Snagging Defeat from the Jaws of Victory a “Convergence Aquaman #1” Review
Written by: Tony Bedard
Art by: Cliff Richards
Colors by: John Rauch
I hate events. I hate them even more when I have basically been on a two month sabbatical from nerd-dom and know even less about what should be going on in them than usual. Despite those general sentiments, Convergence Aquaman #1 has some upside that evades those initial negatives. Are those positives enough to carry the day? Almost. Almost.
So here’s the setup. Apparently, for some reason, a bunch of cities in the DC Universe, throughout various points in the timeline, have had impenetrable domes dropped on them. This has the combined effects of both trapping any hometown and visiting heroes in that city, and neutralizing their powers. In Convergence Aquaman #1, it is not clear how long these heroes have been trapped, or how long they have had to survive. In this particular Aquaman’s case, he has been cut off from his wife: Mera, and trapped in Metropolis. To boot, Metropolis harbor has become poisoned, so Arthur has been forced to ground, which causes him all sorts of angst. Needless to say, he has become estranged from not only the other members of the Justice League who were trapped with him, but pretty much the entirety of Metropolis. You know; DC never cuts Aquaman a break. I should say that it is also not clear exactly when and which version of Metropolis this is, but this is bearded Aquaman with the harpoon for a hand.
I am not sure why Becky Cloonan was tapped to do the cover, but it is not what I would call pretty. It is incredibly cartoony, and entirely juxtaposed to the interior story’s grittier fare. In fact, I almost passed on this book, despite being an Aquaman fan (yes; we do exist) because the cover is such a turn-off. Fortunately, artist Cliff Richards, and colorist John Rauch put on a good display of craft for the book’s 25 real pages. The two combine to create some wonderful artistry. Hair is realistic, and shadows play across the faces of both main character Curry and the story’s supporting cast. There is some neat panel work in the couple of pages of exposition that cover the setup. I cannot emphasize enough how great Rauch’s shadow work is. It gives the book the appropriate level of grim. Necessary for any Aquaman story worth a damn.
The story, for the first three-quarters of the book, is spot-on. The script and dialogue paint a picture that is the best of the Aquaman mythos. A tortured soul; hero, villain, neither at home in the water or on land, with normals or his fellow heroes. I absolutely love it. But in the last quarter of the book, a villain named Deathblow is introduced. Deathblow? Are you friggin’ kidding me? I have ranted about the whole DeathStroke/Deadshot/Deadpool/Deathlok thing and how much I hate it. So let’s add another to the list. What makes it worse is that this guy is a complete idiot. Basically a frat-boy in a t-shirt with guns, his injection into the story completely ruins the atmosphere that Tony Bedard had set up. Without that, this would have been a near-perfect issue. This is, sadly, a complete snagging of failure from the jaws of victory. I think there is at least a second issue of this coming out, and I’ll stick with it. But I’ll be gritting my teeth for every panel that Deathblow is on-screen. Please just give me more Aquaman character story, and a villain worthy of the setup. Capiche?