After making serious waves with its Drowning storyline so far, suddenly Aquaman #5 finds itself in the deep end and just treads water in a sadly disappointing issue. Yet strangely, it’s also probably just what some fans want.
The story so far has seen Aquaman held for questioning by the US government, who believe that the Atlanteans pose either a terrorist threat or are going all out with a declaration of war. Mera, Aquaman’s fiancee, has broken him out of the detention facility, and now together they face the might of the US army as they make a mad dash to escape. And so a fight breaks out. Correction, a BIG fight breaks out.
And that’s basically it.
There are little side moments included, from Black Manta meeting the head of N.E.M.O. to the Royal Navy’s Joanna Stubbs making a brief return, but basically the whole issue consists of Aquaman and Mera beating the tar out of the army. Mera is typically aggressive, while Aquaman insists that they don’t actually kill anybody, which leads to some debate between them about their relationship… but basically it’s all about the action here.
So far in this series there’s been very little action – something which may have annoyed readers hoping for more fighting and less diplomatic talks about peace – yet here it’s the complete opposite. As if in order to balance the scales, this entire issue is essentially one giant fight scene. Maybe it’s to prove the point that mindless action doesn’t make for a great story, and if so it’s succeeded. Because this isn’t a great issue. Instead, Aquaman #5 feels more like filler.
Readers know that Aquaman and Mera could face this sort of battle with their eyes closed and still win, so subsequently it never feels like there’s any tension in the fight itself. In fact, after a storyline which has so successfully upped the ante with each issue so far, this falls flat and negates the great work which was done up to this point. Aquaman and Mera’s conversation throughout the fight seems less about their conflicting ideologies and more about petty bickering, and the “romantic moment” of reconciliation between them comes across anything but romantic. Instead, it seems more like Aquaman’s way to simply shut Mera up.
Aquaman has become one of DC’s standout titles of late and Aquaman #5 was one I was most looking forward to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite deliver the goods. Still, there’s always next issue and an appearance of Superman to look forward to…