Home > DC Comics > Aquaman (2003) #17

Aquaman (2003) #17

April 12, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: American Tidal Part Three

Aquaman frees hundreds of people in the underwater ruins of San Diego… but how did they all survive the earthquake that has trapped them beneath the ocean for five weeks?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics

Will Pfeifer continues the best Aquaman story in a very long time. The city of San Diego was toppled into the Pacific Ocean and thousands of people were lost, presumed dead, until Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter discover that the people still in the submerged city have been converted into water-breathers and no one knows why. In this issue, the rescue and recovery mission begins to help the people who will never be allowed to go to the surface again. Meanwhile, accompanied by the girl whose memories helped him find the survivors in the first place, Aquaman begins the search for the cause of their astonishing transformation.

People who have complained about Aquaman having lame or limited powers should be made to read this issue. What good is it to be able to talk to fish or breathe underwater? All you need is a writer good enough to craft a gripping story set underwater, and that’s what we get here. Pfeifer also avoids the trap of making Aquaman’s story too centered on Atlantis, which may also have turned off people in the past, by dropping the entire population of an American coastal city right underwater with him.

Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy do lovely underwater work, with colors by Nathan Eyring. Swimming characters, floating debris, assorted underwater creatures and beautiful effects like shafts of light cutting through the tides all come together to give this book a wonderful visual feel. There’s a bit more of the gore that struck me about this team’s first issue on the title, including a strangely hideous revelation, but none of it feels superfluous, and it all helps to give this title a more mature feel.

Aquaman is a book that I’ve never read more than sporadically over the years, but as long as Pfeifer is handling the writing chores, I think I’ll be a regular reader. It’s just that good.

Rating: 8/10

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