REVIEW: Aquaman 23.1
Black Manta is one of Aquaman’s most notorious villains. Hell. he’s one of the most infamous evildoers in the entire DC universe. It’s only fitting the gets his own issue. Since writer Geoff Johns took over Aquaman, he’s revamped his own persona into a force to be reckoned with, that means the rest of his world too and Black Manta has gotten an even bigger chip on his shoulder. Being one of my favorite villains, I was excited to see where he
The origin of Black Manta was already covered in the early issues of the series. The hatred for Aquaman is what fuels him but its a special hatred.
Johns and Bedard make sure we see that Black Manta isn’t a typical villian, he doesn’t want to rule the world or burn it down, he just wants to kill Aquaman, he took everything away from him, especially his father, one of the more significant pieces of his life. The only thing that drives him is to one day see his head mounted on his own trident, but that motivation is stripped from him after the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3 takes care of the entire Justice League. He’s lost without purpose until he is sparked with one by a familiar face.
Claude St. Aubin draws some very moving scenes in this issue, even from the beginning there’s an emotional punch thrown with a depressed Black Manta sitting in his prison cell. One page in particular where Black Manta approaches his fathers graves is really emotional, showing Manta finally coming full circle with his life’s goal since his father was killed by the future King of Atlantis, breaking down saying, “It’s finally over dad”. And if you didn’t kind of feel bad for Black Manta you did right there.
In the end, Aquaman 23.1 serves as a nice insight on the oceans most dangerous treasure hunter but also a curious look at how the villain’s, Black Manta in particular, are responding to this new superpower in their universe that not only threatens the heroes of the world but them as well.
Final Score: 4.1/5