Review: AQUAMAN Vol 1: The Trench (The New 52)

The New 52 was a bit of a mixed bag for DC Comics. This was a time where DC’s history and the universe got too bloated. This happens every decade or so in the comics industry. You keep telling stories of Batman in his prime over the course of 20 years things start to get lost and it’s hard for new readers to jump in. When this happens, DC would typically do a soft reboot. Some event or crisis that would help streamline things. Enter The New 52, a complete reboot of the DC universe. Again, the New 52 was a mixed bag. Some characters suffered from the change (Superman) while some thrived (Batman). This leads us to Aquaman, one of the best runs to come out of the New 52.

Geoff Johns’ Aquaman run is full of action, adventure, and loads of heart. We’ll be focusing on the first volume, The Trench. The book starts with Arthur and Mera living in a lighthouse. Arthur is out of place. Atlantis doesn’t want a half-blood king, and the surface doesn’t respect a guy who can “talk to fish.” They spend their time on the shores helping out any way that they can. Things are mostly quiet. Arthur is struggling with his place in the world, but it’s something he’s learned to live with. Things start to change once the trench begins making its way to the surface. They start attacking anyone in site. They need food to take to their queen and will do whatever it takes. The Trench is a hive of mindless inbred monsters. They’re so primitive that Arthur can’t even use his telepathy on them. Arthur and Mera have to travel to the trench and save all the people they took off the shoreline.

Thestory is very straight-forward, and the trench is a villain we’ve seen time and time again. Still, it’s a fun time. The interaction between Arthur and Mera carry the story. Johns’ cleverly mixes in real-world views of the Aquaman character and mirrors it. The world doesn’t respect Aquaman, and that plays a major role here. Johns’ made Aquaman one of DC’s greatest heroes, and he didn’t have to make him like Batman (something DC has done in the past). He highlighted what makes the character and the world he lives in amazing.
The Trench a fun adventure comic that dives into the character and lore of Aquaman. It’s a great starting point for new readers, and a fun ride for fans of the character.
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