sort of terrorist group. He then warns Aquaman about gunfire coming their way.
The gunfire from the ship’s crew bounces off Aquaman. After taking cover Dane tells Aquaman that a biotech billionaire has been paying to dump waste in the sea in order to save money. Aquaman says he still won’t let the Sea Devils kill. Dane promises to be gentle as he jumps into action.
Four minutes later Aquaman and the Sea Devils have captured the crew dumping waste.
Suddenly the lost bag of explosives hits the toxic chemicals in the water and explodes. Aquaman senses a large creature waking up and ready to eat whatever is in front of it. The creature suddenly attacks the boat.
Aquaman jumps into the water and leads the creature away from the boat. While evading the creature Aquaman wonders if he should get the Justice League’s help to deal with this out of control creature.
The Sea Devils show up in their submarine to back-up Aquaman. The creature turns its attention to the Sea Devils and immediately eats the submarine. Not wasting time, the Sea Devils fire missiles from inside the creature, blowing it to bits.
Ten minutes later Aquaman asks to talk with Dane. Aquaman makes Dane an offer to become Atlantis’ “Surface Liaisons” so they can operate in a legitimate manner. Judy, one of the Sea Devils, tells Dane to take the offer. Dane accepts and asks if they get any employee benefits. Aquaman says they get diplomatic immunity. End of issue.
The Good: Aquaman: Deep Dives #2 was a quick your in and your out issue. The story fulfills the request of telling a good Aquaman story for fans that need it. But outside of that Aquaman: Deep Dives #2 isn’t a must-buy right away.
Like Steve Orlando before him, Michael Grey understands that Aquaman is very much a warrior king. Aquaman is busy with a lot of things from being King of Atlantis to being a member of the Justice League. That means that there are things that will slip by because he does not have enough time to be everywhere at once. Grey does a good job addressing that with the opening for Aquaman: Deep Dives #2.
From the opening with the toxic waste being dumped into the Black Sea, Grey is able to present a new part of Aquaman’s cast with the Sea Devils. Grey spends the right amount of time establishing the Se Devils as a team who want to help the world by using their background as a former part of the Navy. You quickly understand their intentions and why they are an effective team with the way Dane communicates with his teammates.
Aquaman showing signs of a past with Dane when they first meet up was a good way to establish that the Sea Devils do have history in the DC Universe. Not too much time was needed to get through the misunderstanding in what the Sea Devils were doing on the cargo ship. Aquaman quickly got what was going on and helped in taking down the crew dumping waste in the ocean.
Establishing all that made the final payoff with the Sea Devils becoming official Atlantis Liaisons a good move to expand on Aquaman’s supporting cast. This also build on the beginning of Aquaman: Deep Dives #1 where we saw Mera making a speech to the United Nations about Atlantis opening their doors to other countries. Having the Sea Devils working as liaisons opens things up to explore different aspects of Atlantis new direction of working with other countries.
Aaron Lopresti provided Aquaman: Deep Dives #2 some solid artwork. Lopresti did a good job showing how the chemicals being dumped in the ocean altered all of the the animals living in the Black Sea. He also did a solid job in the brief amount action we did get throughout Aquaman: Deep Dives #2.
The Bad: The bad guys of Aquaman: Deep Dives #2 were just a generic cargo boat crew. There wasn’t any sort of development in making the crew much of a threat to either Aquaman or the Sea Devils. They just were random thugs who as soon as they started fighting were taken out.
It was also disappointing that we didn’t see how Aquaman went about cleaning up the Black Sea. While Aquaman was clearly affected by what he saw with the toxic waste there Grey did not have him address that. Being something he had Aquaman point out to start this issue that subplot shouldn’t have been thrown to the side so easily. When bringing on the Sea Devils to work for Atlantis there should’ve been a line or two about how Aquaman and the team would clean up the Black Sea. Not addressing that made the opening less important than it should have been.
Overall: Aquaman: Deep Dives #2 accomplished what it set out to do. Michael Grey provided a story that will give fans looking for an enjoyable Aquaman story to get their fill. There isn’t much outside of that. Which is fine but if you are not an Aquaman fan this is definitely an issue you can easily pass on and try the Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman digital firsts released this week instead.
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