I was only going to do the Aquaman review this week because I am
completely obsessed with a big fan of Stjepan Sejic. But then I found out that another artist I obsessively stalk follow, Stephanie Hans, is on the Batwoman book, so I had to do a quick review of that too, because it’s so, so pretty. See below for preview pages and a review of Aquaman #26 and Batwoman #5.
I do like how the main plot is playing out in this issue, there’s all kinds of schemes and betrayals going on and Aquaman is smack in the middle of all of it. I hadn’t read the most recent issues previous to 25 though so I was wondering: why is everyone having trouble recognizing Aquaman? Did his almost-death change his appearance? Do people not know him very well? Is it the beard? It’s probably the beard.
The art is gorgeous, but it’s Stjepan Sejic, so of course it is. I’m biased certainly, but come on, it’s beautiful. There’s the slightest indication of a faster turnaround time in the art and colors this issue, but not by much. And it’s still better than about 90% of the issues out there this month, and most of those other issues weren’t produced nearly as fast. (Of course, if you know of a book that came out this month that was prettier than this one, feel free to call me an idiot, but only if you give me examples. I’m perfectly willing to be wrong, but only for the sake of the pretty.)
A couple times I noticed something with the faces, they seemed a little compressed, it almost looked like they’d been horizontally scaled down to fit in a smaller-than-expected panel. I could be wrong, but check out the woman in the panel where someone shouts “AUTHORIZATION IS GRANTED FOR LETHAL FORCE” and let me know if I’m imagining things.
It’s a nitpicky thing either way though, because I love everything else: Dolphin’s fight scenes, Krush’s design, Kadaver’s power, all impressive especially how tough they must be to draw in an underwater environment where the laws of gravity don’t work the same as normal fight scenes (not even airborne-superhero fight scenes; that’d be similar but water isn’t going to behave the same way as wind.)
I also love everyone’s expressions, and one of my favorites is almost a trademark of Stjepan Sejic, a wide-mouthed, crazy-eyed “I am furious and also appalled” look that Mera has while glaring down at King Rath.
Man-oh-man, Mera looks amazing. The most impressive panels in the book had her in them. She’s going nuclear on the barrier-dome, and I don’t care how snarky King Rath gets about it, with his annoyingly confident “unyielding Crown of Thorns” sneer, I’m guessing Mera’s going to surprise the hell out of him. She’s mad enough to do it.
And speaking of how mad she might get: last issue we saw Dolphin give Aquaman a slightly smitten look (that’s how I read it anyway) and this issue the two of them were pretty chummy. (Heh. Pun not intended.) I really really really do not want to see him get involved with her. I think she’s amazing, but I’m a big fan of Aquaman and Mera’s relationship. Plus I’m not into the Soap Opera type of drama some books fall into: cheating, breaking hearts, people not speaking to other people, long angsty fights…no to all of that.
Plus Mera would straight up murder her.
What can I say about Stephanie Hans’ artwork that I haven’t said already. It’s gorgeous, detailed, and the colors are delicious (especially the reds, which considering our hero’s hair, is especially handy.) Back when Stephanie was on the Angela books I waited for her pages in the center of the issue (the rest of the art was wonderful too but it was Stephanie’s pages I wanted.) Now we get an entire issue of her work, and it’s just lovely.
The story, which picks up on Coryana, after Kate was rescued from the storm and stitched back together (literally stitched, they did something very interesting to her skull. I like it.) Safiya, the somewhat reluctant leader of the island, is fine with letting Kate have the run of the island while she heals, but she’s not sure what she should do with her beyond that. Her followers are a little more pragmatic.
If she’s a ransom, hostage her. If she’s a liability, kill her.
Kate, meanwhile, has her own reasons for hanging around (preview books called her “a prisoner of love” but let’s face it, Kate would find a way to leave if she really wanted to.)
I hadn’t read the issue just before this one, so I like that I got caught up with what’s been going on so easily (that drinking problem of Kate’s is no joke) and that it also works very well as a stand-alone story.