Have you ever wondered just what Ocean Master thinks of humanity? Get a glimpse into the morals and beliefs of Aquaman’s brother as he breaks out of the Belle Reeve prison.
Ocean Master is locked up in Belle Reeve for committing atrocities upon humanity. He killed thousands as retaliation to what he thought was humanities attack against Atlantis. It turned out that a fellow Atlantean had set up this ruse in order to create a war. So Ocean Master is ready to be punished for his war crimes when all hell breaks loose.
The Crime Syndicate has led an attack on the prison freeing all the incarcerated villains from their cells. While Ocean Master has no intent on joining the syndicate, he wants one thing and one thing only; to make it back to Atlantis. So we see him venturing upon land in the hopes of finding the nearest ocean. It is upon this journey that we get a glimpse into the mind of this Atlantean.
Tony Bedard makes it known that the Ocean Master is not evil. In his mind he is doing what he believes is the best for his people. He is not the type who desires to kill unnecessarily, but he is not the type to help humans. He will do what he must to protect the citizens of Atlantis but if a human were in need of his help… you might get met with something similar to, “I was a warrior since the womb.” The difference in his warrior mind-set and the mind-set of a human is shown on many occasions in this issue, particularly when he “returns the favour” to a merciful security guard of Belle Reeve. But in the end we are given a little glimmer of hope. It would seem that it is “Not the End”, as Orm makes it to the water. With Ultraman shifting the tides in Orm’s favour… literally… we can only hope that this villain will take up his trident and fight alongside humanity. “Not the end” could be foreboding his assistance, as he has no intention to join the Crime Syndicate. But will a man so conflicted by his moral code and sense of obligation be willing to extend a helping hand to humanity?
The team of artists working on this title make it feel right at home with the Aquaman on-going series. Rod Reis keeps the colouring consistent as he provides us with an issue that continues with the success of Aquaman. Ocean Master’s costume really looks amazing as well. He looks like the evil bad ass version of Aquaman. Once that helmet goes on he ends up losing a bit of that appeal. Fortunately, in this issue he is helmetless. This allows us to experience his well of facial expressions which go from showing emotions such as arrogance and a warriors rage to creepy expressions as he shows what he considers to be compassion. This is probably the first act of mercy he has every shown a human, no matter how twisted it may seem to the reader.
Aquaman #23.2 Ocean Master does not offer an origin, but what it does offer is so much more. It gives the reader an opportunity to see what is going on in the mind of a man that is bound to protecting his own people, yet he is faced with seeing innocent humans being slaughtered and tormented all around him. He has his own set of beliefs it is the conclusion of this issue that shows us just how any character has the ability to grow no matter how hard their heart might seem.