All right, the Action Comics sneak peek didn’t impress us. Perhaps DC Sneak Peak: Aquaman will do the trick? I have always liked Aquaman and I am glad that DC remains committed to publishing an Aquaman comic. This is a cool character with plenty of potential. All right, does this sneak peek succeed in getting lapsed long-time DC readers to hop back into the New 52? Let’s find out!
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Trevor McCarthy
Colors: Guy Major
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: We begin with armored Atlantean soldiers sweeping through a small town looking for “the traitor.” We see carnage all around the soldiers where they have laid waste to the “air breathers” who lived in the town. Suddenly, Aquaman appears and spears a soldiers through his chest with his trident. (Blood everywhere as Aquaman sticks the soldier like he was Wolverine and the soldier was a Hellfire goon.) Aquaman asks “Who’s next.”
The soldiers exclaim that Aquaman is going to bring down Atlantis. Aquaman retorts that this is why he didn’t want the crown in the first place. Aquaman then slams his trident into the ground which causes a massive earthquake and takes down the soldiers. Aquaman sees some innocent bystanders and tells them “I am one of the good guys. I think.” (Of course.)
Aquaman then attacks some more Atlantean soldiers. Aquaman says that the soldiers’ battle is with him not with the surface dwellers. Aquaman says that if the Atlanteans strike at the surface dwellers then this fight is going to get much worse for them. Aquaman then slams his trident into the ground which causes large spikes of hard water to come out of the ground and stab into the Atlantean warships. Aquaman then screams “Your king is pissed!” Lightning bolts fly out of Aquaman’s trident and takes out all of the soldiers’ ships. (Wow. Someone got a serious power upgrade.)
Aquaman surveys the carnage and then walks into the water and disappears. A voice narrates that Aquaman escaped again. That Aquaman is infuriating. That he thinks he is better than everyone else. That Aquaman’s newfound powers will only give him an advantage for so long. That it is only a matter of time before the surface dwellers see Aquaman for what he is: An ill omen. Soon Aquaman will have no sanctuary with the surface dwellers and no place left to run.
We then cut to Mera who is flanked by a bunch of fish humanoids that I do not recognize and OHMYGOD! GARTH! Yeah! The real Aqualad! Later known as Tempest. Founding member of the real Teen Titans! Geek out mode in full effect! Ahem, sorry. Mera then says that Aquaman will pay for his betrayal. That Aquaman will die. End of sneak peek.
The Good: All right, I’ll cut right to it. My favorite part of the Aquaman sneak peek is the return of Garth. How fantastic. I love Garth’s character. I am thrilled that DC finally unveiled his character and appear to have left him relatively untouched. I would be willing to buy Aquaman just for Garth’s character. I cannot overstate enough how excited I am to see Garth appear on the final page of this sneak peek.
I thought Aquaman’s new powers were pretty cool. Aquaman is a character that has suffered from being considered “lame” and a “joke” whose only super power is that he can talk to fish. One way to get a character over with the audience and to change their perception of him is to give that character some new kick ass powers. And that is exactly what Bunn does in this sneak peek. Aquaman can now create what appears to be hard water. He can also cause earthquakes with his trident. And, yeah, he can create massive bolts of chain lightning with his trident, too. All of these powers combined with his enhanced strength, invulnerability, telepathic powers and ability to breathe under water definitely elevates Aquaman up several notches. Aquaman is definitely no joke and is now a legitimate heavy hitter. I love these power upgrades and I do think it will help in getting Aquaman’s character over with more readers.
This preview also packs plenty of action. So, while I had several problems with this sneak peek the amount of action was definitely not one of them. This is certainly not a boring preview at all.
The Bad: Once again, DC fails to sell the lapsed long-time DC reader that the New 52 titles are anything other than repackaged 1990’s Image titles. New powers are an example of a great way to try to increase the respect and popularity of a character. unnecessarily making the character gritty, dark and violent in order to make the character more popular is just lame. This is such a tired route to take. It also serves to make Aquaman just blend into the wall of super her comics at the local comic shop. He is just one of numerous dark, gritty and violent heroes. This move makes Aquaman more generic and less unique. This is certainly an uncreative move by DC and Bunn.
Did the New 52 really need yet another hero who is dark, moody and violent? Was it really necessary to have yet another hero who is unsure of himself and if he is a hero or not? I certainly do not think so. A more classic super hero take on Aquaman would fit his character and actually serve to make him unique and stand out among the rest of the New 52 offerings from DC. I am also not wild about the Aquaman as a traitor plot line. I would prefer DC to focus on Aquaman as a high profile super hero who serves as a role model for all on how to be a man, a hero and a ruler.
The overall design of Aquaman’s costume is fine, but making the top of his outfit a dull grey instead of his trademark orange is a fail. Orange is Aquaman’s color. Like Superman’s red and blue or Batman’s grey and black. Orange and green are Aquaman. The grey top is dull and serves only to make Aquaman less unique. I was also not a huge fan of the artwork in general in this issue. The pencils and inks were nothing more than average.
Verdict: Fail. Not sure if making Aquaman more like the rest of the 1990’s styled New 52 characters was the best way to try to attract lapsed long-time DC readers. In fact, I am pretty sure it isn’t. DC had a chance with these sneak peeks in the Convergence issues to show lapsed readers that they recognized their obvious failures with the New 52 reboot and were committed to fixing those mistakes in hopes of making a stronger DCU that would pull in lapsed readers and would appeal to a large selection of readers. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case with most of the sneak peeks that we have gotten up until now.