Fire & Water #203 – Aquaman #s 23-30

Rob & Shag catch up on what's happening with AQUAMAN, taking a look at issues 23-30 of the current series by Dan Abnett, Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher, and Stjepan Sejic!

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18 responses to “Fire & Water #203 – Aquaman #s 23-30

  1. Nice reform to form, fellas.

    A couple of notes:
    I could practically hear Shag flopsweating when Rob said he was aging out of things. Shag’s nervous laughter rang of, “Say it ain’t so, Rob! Yer jus’… Yer jus’ joking, right, Rob? He’s just joking, folks! Whuh-werencha, Rob? Werencha? You still want to find your job with me, right? Right?”

    But I get Rob’s take on it. How many times can the X-Men visit the Savage Land it remain exciting? How many times can a Batman vs. Ras Al Ghul? While the characters live on, the various creative teams would rather put their spin on a familiar tale from their teens/childhood. That might be editorially mandated. I don’t know. But I get where Rob’s coming from. As I indicated on our award-winning episode on Fandom on Film and Water, I walked out of Spectre and Force Awakens feeling like those chapters of life and interest were closed. I’d aged out.

    Regarding Rob’s dislike of Atlantis, I’m a bit torn on it. The Atlantis setting is one of the things that makes Aquaman unique. Sure, maybe the politics of the place can get tiresome fast, but how much would you enjoy a Batman series outside of Gotham? Is Amnesty Bay the answer?

    Good have the two-man gang back together.

    1. Wow, is autocorrect awful.
      *Nice return to form, fellas

      *”you still want to podcast with me, right?”

      *How many times can the X-Men return to the savage land and it remain exciting?

  2. I defensively agree that a lot of what makes this version of Dolphin is how detailed they do her face because her facial expressions are so important to the character. Esp. since they don’t give her thought balloons.

  3. In a sweet bit of serendipity, I read 26 – 30 in Saturday. Lots to love here, and my highlight was Vulko’s encounters with the deteriorating ghost monarchs under the treasury. That was a great big that will stay with me after I forget all the surrounding details.

    Plus Rob, has Atlantis ever seemed this genetically fantastic before?

    All in all, this is the best Aquaman has read since the start of the Johns run.

    Will chip in for Rob’s joy-therapy if asked.

  4. Rob had commented on creatives leaving a book after short run. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. A team might not have more story in them than an arc or two. When you look at extended run of a character, firing on all cylinders for a lengthy period of time is rough. You can point to a Claremont or a James Robinson, but these guys are the exception that prove the rule. Judge them alongside their peers while they were crafting their extended arcs and note what anomalies they are.
    I think some of these characters should be treated like albums. Here’s your six issues, then a year off to work on the next batch. I don’t get caught up in numbering either.

  5. I’ve never collected Aquaman but have enjoyed the reviews done here and have heard good things about Abnett’s stuff. So when I heard Sejic was coming on board (I love his art … and no I don’t collect his explicit stuff), I thought maybe I should jump on. When I heard Dolphin was joining the book, I decided to jump on. (I once, as an April Fools Day joke made the Supergirl site a Dolphin site.)

    The story is fabulous even if the politics are on the nose. But the mix of magic, nationalism, and Aquaman being a defender of the disenfranchised have all been great.

    But the art is the biggest draw. It is so fantastic. And Dolphin is just phenomenal. When story and art are both spectacular, comics are at their best. I am sad Sejic is leaving and wonder if I am going to jump off!

    Anyways, thanks for covering. I was thinking it was my karma that just as I started collecting Aquaman the show stops covering the book!

  6. I totally get where you are coming from Rob. I think history repeating itself constantly in the comics is why I avoid a lot of the titles I used to read. It’s literally “Been there. Done that.” It’s not that these “retreads” aren’t well done, but the…sameness makes me lose interest. I’d rather dive back into an era I know better and read stories I missed. Fill in the holes of the version I prefer.

    That being said, seeing these stories interpreted in a different media (animated, live-action, etc.) somehow manages to skirt this problem for me. Maybe I’m just attracted to shiny things, I don’t know.

    The art in these books is GORGEOUS. Holy cow, how comic art has evolved. I’m not always a fan of such in-depth coloring and rendering, but when it’s done this well, it’s totally legit and proves that super hero comics can come in many forms. From economy of line like Chris Samnee, in the Toth/Mazzuchelli mold…to this!

    Great show guys.


  7. It’s so good to have the current stuff assessed, I’m delighted you both found lots to like. The art is sumptuous, the story always entertaining, and yes, I’m a big fan of the Vulko and Ondine antics too… there’s an Asterix-style whimsy I love.

    And after PAD, it’s terrific to once more have a Dolphin who isn’t a sea slapper. I agree about the facial expressions…as I was saying in a recent review over at the blog - I see a Garry Trudeau vibe.

  8. Wow. Checking out the artwork for these issues. They’re really nice!

    Also, the outfits for the bad Atlantean guards: those helmets are pretty sharp! They seem like an excellent take if Marvel should ever decide to redesign Nighthawk’s (remember him?) costume.

    Great episode! Hopefully we get recap issues like this as the series progresses.

  9. First, since I share a Croat ethnicity with Sejic, I have to step in to help you with the pronunciation: it’s SHAY-each.
    Second, the series of his you were talking about is called Sunstone, a bunch of which he posted on his Deviantart and can still be found there.
    Third, too bad he’s already leaving Aquaman – I was really pleased when he came on board, and those art samples you posted look spectacular. (Of course, I haven’t been reading these, as I read very little new stuff as it’s coming out; for example, I still haven’t even read the much-lauded, and also rather brief, Jeff Parker run on Aquaman.)

  10. I personally have enjoyed a lot of the Atlantis stuff (DEFinitely not all). One of the things I have issue with the comic series at times though is just how much interaction there is with the dry land area. They have around 70% or the earths surface to have stories around (that don’t make as much sense for others to do) and yet somehow almost all of them have a connection to the other 30%. Think about how convenient it was that it was that land based humans discovered the “dead water” and not Atlantians. This is the first story arc that basically is wholly underwater (at least at this point).

  11. Great episode, guys! I’m really glad you took the time to catch up on the current run. I’ve been really enjoying Sejic’s work on the book. His approach has taken Abnet’s political thriller and turned it into an Arthurian tale. The politics are the same, but the placement feels full of mysticism and magic. I love it.

    I’m with you that Dolphin is a delight. Before it was even mentioned that she would be reappearing in comics, I had a resurgence of interest in her character and came really close to purchasing her first appearance on eBay. Although I found the issue for cheap, I passed on it due to a tight budget. I dread looking up what that issue is going for now that she’s back, and a favorite.

    I like the idea of tackling these issues by trade. You’re right that modern comics are paced terribly slowly. I think more is to be had by batching these together.

    Lastly, I think it’s terrific that both Firestorm and Aquaman have official catch phrases, now! The Heat is On and We’re Going Deep!

    Thanks for the entertainment!

  12. Great review episode, gentlemen. I have to add my voice to the growing chorus of praise for Sejic’s work on these issues. He clearly has a lot of fun drawing Dolphin, which makes her fun to watch. Some of my favorite scenes are the quiet one-on-one “conversations” between Arthur and Dolphin.

    I also approve of the work that’s been done to expand Aquaman’s supporting cast. I like that Vulko appears to be returning to the fold, and I hope he brings Ondine along with him. I agree with Shag, that I’d like to see more done with Tula. Why did she let Mera charge off to Atlantis all by herself?! I did enjoy Tula’s moment with Garth in issue 30, and wouldn’t mind seeing that relationship developed in future issues.

    For Shag, the Zodiac Crystals from the Pozner/Hamilton miniseries played an important role in issues 1-5 of the Rebirth Justice League, and appeared again briefly in issue 16.

    Finally, as much as I enjoy the new issue coverage, I am looking forward to more of the Search for Mera story.

  13. Hey Shag! We’re friends who’ve seen Justice League! We even saw it two days early at a preview screening wearing Aquaman and Mera t-shirts. We posted about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hmmm … maybe we just “think” we’re friends because I guess you don’t follow us on social media … just kidding … Darrin 😉

  14. Great discussion as always gentlemen! I was really looking forward to this episode. It’s great having the two of you talking about Aquaman again. It’s always a pleasure to listen.

    As you both know, I don’t like Aquaman with long hair either and the current comic version doesn’t change my mind about that.

    I’m happy to have Dolphin back as well and I’m really enjoying this interpretation. It was funny to hear Shag discuss Dolphin’s shirt because Ruth had those same questions and found that look distracting to her. On first glance it doesn’t always look right. If you look more closely it’s fine, but that first glance pulls you out of the story while pausing and check to see what looks odd about it.

    I hate that headpiece that Tulla is wearing as well. Completely impracticable even by comic book standards.

    I’ve always liked Murk and I’ve enjoyed how they’ve used him in this story. I never believed that he betrayed Arthur so I’m really intrigued by the developments so far.

    I don’t mind stories that take place in Atlantis. I think Aquaman should have a variety of stories in Atlantis, at Amnesty Bay, and all around the world. The ocean is big and Aquaman needs to be shown throughout the world. So, I don’t mind the idea of this story, but it seems to have been stretched out even longer than usual for today’s decompressed comics.

    Thanks for another great episode as always! I always enjoy your opinions! Darrin

  15. I haven’t bought any Aquaman for a few years, but I’m VERY intrigued by this storyline. Well done, guys.

    Agree with sontaron that with Dolphin being mute, Sejic might have pulled out all the stops to make sure her facial expressions emoted as much as possible. But also possible that’s overthinking and he just loves her.

    I can see being done with Atlantis political power struggles. (Although Shag giggling about “Make Atlantis Great Again” was priceless.) But I just can’t separate Aquaman from Atlantis, any more than Thor from Asgard. On the flip side, it’s easier to keep Thor in New York than Aquaman in any one surface city. It just never sticks for the next writer.

    Enjoyed the episode, love that artwork, whew, I just might have ta get it.

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