Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1 – Dan Abnett, Jeff Parker, Writers; Paul Pelletier, Penciller; Andrew Hennessy, Inker; Scott Kolins, Backup Artist; Rain Beredo, Dave McCaig, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Possibly the most bizarre combo of this wave of specials, Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1 teams Aquaman with a friendly talking shark who is also a drummer in a band. It’s also, surprisingly, one of the best Aquaman issues that Dan Abnett has written, capturing the exact right mix of absurdity and action that makes a special like this work. Jabberjaw is an extremely obscure Hanna-Barbera character, to the point that I didn’t even know he existed. The issue opens with a segment right out of a Jaws movie, as a young woman goes swimming in Amnesty Bay, and is promptly chased right out by a giant shark. The next day, Aquaman’s old friend Erika Watson recruits him to round up the shark before it scares off all their tourists. He heads into the water – and is promptly met by an enthusiastic talking shark who can’t wait to tell him his life story and is awestruck at finally meeting his idol Aquaman. It’s a nice change of pace for Aquaman to finally be respected, but before they can bond, they’re met with an army of mind-controlled sharks, and soon find themselves heading through a mysterious portal.
That’s where this issue really takes off, as Aquaman and Jabberjaw find themselves in the talking shark’s world. However, the idyllic world where humans and sea creatures live in harmony is no more, as a caste system has developed that excludes beings like Jabberjaw and humans dominate. His band is missing in action, and soon enough the duo of heroes are chased out of the city. That’s when the villains show up, a combo of Ocean Master – but not the one we know – and an army of green-skinned Atlanteans that take Aquaman by surprise. Seeing these two undersea mythologies combine for the first time and the culture shock among the residents is a lot of fun, and there’s a strong central plot that doesn’t feel like it’s just an excuse for fighting. I want more Jabberjaw. The backup, featuring Captain Caveman by Parker and Kolins, is a lot of fun as well. The title Neanderthal is brought to the present day by the Wizard Shazam to test if anyone can be a hero, and he passes with flying colors and a swing of a club. Just a fun issue all around with no weak spots.
Corrina: I believe I said in another crossover review that there are two choices with these specials: go absurd or go serious. This one definitely heads to the absurd side, as Jabberjaw is thrilled to meet Aquaman, his fictional hero. Aquaman is less than thrilled–he can be a wet blanket–but eventually catches on.
Because, you know, a talking shark as a drummer in a rock band? It’s very cool. It also makes me wonder what the Hanna-Barbera creators were partaking of when they created Jabberjaw. (I have a memory of the character. I have zero memory of the cartoon, though I suspect it was more like a music video than a story.) In any case, this is quite a romp, with a little bit of political commentary thrown in about the rights of those different from you.
Captain Caveman I remember. He had the best battle cry. He still does. 🙂
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.