Review: ‘Aquaman/ Green Arrow: Deep Target’ #1 Aims To Make A Splash
by Tony Thornley
This one’s a fun sci-fi adventure, with a concept that’s more about the characters than a big high concept. The writing’s fun, the art is great, and it’s well worth picking up.
The team-up comic is a lost art form these days. DC Comics, for example, had three long-running team-up series for years, but since the 80’s, they’ve only popped up a few times, and usually only starring Superman and Batman. Aquaman/ Green Arrow: Deep Target aims to change that.
I genuinely hope this team-up miniseries is the beginning of a trend at the big two (alongside Marvel’s upcoming Captain America/ Iron Man team-up starting next month). We need more fun action stories teaming-up some of comics’ more popular but less overexposed characters. This series comes from Brandon Thomas, Ronan Cliquet, Ulises Arreola, and Josh Reed, and it’s impossible to discuss this series without discussing SPOILERS so watch out if you haven’t read it yet.
The mysterious Scorpio and their leader, General Anderton, have time travel technology that could change the world. And it has. Only Oliver Queen and Arthur Curry seem to remember the world as it was before. But something about this new altered reality has unexpected side effects — Ollie is now Aquaman and Arthur is the Green Arrow!
Simply put, this story is just plain fun. Thomas doesn’t get deep with it, or overly clever. He doesn’t have to either. This story takes two common comic tropes — the altered reality and the body swap — mashes them together, and tells a topsy-turvy sci-fi adventure.
Where this story is unique is in its characters. This could have just as easily been done with Superman and Batman, or Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. However, in taking two of DC’s B-list characters, heroes that are popular enough to often have their own series but seldom take the lead in an event, Thomas crafts a high-concept story that isn’t about the tropes or the high concept, but the characters. Like I said above, I hope this mini sells well enough that we start to see other team-up books like this. I’d love to see something like Catwoman/ Hawkgirl, or Cyborg/The Atom (though those are probably pipe dreams).
Cliquet is a really good storyteller. Though his figures are extremely solid in the DC house style, his layouts are dynamic, and the way the characters move through the pages creates a really great animated feel to the story. He also does a really good job at showing how the characters move differently underwater rather than on dry land, which some Aquaman artists struggle with. The only real downside to the line art is that Arthur and Ollie’s faces are a bit too similar, with only a beard versus goatee to distinguish them. If he drew Arthur’s beard a little fuller or take his hair out of the ponytail, the distinction would be clearer.
Arreola’s color work is solid throughout. Most of the issue takes place after dark and underwater, so he keeps the storytelling clean and clear. He also fills the pages with greens, which gives the title characters a thematic link to the entire story, even when they’re not on the page. Reed’s letters do a lot of good to let the story breathe, though some of his sound effects are extremely blocky and stand out in a slightly distracting way.
I really enjoyed this book, though. I was looking forward to it just thanks to the kooky premise, and I’m impressed that DC kept the twist quiet enough that it supplied a fun surprise in the reading.
Aquaman/ Green Arrow: Deep Target #1 is available now from DC Comics.