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Review: Aquaman #43

am043car Aquaman has been by tradition a hard hero to handle.  Although he has his fans, the character is one that has been marginalized and even ridiculed because of his appearance, his adventures and even his powers.  Of course, those that do so are usually just looking for an easy punchline and not actually invested in his stories, or even fans of comics for that matter.  All of this changed with the new 52 as Aquaman was given a new spin, a new respectability that made him far more mainstream than he had ever been.  Gone were most of the jokes at his expense, and the diehard Aquaman fans finally got a chance for a few “I told you so” moments as their favorite hero gained the spotlight under Geoff Johns.  The problem with Geoff Johns approach is that it was a step above and beyond recognizing the hero as something more than what he was, and separating him from all of the same problems that defined him as a niche hero for so long.

Under the new direction of writer Cullen Bunn it would seem as though the same missteps are being revisited.  Gone are the solo adventures of Arthur, and returned seems to be the same old script.  Arthur is king of Atlantis but cannot rule it.  Mera loves him, but is forced to hate him as well for reasons beyond her control.  Arthur is off on his own adventures without the support of any help … and so on.  This issue contains much of the same, and for those who are not diehard fans of the character it is easy to see why many would not be interested much in the series anymore.  There is a temporary alliance with his enemies, and a decent battle but not much else, save for the twist at the end.

It is the ending which actually gives this some hope.  Although this is told in a somewhat confusing manner at times between the “Then” and “Now” it still manages to give a glimpse of what Cullen Bunn might be capable of here.  After it should not be expected that he write exactly like Johns, and there are glimpses of him doing right by this series, even if his introduction to it is a lot of what has been seen before.  For the moment, it is worth a chance and worth a look, although it could still really go either way.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Trevor McCarthy
Story: 7.6 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read