Wow! This single comic by Geoff Johns may as well be the storyboard for a cinematic production. Black Manta is introduced to the New 52 through a fantastic opening sequence that also features one of Aquaman's old associates, and a pretty cool swordfight. From the get-go, readers will be able to see the subtle but significant changes made to Manta's character, and start making assumptions about his role in this new continuity. Ivan Reis returns with the best of his talent to deliver the most amazing art he's done thus far. Panel by panel, one can appreciate the extreme amount of detail and the exquisite lines that only get enhanced to the nth power by Joe Prado and Rod Reis.
Yet, none of this compares to the best parts of the issue: Mera controls the ocean once again, this time to save a ship from a rogue wave; and then... cat fight! Mera proves why she rocks, and now she has met her match. "The Others" promises to be the best Aquaman story ever told.
Just like when you are on the open road driving a stick and switching from second to third, this issue feels like Gail Simone is kicking it into high gear by jumping right into the heart of things. A new menace in the form of a metahuman psycho, a relationship building moment with Black Canary, and an interesting catalyst to retell a classic story make of this issue an "all-included" roller coaster. It is good to see that the apparent clumsiness we have seen since the start of the series is not due to Batgirl's inexperience, but rather the result of a psychological barrier she has erected around herself; each one of these adventures is slowly cracking that barrier to show everyone what Barbara freaking Gordon is truly capable of. The flashback sequence could have taken better advantage of the shared art duties, but overall, there was no detriment to the book.
Written by: J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art by: Amy Reeder
Batwoman's world expands considerably in the second chapter of "To Drown The World" with the formal introduction of an entire rogues gallery composed of both new and familiar faces. The non-linear narrative in this arc adds yet another level of mystery as readers try to connect the different pieces in a cohesive manner that leads to the fateful confrontation between Batwoman and Falchion's monsters. Amy Reeder's pencils get only better here, although it is worth of mention that it is noticeable how throughout the issue she slowly transitions from the layouts and page design themes established by J.H. Williams III, to the more traditional panel-based artwork. It is a shame that after such a long wait, Reeder is leaving the series with only a few issues under her belt. With a great combination of character development, all-out action, and plot progression, this is a fun and entertaining issue.
Gotcha! This one was not as easy as Kate Kane or Barbara Gordon, right? Many may not know it, but for a while, Mera did have a civilian identity in the surface world. She had been forced to abandon Earth and return to her home world Xebel; but just a few weeks later, a Navy oceanographer by the name Miriam Bridgeman appeared in S.T.A.R. Labs and started working for them. It wasn't long before Miriam crossed paths with Aquaman and so it was revealed that Mera had been brainwashed into forgetting her identity and assuming that of Lt. Bridgeman. - Action Comics #537.
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