Aquaman 1: The Trench

aquaman volume 1 the trench cover new 52 ivan reis art
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Nice to have Aquaman back, good inclusion of Mera

Tone down the Aquaman is a joke aspect of the series

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Aquaman (Volume 5)

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist:  Ivan Reis/Joe Prado

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:   2012

aquaman #2 cover new 52 the trench

Aquaman (5) #2

Reprints Aquaman (5) #1-6 (November 2011-April 2012).  Aquaman is back, and he’s tired of being the joke of the Justice League.  When creatures come from a trench at the bottom of the ocean, they raid a town taking villagers for food.  It is up to Aquaman and Mera to raid the trench and retrieve any survivors.  Aquaman and Mera find keys to the destruction of Atlantis and are forced to go back into Aquaman’s past to meet with a man who might have the answers.

Written by Geoff Johns, Aquaman Volume 1:  The Trench is part of the New 52 relaunch of the DC Universe following Flashpoint.  The story features art by by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.  The series was met with heavy praise and the first book collects “The Trench” storyline along with the second story which starts Aquaman’s quest for the secrets of Atlantis.

Geoff Johns is kind of hit or miss to me, but this is one of his better books.  Since his first appearance in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941, Aquaman was just that superhero who could “talk to fish”.  He had his goofy orange shirt and green pants and pretty much was strong and just swam…really fast.  The trick with Aquaman has always been to try to make him relevant when he is stuck in the ocean, lakes, etc.  I enjoy the Aquaman knock off in Kirkman’s Invincible that just sits around waiting for something for him to do.  In the ’90s, Peter David made Aquaman dark with the loss of his hand and turned him more into a tribal warlord of the water.  Then Aquaman became an almost elemental character and finally a young Aquaman surfaced in the Aquaman:  Sword of Atlantis which wasn’t well received.  This comic seems to get Aquaman back to basics (with a few power tweaks) and that is a good thing.

aquaman #6 cover mera new 52

Aquaman (5) #6

The first storyline in the six issue set has Aquaman battling almost piranha-type creatures and debating whether just to slay them.  This opens the door for the bigger mystery presented in the second part with Aquaman discovering that something sparked someone to sink Atlantis.  The quest to learn who is responsible for Atlantis’ destruction forces him back to a childhood enemy named Dr. Shin (who he was forced to seek help from in “The Trench” storyline).  It is a pretty good basis for a number of tangential storyline with the creatures from the trench being one, the destruction of Atlantis another, and his strange relationship with Dr. Shin all needing to be explored, but it is also satisfactory enough as a stand-alone set of issues.

The other nice inclusion is the family aspect of Aquaman with Mera’s heavy involvement.  In The Blackest Night and The Brightest Day storylines, Mera was featured heavily and was quite entertaining.  With the Flashpoint relaunch I was worried Mera was going to be written off like much of the events of the previous series, but Johns is keeping her around as a balance to Aquaman.

I get that Aquaman is a joke, but Johns pushes it a bit too far.  I know that in the world that they inhabit, there are characters with cooler powers, but I also think that regardless what power he possessed, the media would still be obsessed with him (or anyone with powers).  To have everyone always making a joke about it every issue seems a bit unrealistic and trying too hard.

Aquaman 1:  The Trench is a good read and one of the better books of the New 52 while still being a core New 52 book.  If you wrote off Aquaman like everyone in the DC Universe apparently did, you should check out this solid collection and maybe Johns will be able to take Aquaman to the forefront of the DCU.  It will be interesting to see what direction the book goes from here, and I do hope it has a long life.  Aquaman 1:  The Trench was followed by Aquaman 2:  The Others.

Related Links:

Aquaman 2:  The Others

Aquaman 3:  Throne of Atlantis

Aquaman 4:  Death of a King

Aquaman 5:  Sea of Storms

Aquaman and the Others 1:  Legacy of Gold

Aquaman and the Others 2:  Alignment Earth

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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