Aquaman (2003 Series) #18
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: American Tidal Part Four
Aquaman tracks down the man who created the creature beneath the sea – what does he know about the destruction of San Diego?
Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics
Will Pfiefer’s run on Aquaman continues, and it’s still one of the best stories featuring the character I’ve ever read. This issue we learn that it wasn’t just the people of San Diego that were transformed into water-breathers when the city sank beneath the ocean. All of the dogs wake up and begin to paddle towards shore in desperation, not realizing that the air will kill them now, and people and marine mammals together begin trying to toss them back into the water before they all die on the beach.
Meanwhile Aquaman and Lorena investigate the strange creature they found at the end of last issue, a bizarre amalgam of sea life and machines that is somehow tied in to the destruction of the city. Pfiefer really shows off how versatile Aquaman’s powers are with the right creator behind him. Have you ever wondered what good it is to “talk to fish”? Find out this issue.
Other writers, over time, have painted Aquaman as a superhero, a monarch and occasionally as a warrior. Pieffer’s take uses elements of each of these to create a character that, in essence, is an aquatic crimefighter. Aquaman is using his powers to look for clues and solve a mystery that only he can. I’ve never seen him written this way before, but it works beautifully. With storytelling this good, maybe the character will finally be taken seriously.
Gleason’s artwork is an interesting blend as well. His human characters look like they fell from a crime comic, but his monsters are good and gross. The funky creature Aquaman fights looks just great, and the action scene works really well. The underwater scenes carry the sort of grandeur and majesty that you want in a story that takes place beneath the waves, and it all looks wonderful.
Peter David had a great, fabled run with this character not so long ago, but Pfiefer’s interpretation is even more accessible and just as exciting. It’s incredible, after all these years, that we finally have an Aquaman worth reading.