Special “Villains Month” Title: Ocean Master 1
Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, Geraldo Borges
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The second Aquaman tie-in to Villains Month and Forever Evil was even better than the first. Though I love Black Manta, Ocean Master has always been my choice for primary Aquaman nemesis. He’s got a ridiculous name, yes, but it wasn’t chosen by him. It was given to him by clueless surface dwellers. And Manta’s never been anything other than a killer. Orm’s got a little more substance to him. And Geoff Johns (joined by the always-excellent Tony Bedard) and artist Geraldo Borges know this. If it were not for a slightly confusing dialogue sequence near the beginning, this would have been a perfect book.
The comic opens with a flashback to Orm leading his troops to attack the surface during the events of the soon-to-be classic storyline, Throne of Atlantis. We are then transported to the present, where he is talking to (or arguing with or possibly just acting like he’s arguing with) his lawyer. Then, all hell breaks loose, when the Crime Syndicate and the Secret Society orchestrate a breakout at Belle Reve. Ocean Master takes his stuff and begins to walk toward the sea, but only after delivering a mercy killing to a guard who treated him with kindness during his stay at the prison. You know, instead of just helping him. We also see a woman begging him for help in rescuing her eight-year-old son from the looters and villains on the streets. He tells her that he was that young when he was forced to defend himself. But after callously leaving the woman and her son to their gruesome fate, he reemerges from the ocean, proclaiming “Eight is too young,” heading back to the town he was so quick to abandon.
Well worth the extra dollar for the awesome cover, this was one of my favorites of not only the week, but the entire Villains Month event. Bedard sure knows how to write compelling villains, but it was just an added bonus to see him throw in a redeeming moment for a villain. Ocean Master is a bad guy, yes, but it’s his circumstances that make him such. And, you know, the fact that he’s the (former) king of a species vastly different from our own. The last half of this book felt almost like I was watching a blockbuster disaster film with a super-villain in the foreground. It was the very definition of epic.
My Rating: 4.5/5