My birthday was yesterday and, as a treat, my missus took me to my local comic book store and offered to buy me something (Now isn't that true love?!). After some umming and arring, which included the rejection of an Incredible Hulk bust, as well as recommendations by the guys behind the counter, I finally settled for Volume 1 of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis' new 52 run on Aquaman. Having now read it I've realize two things; 1. Geoff Johns really can make a great character out of nothing and 2. Aquaman is actually pretty awesome!!
Volume 1 is called the Trench and essentially that is what this first arc deals with, both as a main focus as well as the aftermath. When people of some small town (coincidentally just down the road from Aquaman's lighthouse) are attacked by a race of unknown sea monsters, it falls to the king of Atlantis (and his other half Mera) to chase after these creatures, save the people they kidnapped and save the day. This first arc then leads into, what I assume will be the overlying story arc in this run, as a message from beyond the grave informs Aquaman that Atlantis may have been attacked, though it is unknown by who...?
Now, the story is pretty average for how stories go (there are certainly better AND worse in the world of comics, certainly the ones that I've read), however, the reason to read this is not the stories themselves, it's the characters and their dialogue amongst themselves. Aquaman has had the mick taken out of him since he was created (which always makes me think of Raj in Big Bang Theory dressed as the character and hating it) and some of this abuse might be justified. However, Geoff Johns not only accepts these points, but uses them to full effect. During this book, Aquaman is constantly insulted, ridiculed and mocked multiple times for various reasons (the "you can't eat fish" bit in the diner is my personal favourite), but yet he is still portrayed as a hard working, selfless hero whose only problem is the fact he talks to fish (well, he doesn't but that gets explained). This is where the talent lies in this book, as Johns not only does this but also creates a nice supporting cast for his hero (and heroine) based on the people who come to realise once you look past the jokes, Aquaman is pretty bad ass.
Of course, that isn't to take away from the artwork and Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. Reis, who was on task for Blackest Night and Flash: Rebirth, pulls another blinder here with stunning panels on every page. From the brightness on land to the darkness of the trench, every panel is so striking with deep colours and no disparities that it only enhanced my enjoyment.
At the end of the day, I have realised that I've been seriously missing out when it comes to this title, especially if the quality of this book has continued since these first 6 issues. The big question for me now is, do I get on board at the next available jumping on point or simply get all the issues I've missed?