Alastair: So, if you ever get into trouble around water in the comics universe, there’s one guy you want pulling your ass out of trouble — and it sure as hell isn’t that pompous jerk Namor. That’s right, boys and girls – this week we’re talking about Aquaman!
Poor old Arthur Curry has had a bit of a rough time over the past few decades. Years of fish jokes and not doing much worth mentioning left the King of Atlantis’ reputation more than a little tarnished. Evidently the folks at DC decided to turn things around with the New 52 relaunch – because despite the negative reaction the reboot got, New 52 Aquaman kicks some serious ass. Creative powerhouses Geoff Johns (master of all things Green Lantern) and Ivan Reis (Blackest Night, Brightest Day) were determined to restore Aquaman to his rightful place amongst DC’s heavy-hitters, and they certainly did the job.
Volume one, The Trench, sees a race of deep-sea predators (the titular monsters – think merman meets angler fish) start attacking coastal towns and promptly get speared, slashed and torn into pieces by a very pissed off Aquaman. Johns has evidently worked hard to change the perception of Aquaman from a goofy joke to a serious, stab-things-first-ask-questions-later hero, and it works surprisingly well. The fish jokes and previous limitations of the character are dealt with straight off the bat, and then we’re treated to a story that would make an excellent monster movie.
If you’ve been looking for a comic that isn’t your typical hero story, Aquaman definitely fits the bill. Forget everything you thought you knew about the King of Atlantis, and read the hell out of this book.
Cameron: Young Justice is never coming back – and that’s the worst thing in the world. Let me explain why.
While Marvel definitely runs the cinematic world with its adaptations, the realm of animation has always firmly belonged to DC. The X-Men and Spider-Man series from the ’90s are borderline unwatchable these days due to their badly aged animation and fairly by the numbers exploration of character. In contrast, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League set a whole new standard for animated excellence. In its very first season Young Justice met that standard, and then jumped over it with the help of a grappling hook and a sweet cape.
Young Justice follows the formation of a junior Justice League comprising of Robin, Aqualad, Speedy, Miss Martian, Superboy and Kid Flash. Each of these characters has been adapted (or created) with care and given their own character arcs throughout the season. A lot of these arcs revolve around the ideas of what makes family and what friendship means. Interpersonal conflict is as rife with superpowered teens as it is with real life teens.
Season two expands the roster without making the show feel overblown or stretched out. It really was impressive the way the universe was crafted to support all these characters and to give fans exactly what they wanted from a DC animated series. Of course, as comic book fans know, just because something is good doesn’t mean it will stick around. Cancellation is the bane of many a fan, and unfortunately it was no different with Young Justice. First came the shifts in timeslot, then the hiatus, then the second hiatus, then the final cancellation.
Thankfully the show is available on DVD, and I’d highly recommend picking it up. While one storyline may be left hanging at the end, it is still one of the most rewarding shows you can watch.
Written by Cameron Urqhuart and Alastair McGibbon