Who Should Be King?
This has probably been the most surprising series that has came out of the New 52, also being one of the best things to have come out of the New 52. Before this series I had a huge disliking for Aquaman, and was guilty of being one of the many who thought he was nothing more than a joke, which this series has proved wrong. When I heard about this crossover I was very excited as I've been loving Geoff Johns work on this series as well as his work on Justice League, so having a crossover involving the two was bound to interest me.
This issue starts in 1820 with a Captain of a ship capturing and killing an Atlantean who resembles Aquaman. The story then jumps to the present where Aquaman asks for information from his half-brother the Ocean Master, and Black Manta is locked up in Belle Reve Prison.
I enjoyed this issue and it was a very good prelude to what I hope will be a fantastic story. Johns has done an amazing job in this issue and I loved how he tied the small back story at the start of the issue into the main plot. I also liked how whilst revealing tiny amounts of Atlantean history, whilst leaving more questions to be answered. The way he's introduced this story with Aquaman talking with his half-brother was interesting, and along with Garth this gives a brilliant question of who truly should be king of Atlantis. I'm also interested to see how Johns is going to continue this story into Justice League, and would have probably preferred them to have made an appearance in this.
The absence of Ivan Reis' art on this issue is noticeable and it's sad to see him leave this great series, but I look forward to seeing him draw Aquaman along with the Justice League and what a better place to start than this story. I never expected Reis' replacement to do a better job than he did, but Pete Woods, and Pere Pérez's did a good job on the art in this issue, and Reis' replacement could have been a lot worse. Their art on the character's was very good, but there wasn't quite as much detail in their art than I'd hoped for and some of the panel's were inconsistent. I liked how they drew the Ocean Mater and liked how he was in the shadows most of the time, with the cover being the only place where you get a proper look at his face. The cover itself had good art, and I loved how with the Ocean Master it had shark's swimming behind him, showing that he's got a vicious side.
I loved how Aquaman used the fish to help him get a hold of his half-brother in this issue, as although it's one of Aquaman's less interesting powers, it's still one of his main ones and should be shown every once in a while. It's also a nice way to ease newer readers into the series, as even if they don't know much about Aquaman they will probably know he talks to fish. I don't want to see this become a recurring thing, but it is nice to be reminded of another thing Aquaman is know for. It was also nice how Ocean Master recognised straight away that his brother wanted to talk with him, and that he didn't keep him waiting.
Ocean Master's involvement in this issue was very interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing how big a role he has to play in this story. I liked that he was in the shadows for the entire issue, and that we didn't get to see him. It will also be interesting to see where is allegiances truly lie as behind Aquaman's back he appears to be conspiring against him, and as Aquaman fans prior to the New 52 will know Ocean Master was never a friend of Aquaman's. I will also be interested to see what the child Ocean Master spoke of, named Garth's role will be and if he is Tempest, who was once Aqualad.
Black Manta's appearance in this issue was also interesting, and I liked how we got to see where he landed up after his fight with Aquaman last issue. It was also interesting to see where Black Manta was going to be as Cheetah (Minerva) mentioned about his arrival near the end of Justice League #14. I will also be looking forward to seeing what role he will have to play in this story, if any, and what will become of him if he's not involved. I also found it interested how Black Manta made it clear that he had no desire to join Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad.
This was a good prelude, but nothing special. If you loved Reis' art don't expect to be blown away by his replacement, but be reassured that it isn't bad. I am still looking forward to this story and expect it to be brilliant. I would recommend this issue as it has a insight of what's to come in the main story, but if you're only bothered about the main story I would recommend waiting till Justice League #15.