Comic Book Review: Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #43

The Revolution was highly suspicious of this new Aquaman from the start. However, I decided to give it an honest try and read it with an open mind. You never know. With a talented writer like Kurt Busiek, he just might get me to like this new direction. So far, I haven’t been that impressed with this new Aquaman. Busiek and Guice are doing a nice job, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. Aquaman #43 has to really amaze me or else it will end up getting kicked off the Revolution’s pull list. Let’s go to the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciler: Bruce Guice
Inker: Tony DeZuniga

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with the new “Aquaman” talking with Nuidis Vulko. Vulko talks about the real Aquaman and what a stud he was. Vulko mentions how the new Aquaman’s great uncle, Thomas Curry, raised the real Aquaman. Vulko explains how the Spectre destroyed Atlantis and Vulko died. Before his spirit could leave our world, Elsa Magnusson performed an experiment in which spirits were called to them. That summoned Vulko to them and here he has stayed ever since.

Vulko says that he will help “Aquaman” decide what to do next. Vulko them comments that he hopes that King Orin is not lost to them forever. (Yeah, unfortunately he is now a squid headed monster. I guess he got off lucky compared to Ted Kord and Wally West.)

We shift to “Aquaman” playing out in the water. We then see “Aquaman” flirting with Jessie at the dock. Suddenly, we see the Sea Devils and King Shark come out of the water involved in a big brawl. The Sea Devils claim that King Shark was prowling around getting ready to attack some swimmers. King Shark gives his side of the story that he was merely swimming around and was suddenly attacked by the Sea-Devils. King Shark tells “Aquaman” that he will wait for him down below and then dives into the water.

We then shift back to “Aquaman” talking to Vulko. Vulko tells “Aquaman” that the Dweller’s prophesy perfectly describes the real Aquaman’s life. That he would rule Atlantis, take a bride from another world and lose a child. Vulko then says that maybe “Aquaman” is supposed to replace Atlantis with something else. To restore the empire. Suddenly, Lockart contacts “Aquaman” and asks him to come to the Bridge.

We cut to the Bridge where Lockart informs “Aquaman” that his father died during the storm at Avalon Cay. “Aquaman” runs out of the room. Elsa then tells Lockart that there were many questions about “Aquaman” in the investigative reports by the rescue teams. That someone important is looking for “Aquaman.”

We then shift to deep under the water where “Aquaman” is brooding next to King Shark. Vulko appears and tells “Aquaman” that he just heard the news. King Shark immediately recognizes Vulko. Suddenly a voice calls to “Aquaman” and says that “She needs you, Arthur! SHE NEEDS YOU!” We then see a scene where Queen Mera is under attack. Aquaman tells Vulko to inform Lockart that he will need help and transportation.

We then cut to “Aquaman” with the Sea Devils in their ship racing to aid Mera. End of issue.

The Good: Aquaman #43 was a very average issue. My favorite part was one page splash shot of an old school Aquaman with his walrus side-kick. Very ginchy and cool. That is about it.

The Bad: Aquaman #43 was basically crammed full of rather uninteresting and boring dialogue. Nothing happened in this issue. Now, I don’t believe that every comic book has to have action in order to be a good read. I firmly believe that you can have an issue with no action at all and it can still be a riveting read. Peter David’s X-Factor is a great example of that. The huge difference is that David’s dialogue heavy issues with little to no action sports clever dialogue, complex themes and interesting storylines. David delivers some literary gems. On the other hand, Aquaman #43 delivers a dialogue heavy issue that is boring and dry. It isn’t very engaging or entertaining. It plods along like a dry history class.

There is no doubt that DC has put some great talent on this title. Guice, even though his style isn’t my preference, is undoubtedly very talented. Busiek, who is one of my favorite writers, is also very talented. I won’t say that these gentlemen aren’t putting forth a good effort. They are. Yet, Aquaman is doing nothing for me. I think this is one of those situations where this title simply isn’t for me. It is like one of those breakups with a girlfriend when you tell her that it isn’t her, it’s you. That is how I feel about dropping Aquaman.

I cannot get into this new “Aquaman” at all. I find this new “Aquaman” completely pointless. He looks like the real Aquaman. Has the same name. The only difference is that this new “Aquaman” has a different past. That is it. If there is to be a change in characters then why in the world replaces Orin with a character just like him. It makes no sense. And on top of it, the only difference between Orin and this new “Aquaman” is that this new “Aquaman” is weaker! Aquaman has never really been a very powerful character and I don’t think he needed to be de-powered any more than he was. This new “Aquaman” has no telepathy, water hand and can’t live out of water for more than five minutes. Did we really need to replace Orin with an almost exact duplicate minus Orin’s complicated history and with much less powers? I just don’t see the logic.

I also don’t dig this new Aquaman’s personality. He is too annoying. All he does is either sulk or whine. It doesn’t make for compelling reading. At this point, I just want King Shark to eat this new “Aquaman” so that we can have Orin return to his rightful position.

I’m also not really thrilled with Aquaman going from a super hero comic to a fantasy comic. I have never gotten into fantasy based comics like Arion, Warlord or Conan. Combining the fact that I am totally unimpressed with this new “Aquaman” character and the fact that I have never had an interest in fantasy comics leads me to think that Aquaman is simply not a comic book designed for my tastes.

The storyline isn’t enough to get me interested. Over the past four issues, this One Year Later storyline has just meandered and wandered with no direction, purpose or focus. Nothing much has happened and no real storylines have been advanced or planned for future issues. I don’t really care about any of the characters and without interest in the main characters, there is little chance of enjoying this title.

Overall: Aquaman is going to join the Flash and Blue Beetle as part of the new DC titles that just don’t appeal to me. I gave Aquaman an honest try for four issues. It failed to hook me at all. Usually, I give new titles 6 issues to hook me, but I see no point in going beyond four in this case. I gave it a try and read it with an open mind. This title simply is not meant for me. Busiek and Guice are talented and I wish them luck on this title. If you dig sword and sorcery titles then you probably will enjoy this new Aquaman.