Stop me if you'ver heard this one before: Aquaman is the most popular unpopular character in the world. Famous for his lameness. Hampered by his super powers. Overlooked. Underrated. Misunderstood. The butt of every joke. He could almost be one of Charles Xavier's X-Men. If he weren't so lame.
There has only been one story that showed even a hint of Aquaman's promise. Grant Morrison's and Frank Quietly's JLA: Earth 2. The Justice League faces evil mirror images in the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. Equally matched, the only way the Justice League is able to defeat the Syndicate is because they have an Aquaman. Okay, it is because the JLA has both an Aquaman and a Martian Manhunter that the Syndicate doesn't have. But, the JLA beats the Syndicate because they have an Aquaman.
Geoff Johns must have read Morrison and Quietly's book. After reviving the Green Lantern comic book by bringing back to life the most famous ring-slinger, Hal Jordan; and, doing the same for The Flash by ressurrecting fleet-footed Barry Allen, the biggest question was, Who's next? That question was answered in the first six issues of Aquaman.
Johns has had some mixed success with DC characters. While his Green Lantern became a must read, he was also the creator and writer on Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. A good, but short-lived book. Not only did he bring back Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, he resuscitated Hawkman and Superman. He also had a notable run on both Teen Titans and The Justice Society of America.
Now, he's restoring the nobility and stoic nature of Arthur Curry as Aquaman.
The first six issue story arc was marked with Arthur's exasperated glare at every lame joke at his expense. Aquaman #7 opens dramatically, with his arch-nemesis, Black Manta chasing a cloaked woman in the jungle. He ruthlessly tracks her down, beats her and kills her. It's powerful, but not overly gratuitous. To show just how sinister Manta is, before he dispatches Kahina The Seer, he tells her he is going to her home in Tehran to kill everyone in her family. The Seer passes, her final vision of Manta overpowering Aquaman.
After rescuing ships in the Atlantic from a storm, Aquaman and Mera take and relic from Atlantis to Dr. Steven Shin for analysis. The pair don't trust or like Shin, but he is an expert. Out of nowhere, a mysterious jungle woman appears to dispatch Shin with vengeance. Surprisingly, Aquaman knows this woman, Ya'Wara. Even more surprising to Mera is that Aquaman and Ya'Wara were part of a group called The Others!
Aquaman #7 is nothing but one action sequence after another. Nine pages featuring the chase scene between Black Manta and The Seer, followed by the short rescue sequence, and the confrontation between Ya'Wara and Shin that involves Aquaman and Mera. Taken together, those two make up the rest of the issue, eleven pages. Geoff Johns script is taut, Ivan Reis is as fantastic here as he has been in Green Lantern. The full pages he devotes to Black Manta and Aquaman are fantastic. Ya'Wara shows up with a black panther, and Mera waterbends a panther of her own against it.
Johns and Reis are working very hard to erase Aquaman's lameness and are making the book one of the strongest "must reads" of DC's The New 52 relaunch.