I think Graeme MacMillan in one of his recent Savage Critics podcasts called Geoff Johns the greatest Aquaman fan fiction writer. The joke (truth?) stops being funny when you realize that entire pages of dialogue Aquaman #6 read like some sad but brave blogger’s first fanfic attempt.
It’s unbelievable to think that Geoff Johns went from the weak setups in issue #1 to the clean writing from issues #2-5 and then apparently thought, “You know, since this issue features Mera and not Aquaman, I should bring back some of that slice of supposed life stuff peppered with make-fun-of Aquaman schtick. I might even bring back that blogger from issue #1.”
Okay, the blogger’s not there, but this is:
I mean, seriously, no one could think of better opening dialogue than that? I know this is to introduce a bad character and a victim, but Jesus! Is the worker socially awkward or slow or just poorly written? Is the manager son of the mayor or something? I have worked for scumbags and womanizers (customer service jobs are full of them, sadly, and many handle food, which is icky if you think about it for long). Let me tell you, not even they talked like this guy in public. You have to be more subtle than that if you’re going to be a creep and in a position of power. You’d be more likely in the real world to run into Desaad fondling the produce section than this guy acting so creepy out in the open.
I’ve joked about it before, and I’m sure Johns means well with this scene, but seriously, has anyone at DC viewed a real training video on sexual harassment? I have viewed some hokey ones with over the top acting as part of my job, and still their point was how often harassment isn’t this obvious. Seriously, this guy would have been consigned to the back of some market cutting up meat or something. And then they would have fired for reasons they could not legally talk about.
Seriously, though, the worst thing you can do to make your character look better is to make everyone around him a caricature. And Aquaman is put off by their taunting? I think if I lived there, my self-esteem would be through the roof. I know the main characters are supposed to earn sympathy from the reader by overcoming adversity, but here it just doesn’t work. It’s tedious, no matter how pretty Ivan Reis makes it look.
Johns has to tone it down, or it’s not going to bode well for the future of this series. I’ll keep saying this until someone agrees with me. If this part of DC’s pseudo reboot is that people are just meeting these heroes, then every hero would be made fun of equally, not just Aquaman. In fact, Aquaman and his costume are in good shape in comparison to Superman and his new duds (especially drawn by George Perez or Andy Kubert.
Is it me or does Johns have to make whatever character he is primarily writing the most important person in the room? When the Green Lantern Hal Jordan was his primary focus, Johns made him Space Jesus,
undoing the previous writers’ changes resurrecting the dead and being at the center of attention for two crossovers. Johns took hold of the Barry Allen Flash, and now the hero unmakes and remakes reality. And then there’s Aquaman in the Justice League where…well, we’ll get to that in good time.
I have a feeling that Aquaman is going to be the front and center character and main hero if Johns dishes out another event book under the new status quo. Aside from the amusement of Johns’ overcompensating scripts, I don’t know if that’s enough to make me stay reading until it happens.