Come Listen to a Solid Fish Story – “Convergence Aquaman #2” review
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Cliff Richards
Colors: John Rauchw
Convergence Aquaman #2 still has some of the same problems as the first issue. An entirely idiotic villain. Horrible, though slightly improved, cover art. Questionable pencils. Still, overall, this issue is a bit of an improvement from the first, particularly in the area of story. It may be simply due to the amount of Convergence exposure that I have been immersed in over the last month, but the story seems a lot less rickety in this outing. Things could be better, but they have definitely been worse.
This issue picks up right from the closing panel of Convergence Aquaman #1. Deathblow (it pains me to even write it on the page) is beginning his infiltration of the S.T.A.R.S. Laboratory in the transplanted Metrolopolis of an as yet unidentified variant of Earth. Mayhem ensues, and a fight breaks out between this poorly named villain and our favorite mer-man.
I really love how Letterer Dave Sharpe writes the words and exposition in this issue. The thought bubbles and exposition is written on these red rectangles with ragged edges that make them look like parchment. A wonderful effect for a book starring the king of an ancient sea-going civilization. Artist Cliff Richards is a mixed bag, however. I will say that he handles action and combat scenes pretty well. Panels with heavy action sequences are typically done by having the major scene center page, with the ensuing panels drizzling down from the centerpiece. It is a nice touch of more progressive panel layouts. But the proportionality of Richards’ character models are pretty inconsistent. And the facial expressions of the various characters are way off.
Fortunately, this issue is basically a bottle episode. And I do mean that literally. Gone are the overly pretentious cosmic ramifications of what happens on the tiny dustball that they are on. It is a story pitting, simply, the King of Atlantis against a surprisingly annoying villain. And for the most part, it works. Bedard spends a fair amount of time allowing an ongoing dialogue between Arthur and the Director of the S.T.A.R.S laboratory. Amazingly so, he has captured the essence of the twisted soul that is Arthur Curry, as we see their friendship unfold over the course of the whole issue. By the end of the issue, there is a solid bond formed and we are set up well for the framework of what I assume will be the new Aquaman series following the end of Convergence.
Overall, I am pleased with this issue. If I am going to be on the Aquaman ongoing after Convergence (undecided), then it is good that I will have this lore in my back-pocket. What I take away from the issue most of all is the human/hero story between Arthur and Dane Dorrance of S.T.A.R.S. that is put on display. There is also a wonderful line where Dane stoically conveys that while Batman is the one most people worry will turn bad, that it is Aquaman that is the truly the dangerous one. Overall, this issue is a skosh more solid than the last. And I wish they would stop letting Becky Cloonan paint covers.