writer: Will Pfeifer
artists: Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy
It looks like
there wonít be a ComicCon this year. At least, not in the
DC Universe, for most of San Diego has mysteriously fallen
into the sea.
If that isnít
good enough to grab your attention on this book, I donít
know what is. How about the patience to let a new art team
show their stuff and tell the story for a few pages without
any interference from caption boxes, aside from one ironic
Being an Aquaman
fan is frustrating, because every relaunch promises great
things and then seems to sputter out. Case in point: a little
over a year ago, this title had a daring new direction,
with daring new powers, and quickly began repeating itself
in order to stretch the arc out twelve issues. And now itís
New writer (or
ďdaring new direction writerĒ) Pfeifer has kept the hard
water hand (admittedly, better than the hook) but otherwise
seems to have thrown out the last few years of character
development. And it works, returning Aquaman to his status
as a guy that the public more or less trusts. How long has
it been since that happened?
and Alamy have done a bit of modification on the original
costume, but itís still recognizable as the guy from SuperFriends.
Thatís not a bad thing, either, because no matter what comedians
have said, that guy rocked. Holding Pfeiferís place for
the past two issues, John Ostrander certainly knew it, presenting
two of the best Aquaman stories in quite a while. Iím almost
afraid to say it, but Pfeifer looks on track to top them.
From that subtle,
terrible and surprisingly affecting opening image of a drowned
panda, it may seem like this new team is out simply to shock
us. It may take that for some readers, and we get four pages
of the sea king desperately trying to find survivors. It
plays out mutely, and his grief is palpable. We can keep
the gruff aspects Peter David brought to the character,
but itís good to see that heís not aloof. Aquaman can be
touched, especially by his own failures, without completely
All of this
serves as a set-up, of course, for some strange new foe.
For now itís a mystery. Aquaman even dons a trench coat
for the occasion, bringing a really new angle on the character
≠ hard-boiled detective with a heart of gold.
is still a bit too heavy, but it may just be a holdover
from working over Yvel Guichetís blocky pencils. Give him
a couple of issues to lighten up a bit, and give this book
writer: Mark Millar
artist: Peter Gross
Mark Millar and Dark Horse Comics would
have the average buyer believe that this series has something
controversial to say. The cover alone is calculated to send
fundamentalists (those few that may stumble past the Archie
rack) into paroxysms of outrage.
Yes, it is daring to tackle the subject
matter of Jesus reappearing on Earth, unless youíre one
of those writers of the Left Behind series. But the
most surprising thing about Chosen is how unsurprising
Jodie Christianson (oh, why be subtle now?)
seems like your ordinary twelve-year-old boy. Actually,
heís a little on the troubled side, cutting class fairly
often, doing badly in school, and a bit fixated on horror
films. Until one day death greets Jodie face to face, and
realizes heís come for the wrong guy.
Miraculously unhurt in an accident terrifically
laid out by Peter Gross, Jodie awakens in the hospital.
Unhurt, yes, but definitely not unchanged. People know things
about him, and for some reason, he knows things he could
not have known before. One might almost call him Öomniscient.
The adult Jodie narrates this first issue,
with occasional flash-forwards to his audience of twelve.
Remaining in silhouette in his scenes as an adult, Jodie
nonetheless has something about him. His apostles, at least,
A lot of the story merely echoes and updates
the Gospels, but the big picture may be more slyly satirical
than we can understand so far. To parallel Jesus teaching
the Rabbis, Jodie begins by spouting off about the Kennedy
Administration, then putting on a show for the entire faculty
of his school. Itís not quite the same thing, but didnít
Kennedy have a time of near-veneration in this country?
But itís not together yet, and knowing
that Millar has ventured into this territory before in the
little-read Saviour, it just doesnít have much impact.
The real surprise may be if Jodie actually is what
he thinks he is, but somehow I doubt it.
Still, itís a decent read, as even at his
worst, Millar still tells a story well. And the artwork
from Gross is absolutely appropriate, with brilliant coloring
from Jeanne McGee that gives the whole book a slightly ethereal