Johns and Gates unite once more, this time to tackle Aquaman’s second and final villain month installment. Johns and Bedard teamed up for an amazing Black Manta issue, and in it we saw Manta and Ocean Master get their gear side by side. While that wasn’t exactly paralleled scene for scene with this book, this book definitely came close to being as excellent as it’s predecessor. Here’s what I liked about the issue.
1. Geraldo Borges knows captures the mood and feel of the book better than anything. His dark lines and gloomy scenery helps us know that the DCU has been fundamentally altered.
2. We see Orm show some kindness. Errr, his kind of kindness.
3. Actions speak louder than words for Orm apparently.
Rating before reading: 7
Rating after reading: 8
This book was excellently drawn and well written. The story focuses on Ocean Master attempting to make his way to the sea after being freed by the Crime Syndicate. On his way he kills scores of fellow inmates for getting in his way or for bothering him. He is repeatedly asked to help wounded and frightened civilians, one being the kindly guard whom Orm declares the only decent surface dweller. Orm returns the kindness by murdering him as he says he’s glad he could return the favor. On his way to the sea another woman follows him and begs for him to save his son. He cares little for her or her son and keeps walking despite numerous pleas for help.
Ultimately Orm makes it to the ocean, but is reunited all to briefly as he leaves to go save the woman’s son, reaffirming that Orm isn’t a maniacal murderer, but a king.
Though Johns and Gates have a well paced and awesome story that helps affirm Orm’s complicated and dynamic character within the New 52, it is Borges’ art that drives the issue. The panels are moody and dark, which makes the scenes of action all the more thrilling. The last few panels feature rain, and a particularly compelling scene showing Orm’s first encounter with water outside of prison.
Despite all the darkness and despite how moody the book is, upon entering the ocean, Orm quickly leaves. Something stirred within him that compelled him to save the day. This is not only a reminder of just how different the character is now, but how he fits the tragic hero archetype more than that of villain.
Until the next time,