Comic Vine Review


Aquaman #23.1 - Sea Change Review


Black Manta wants to kill Aquaman and he's willing to do anything to accomplish his goal.

The Good

Black Manta escapes from Belle Reve and goes on to see the speech from the Crime Syndicate. Will he join with them or go off on his own?

The book opens up in Belle Reve and tells the story of Black Manta's escape. You get a really cool scene of Amanda Waller trying to recruit Manta for the Suicide Squad. Manta quickly proves he's smarter than the average villain by declining. He understands there's no way out of that team, unless you die.

There's a very brief, but very cool scene, where Ocean Master and Black Manta, two men who have a vendetta against the same hero, are in the same place at the same time. Nothing big happens, but it's nice to see Aquaman's two major villains in the same place at the same time.

The end of the issue is pretty depressing. It's a moment where Black Manta revisits his father's grave. It's small scenes like this that make the reader feel for the character. He was a normal person, until Aquaman killed his father, and now, his anger has ruined his life.

The Bad

If you read FOREVER EVIL #1, then you're going to see quite a few repeated scenes. You'll see the scene of the Syndicate talking to all the villains of Earth, and you'll also see Ultraman moving the moon in front of the sun. While all of this is from another character's perspective, it's a bit of a let down.

Up until now, the Villains Month books have given us a new insight into villains or their histories. This book doesn't really do that. We get to see the events that happened to Black Manta during his stint in Belle Reve and how he escaped. The opening and closing to this book are fantastic, but the middle just doesn't do too much for the character. We do get a lot more of Black Manta wanting to kill Aquaman and doing it on his own.

One moment in Belle Reve bugged me. He goes to pick up his equipment, in the prison's storage area, and it's labeled "Black Manta." Why not have his real name on there? However, what bugged me was the fact that Orm's equipment was labeled "Ocean Master." I can't recall a time he was call Ocean Master prior to his time in Belle Reve.

The Verdict

If we lived in a world with 1/2 stars, this would be a 3.5 star book, easily. However, we don't, and this book just didn't win me over enough to bump it up. There's a lot of redundancy here for FOREVER EVIL readers as well as AQUAMAN readers. Sure, we get some nice moments where we get to know Black Manta as a character a bit more, but overall, this issue was a bit of a let down. Black Manta is a very interesting character and many fans want to know how he'll fit in to future issues, but the reader isn't led on to what's coming down the road. All they know is that Manta is out of Belle Reve and misses his father. Overall, I give this a mild recommendation.

Posted by Mucklefluga

I'm glad this was sold out at my store now :D

Posted by theTimeStreamer

@mucklefluga: dont be. this is one of the best villain issues.

Posted by Vulshock

Another thing that seemed a little odd to me, was that Orm's and Black Manta's equipment was next to each other.

Posted by Jslab425

Nice review! We enjoyed the issue (expectations were not high) and want to note that Manta was hardly your "Average Joe" before Aquaman accidentally killed his father. Manta's father was a criminal & murderer himself and Manta was already following in his footsteps when he took the job to get a sample of Arthur Curry's blood and left Thomas Curry for dead in the ensuing scuffle. It would have been nice to see more of Manta & son's exploits prior to meeting Arthur to give their backstory some context.

Posted by theTimeStreamer

@vulshock: it was a nice little moment. maybe they file them by hero.

Posted by MrShway88

I was thinking about getting this but I don't know now.

Posted by deadpool25mm

@inferiorego Ultraman moved the Moon in front of the Sun not Earth :).
Black Manta is an intresting character but can be boring sometimes. (didnt read this issue)

Posted by deadpool25mm

@thetimestreamer: I realy had my hopes up for The Joker, but it didnt feel like Joker at all.

Posted by theTimeStreamer
Posted by inferiorego


Ultraman moved the Moon in front of the Sun not Earth :).

Black Manta is an intresting character but can be boring sometimes. (didnt read this issue)

derrr.... It was a late night last night. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by Superbat420

So they show black mantas father, but where is his son...

Edited by cobra88king8

I agree about the middle mostly being regurgitation of Forever Evil #1 but I really liked the beginning and end of the issue. Made me really excited to see what he's up to going forward

Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom
Posted by asjmooney

I was really looking forward to seeing Manta fight some other villains in this but instead I just got three pages of him stabbing a rock...

Edited by Mulder15

I actually really liked this issue. Sure the middle was kind of eh and there wasn't a lot of personal focus but I think that's because Manta'll be a main character in Forever Evil. I was really engrossed in the beginning and the end. 8/10 for me.

Posted by manwithoutshame

I thought it was awesome. I love Black Manta, he's so badass.

Posted by Herokiller12344

Clearly, villain's month is not going to be as great as I hoped.

Posted by Superbat420

@jacobin_wisdom: they said when the new 52 started he was supposed to be on teen titans but decided they had other plans for him and he'd pop up in a new book. It's kinda sketchy they leave him out

Edited by MajorJay

I disagree with the review, for me it has been one of the better Villians month comics

Posted by batsymyplaything

Does Ultraman expect the moon to stay there "FOREVER," lol?

Posted by soumya

I actually liked this issue.One can easily feel Manta's pain.

Posted by CaptainHoopla

I really liked this and would personally give it at least a 4/5. Having said that, I'm not/haven't read Forever Evil and can't comment or deduct for too much overlap.

Posted by inferiorego

@majorjay said:

I disagree with the review, for me it has been one of the better Villians month comics

Wait... you disagree with me liking it?

Posted by JLDoom

I have to say I loved this issue as well. Sure, showing the events of Forever Evil 1 again was kind of boring but that was accompanied by some pretty good narrative and it was really great to see things from Manta's point of view (although I may be a bit biased here since he's my favorite villain :p)

Edited by MajorJay

@inferiorego said:

@majorjay said:

I disagree with the review, for me it has been one of the better Villians month comics

Wait... you disagree with me liking it?

Nope i disagree with your rating of three stars or should i say 3.5

I do not think this book was a let down in any way.. please compare with Creeper issue now that was bad!

p.s. as you guys always say it is personal

Posted by The_Titan_Lord

It was a good read.

Posted by OmegaAgent1

Over all good issue and perfect set up for some intense action (hope we get some good fights). The middle of the book let us in on the character of Black Manta and the respect he has from his peers. The only reason I bought forever evil was because of 23.1.