30th Apr2020

‘Aquaman: Deep Dives #2’ Review (DC Digital)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Michael Gray | Art by Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan | Published by DC Digital

As DC are putting out their digital first offerings so fast and furious, I managed to miss issue 1 of the new Aquaman digital first offering. Boo. Luckily enough that story, featuring fan favourite Black Manta, was self contained, so jumping straight in with this second issue isn’t a problem. Another story originally from the WalMart/ Target books, this one funnily enough touches on the theme of pollution, as did the last digital first book I reviewed (The Flash). Aquaman, of course, as a character would seem a pretty terrible King of the Seven Seas if he didn’t confront pollution now and then, and writers down the years have taken a stab at just that. Can Michael Grey give us anything new? Let’s take a look.

We know where we are from Page 1, with Aquaman staring at a huge pile of dumped radioactive waste. Not just any waste, but bad enough to cause some pretty bad mutations. As luck would have it, a new batch starts being dumped with Aquaman still there, but before he can get involved, he notices a sub with a very familiar symbol on the side. It’s the Sea Devils, themselves no strangers to eco activities and protecting the environment. What’s going on with the gunfire though? Aquaman boards the boat, and finds the Sea Devils armed to the teeth. As Aquaman points out, are they still good guys, or just eco-terrorists now? Dane Dorrance, the boss man, explains that tougher times call for tougher measures. As they take down the Russian mob on the boat together, you feel a conflict of philosophy coming on.

Actually, hold that thought. Although the mob were easily taken down, a bomb was thrown overboard and exploded underwater. Not a huge problem normally, but this time it’s managed to free a huge, mutated lump of marine life. Not good. Aquaman takes it on, and although completely outmatched for size and strength, manages to keep it occupied long enough for the Sea Devils to evacuate the criminals from the now sinking ship. All safe now aboard the Sea Devils sub the Devil Fish. Well, that is until the huge fish swallows them whole. The solution? A pretty gross one. Let’s just say it involves a very sharp trident and a massive inflated swim bladder. It’s not pretty.

Up to now, a decent enough if quite light and fluffy story. The last page though gives it some lasting resonance. As Aquaman confronts Dane, you expect that philosophical debate to ensue, violent tactics against more peaceful solutions. There’s a little of that, but Aquaman actually offers the Sea Devils a job, as surface liaisons for Atlantis. That way he can keep an eye on them, they can continue to operate with some legitimacy, and they have complete diplomatic immunity. Arthur recognises they can help police some parts of the oceans he rarely gets to. A win-win for everyone. A nice, and logical, wrap up.

As I said, quite a lightweight story, but with only 16 pages to fill Grey did a pretty decent job overall. No time for much character stuff, but always good to see the Sea Devils in action, and the story seemed to be a prologue to more joint adventures down the road. The art, by Lopresti and Ryan was excellent. It’s my favourite style of art, nice clean lines, nice mix of panels, and layouts that honour the pace of the story. Some nice panels that look great on a digital screen too. Big thumbs up for the art.

Another solid digital entry from DC. Dive right in!

***½  3.5/5

Aquaman: Deep Dives #2 is available on Comixology now.

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