Tag: aquaman

Why The World Needs Aquaman

Fans of the erstwhile ABC show LOST certainly shared this irritation. So do sports fans. The irritation I speak of is that of a non-fan dispensing “expertise” and criticism toward a subject about which they have little or no knowledge.

“The Milwaukee Brewers suck, dude.”

“Oh yeah? Name 3 players.”

LOST is the worst show; just find a way off the island, how hard can it be?”

“Not even remotely what the show is about. Ever seen an episode?”

Recently I was listening to the ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast (which I do daily). The show is expertly hosted by Nate Ravitz, Matthew Berry (ESPN’s “Talented Mr. Roto”), and their producer is lovingly referred to as Pod Vader. I obviously enjoy the show, since I listen daily, and they are the pinnacle of talent with regard to fantasy baseball expertise and advice. Berry’s column on ESPN always entertains, as he finds a way to mix pop culture references in with fantasy baseball and bring it all together. His recent Ten Lists of 10 column is a great read as always, and toward the end he lists the top 10 superheroes “in order of awesomeness”. I take no issue with the list. Berry is a self-admitted non-comic book guy, and for a fan whose knowledge comes primarily from movies and TV, this is a solid list. On the podcast, the guys were discussing Berry’s list, and Aquaman’s name came up. Predictably, they spent a few minutes crushing him and then moved on. It was then that I decided Aquaman deserves better. He deserves respect. If you aren’t a comic book fan, you shouldn’t bash Aquaman. Stick with me here.

The hierarchy of comic book superheroes is always a crowd-pleasing conversation. Even my wife, who has a fleeting interest and the most basic comic character knowledge base (although growing impressively, I can proudly say), will jump into a conversation ranking the best and worst among costumed heroes. Who’s the best? Batman! Wolverine! Superman! Spider-Man! While the same handful of do-gooders always seem to get the top votes, Aquaman is only brought up for a laugh. Well not today. I got you, Aquaman.

It is likely that 9 out of every 10 Aquaman haters know nothing about him. They know just what you can take from his name: he is aqua-based, so the rush to judgment is that “he has to be in water to be effective”. Not so.
Let’s dispel some myths:

1. Aquaman is only a hero when he’s in water.
The truth: He has superhuman durability and strength anywhere. Aquaman has adapted to live in the crushing depths of the ocean, so his body density is such that he can withstand close range machine gun fire. He has played vital roles in heroic missions on land and even in space. He has a healing factor (see: Wolverine). Due to a special suit Batman made for him, he suffers no ill-effects when he is on land.

2. OK, but what good do his powers do him on land?
He can see in total darkness and has advanced hearing similar to sonar (see: Superman).

3. But he can’t fly!
Capable of reaching speeds of 10,000 feet per second, he’s a strong swimmer. There’s more water than land on earth, so if you need to get somewhere fast, Aqua’s your guy.

4. No crimes are committed underwater.
That’s because he has psionic domination of all marine life. He telepathically tells them what to do. If one – JUST one – of the land based superheroes had the equivalent of that power on land, there would be no crime here either.

Ok, so maybe compiling a list of abilities and accomplishments is a silly way to defend Aquaman’s merit. Here’s the real reason we need Aquaman to be one of our top superheroes: diversity.

Ever notice that not very many brand new superheroes have been born recently? All the big ones were born in the 1960s or earlier. That’s because there are only so many people and places that need defending! Earth needed a protector of its seas, after all, they do take up 2/3 of its surface, and Aquaman was glad to oblige. At their core, superheroes are for kids to idolize and look up to. What the comic publishers have realized recently is that diversifying the heroes draws in a more diverse fan base and increases readership. John Stewart is an African-American Green Lantern. Jaime Reyes is a Latino teen and is DC’s current Blue Beetle. Kate Kane, the current Batgirl, (now called Batwoman) is a lesbian of Jewish descent. Kids naturally gravitate to a hero they can relate to. Peter Parker was the nerd, Bruce Wayne lost his parents, Clark Kent the outsider. Wolverine battles his past, Tony Stark (Iron Man) battles addictions, The Hulk battles himself. These vulnerabilities are what ultimately endear us to the character. We need our heroes to be flawed and imperfect, because we are. Aquaman is far from perfect, and that’s why we need him even more.

DC Announces Ten Relaunch Titles

As promised, DC Comics today released some details on their upcoming line-wide relaunch in September. Here are the first ten books, along with the creative teams and first issue covers!

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Cover: Cliff Chiang






Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Cover: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado






Writer: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Cover: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato






Writer: Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Cover: Ethan Van Sciver






Writer: Tony Daniel
Artist: Philip Tan
Cover: Philip Tan






Writer: JT Krul
Artist: Dan Jurgens
Cover: Brett Booth






Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Cover: Aaron Lopresti






Writer: Eric Wallace
Artist: Roger Robinson
Cover: J. G. Jones






Writer: JT Krul
Artist: Freddie Williams III
Cover: Stanley “Artgem” Lau






Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Bernard Chang
Cover: Ryan Sook







Take A Sneak Peek At Aquawar

Aquaman has always been one of my favorite characters (his was the first MEGO action figure I ever owned) and I’ve long been hoping he would once again be given his due. Looks like that time is finally here with the Aquawar arc starting in Brightest Day. With any luck this will segue into a new solo series for Aquaman, perhaps, with further luck, written by Geoff Johns or Peter Tomasi.

Aquaman’s second chance at life hasn’t quite worked out the way he expected. His wife has betrayed him, and his powers don’t work like they should. Now, in BRIGHTEST DAY #19, writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi and artists Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Rob Hunter bring us the Aquawar.

ECCC 09: Catching Up With Dan DiDio And Ian Sattler

Here’s the final interview I conducted at Emerald City ComiCon 2009. Just like last year, DC Comics Executive Editor Dan DiDio and Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler were gracious enough to chat with me for a few minutes. Much like they are in the DC Comics panels at conventions, these guys are easy-going and a pleasure to talk to. Enjoy!

PCZ: Last year when we talked I got in trouble for not asking you for more details on Aquaman. Dan, I know you brought up Aquaman yesterday.

DD: Yes I did, but I couldn’t get a straight answer from the panel. If I can’t get a straight answer about Aquaman how are you going to get one?

PCZ: He’s in Blackest Night obviously.

DD: Yes, he is. He’s a Black Lantern.

PCZ: Is there a plan for the character after?

IS: Ok, I’m going to jump all over you for asking that now. Blackest Night starts in July and is easily the biggest event in comics this year and we get questions all the time about what’s going to happen after. Why doesn’t everyone just enjoy the eight months of awesome “dead shall rise”, multi-colored Corps. fighting that we’re going to get in the meantime? Then, when we get to issue seven of Blackest Night then we can start talking about what we’re doing down the road. I think that’s my soapbox statement for the day.

DD: You did a good job with it.

PCZ: So, Blackest Night isn’t just a way to say “Hey we killed all these characters, now we can bring them all back!”

IS: No. This is something Geoff Johns’ been planning for how many years now, Dan?

DD: Almost since he started Green Lantern: Rebirth. He always had this idea of the story of Blackest Night in mind from the start of Rebirth. You’ll actually see little threads that will go all the way back from there to now.

IS: We kid and say it’s a way to get all our dead characters back, but this is the third part of a big trilogy that Geoff’s been doing in Green Lantern. It seems to have been embraced by the fans. I loved Sinestro Corps and Blackest Night is poised to quadruple the action and the stakes.

PCZ: Again, this isn’t an “end point”, this is another story that propels the DC Universe forward.

IS: We have no endpoint.

DD: You shouldn’t or we’re out of jobs!

IS: Yeah, Blackest Night ends and we’re like “Ok, everybody, see ya! Thanks!”

PCZ: So, Wednesday Comics is the new weekly that picks up after Trinity is finished.

DD: Yes it is. For twelve weeks.

PCZ: Will there be a weekly past that or is it time to give them a break?

DD: I think we see weeklies as an extremely viable formula. We’ve built an office to support it and we have more ideas down the road.

PCZ: Ok, let’s hit a couple of characters we haven’t seen in a while. Ray Palmer as the Atom?

IS: Yes, he’ll be in Cry For Justice. That series will answer a lot of questions…and then set up a lot more. See how I did that?

PCZ: Hawkman and Hawkgirl, were they killed in Final Crisis?

DD: No, nope.

PCZ: Ok, so there are plans to follow that up?

IS: Oh yeah! (big laugh) Yeah, that’s a huge story coming up.

PCZ: Other than Blackest Night, what are a couple of books that you are most excited about in the next few months?

IS: I’m going to go nuts here. Final Crisis Aftermath: Run!, Dance, Ink and Escape.

DD: He only likes those because they’re easy to pronounce.

IS: Yeah, single syllable titles are something I can get behind! But seriously, between the creative teams and the storylines on those books, they are so exceptional and so different from what I think people are expect from a normal DCU book. Like I’ve said, they have ramifications, they count, they take the everyday characters from Final Crisis and re-establish them.

Then, we’ve got Cry For Justice, which is as beautiful and as big a deal as you can imagine coming from James Robinson. Nobody knows how big a deal that book is going to be. It’s massive to the DCU. I’m going to say every Batman book, Greg Rucka on Action Comics, James and Greg on World of New Krypton, James on Superman. All the Green Lantern stuff that’s going on. Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges coming up on Justice Society, awesome stuff there, when you see the art on the first issue it’s going to totally blow your mind.

We’ve got a bunch of new characters on Wonder Woman with Achilles and the Olympians and major plans for how that’s going to spin-off into the DCU. We have massive, massive changes coming up for Titans and Teen Titans in the post Deathtrap crosssover. Big plans for Green Arrow/Black Canary, Captain Atom’s coming back, we have co-features in a bunch of books, we have Wednesday Comics. So, you know, you ask me for a couple of things we’re stoked about…Everything! I could not be more thrilled with our line right now and with what we have planned. There’s stuff we’re not even talking about yet.

PCZ: Yeah, it seems like you guys have always had things going on, but in the last year and this year and going forward you seem to have multiple things going on in many areas. There’s something for everyone.

IS: We spent a lot of time focusing on each core franchise in the DCU and figuring out a way to make them as vital and exciting as possible. We have talent that has been with us for a while, like Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and James Robinson and we have guys who have been with us for less time like Eric Wallace and Matt Sturges, who are really bringing a new and vital energy to what we’re doing. I stand behind every single book we’re doing right now.

PCZ: And when are you making Grant [Morrison] write a multiverse book?

IS: Soon!

PCZ: Great. Well, thank you guys, it was great talking to you again.

DD: Thank you.

IS: You too, thank you.

Thanks to Dan DiDio and Ian Sattler for talkign to me once again.