Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench

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Aquaman, Vol. 1: The TrenchAquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns
Illustrated By: Ivan Reis
Format: Trade Paperback
Collects: Aquaman #1-6
Published: 2013
Publisher: DC Comics
Length: 144 pages

I bought this for my girlfriend quite a while back, and I have to admit it was strange picking this up at my local comic book store. The character has been a joke for years now, and it felt oddly shameful, as if I was buying a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey or a Bill O’Reilly book. I always assumed Aquaman comics were underwater harlequin romance with occasional stabbings. I couldn’t find it on the shelf, so I had to call over an employee.

“Where can I find the Aquaman comics?” I whispered.

After having me repeat the question, he led me to the ‘A’ section of the DC shelf, which I probably should have been able to find on my own. I think this was maybe a by-product from years of training myself to gloss over anything Aquaman.

“Thanks, it’s for my girlfriend,” I said, too loudly.

To my surprise, three different people went out of their way to tell me how great the comic was before I left the store that day. “They finally did him right,” said one man, with a passion that made me wonder if he was somehow actually personally connected to Aquaman.

aquaman-need-water

This is one of The New 52 reboots from when DC restarted their entire universe a couple of years ago. I think people were really curious once it was announced that Geoff Johns was going to write this series. He had massive success in the years leading up to the DC reboot, so it was cool to see him take on an underappreciated character. He’s definitely proven that while some characters may naturally be easier to write for (Wolverine), in a good writer’s hands any of these superheros can thrive.

From a super power sense, Aquaman is quite interesting – super strength, super hearing, super vision, able to breathe underwater, can chat with the marine life. Yes, he had that short stint where he rode a giant seahorse, but it was the 60’s. And yes, he can be taken down by a dehumidifier, but…okay that’s still quite embarrassing actually.

Part of what makes this comic so great is that it’s self-aware of this public perception. Aquaman is saving people’s lives in incredible ways and is actually pretty badass, but he still gets shit on continuously by the public. It’s very reminiscent of how people will treat celebrities online, how it’s so simple to dehumanize someone if the joke’s easy and you’re anonymous. I actually started to get quite annoyed reading this, so he did a great job of making the reader care.

The art is great and the writing is surprisingly funny. It took me a while to get to this, just because I completely forgot we had it in the house, but I’ll definitely be continuing on with the series.

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