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Aquaman #1 by Ammar Al Subahi

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado
Colorist: Rod Reis

Overall: 4/5 stars

Premise: A mysterious threat emerges from the bottom of the ocean. Meanwhile on land, Aquaman's having a bad day.

You all know Aquaman, right? Least respected super hero out there. Fanbase non-existent. A universal joke; even the most die-hard nerd wouldn't want to be caught dead buying an issue. The worst super powers ever: I mean the guy talks to fish. FISH!

But this hasn't stopped DC from trying in the past, though. Trying so hard and so desperately to establish him as a legitimate super hero, a bad ass even. But it always ended up failing. Aquaman always remained a joke. So what's DC thinking this time? When will they learn, right?

Well...

This issue begins with an explosive start. A gang of bank robbers are driving off with their loot, and nobody seems to be able to stop them. Nobody except for Aquaman, of course. Do these villains tremble at the sight of our hero? Are they sweating and shaking, fearing for their lives?

No. They're just laughing at the fact that Aquaman has popped up. They soon learn to reget underestimating him, though. But poor Aquaman continues to face humiliation for the rest of the day. Heck, he won't even get a break when he's out for lunch. Meanwhile, some nasties from deep under the sea have emerged, and these guys hunger for the taste of flesh. Human flesh.

With the recap out of the way, let me just add that this is not a comedy book. It is not a sarcastic take on Aquaman or super heroes in general. Quite the opposite, actually: what we have here is great action and some sweet human character work done with Aquaman. The more meta-angle of Aquaman's status in the world of super heroes is just the icing on the cake. Johns has definitely found the right approach for Aquaman: not a forced badass take on a lame super hero, but a very human and very sympathetic take on a man. Aquaman's reaction in the restaurant and the flashbacks to his father, those were all genuinely touching scenes.

The art here is great. Very cinematic and action-focused, but also quite emotionally loaded. The sympathetic appeal of Aquaman wouldn't have come across if it wasn't for Ivan Reis' expressive facial reactions.

This is the comic book equivalent of a sweet summer blockbuster action movie that you initially thought was gonna be lame and cliched, but actually turned out to have very cool action in it and even an engaging and sympathetic protagonist. It's the type of movie which left you walking out of the theater with a smile.

Initially I was struggling between giving this a solid 3 or even a daring rating of 3.5/5... but to hell with that. I’m in a good mood at the moment so I'm giving this book a well deserved 4, as this book has done the impossible: it made me want to pick up the next issue of Aquaman.