First off, let me say that no Aquaman haters should be reading this review. I grew up on the Gulf Coast, so I always loved Aquaman, and Denny O’Neil’s Green Arrow appealed to a tomboy like I was. I’m aware of those fanboys who say Aquaman’s powers are stupid and not that useful. I’m also aware of the ridicule that Green Arrow’s increasingly impossible trick arrows got.
Welllll…. then came Mike Grell’s The Longbow Hunters in the 1980s and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in 2018. The characters have been reimagined in a way that makes them more mature, more human, dealing with human issues. Deep Target is the trade paperback of seven issues that also explore both characters in a new way, yet keep some of the classic aspects that past incarnations had.
Green Arrow and Aquaman have somehow switched powers and identities! Oliver Queen is now the King of Atlantis, with the power to use the Trident of Poseidon, and Arthur Curry is rich and has a non-stop supply of trick arrows and the talent to use them (unlike Grell’s longbow Robin Hood-type persona who eschewed using arrow trickery.) In this world, Arthur’s staff call him “Arthur Queen” and Oliver is surprised when Arthur’s staff address him as “Oliver Curry”. What the heck is going on? Like Peter David’s Aquaman, Arthur has long flowing blond hair and a fierce visage, but no spear for a hand like the David version. Both find that they share each other’s memories in their new and old personas.
Is the brief appearance of Captain Anderton and Scorpio in the first few pages of the comic somehow to blame for this? Scorpio has been looting the past and future for treasures to sell, but something has gone wrong with the timeline, and Captain Anderton and his crew are in for a big surprise. Can Green Arrow and Aquaman get along long enough to fix it? What will they have to give up in doing so?
This trade paperback was published to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Green Arrow and Aquaman. The gentlemen are looking good indeed! New costumes that combine the present mixed roles with past incarnations show the writer and artist have knowledge about those eight decades as a DC institution. Arthur Queen’s armor is designed with a SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) which is a neat invention. When he’s topside, his costume has a “Robin-Hood” type hood that is reminiscent of the Longbow Hunters days. The pencils and colors are bright and sharp, and while the pacing, direction and action are a bit confusing on some of the pages, the storyline is interesting and easy to follow. I did have to go back a few pages to figure out “what just happened?” a couple of times. It might be more challenging to follow the action within the pages online, especially since there’s so much battle, oriented ALL (and I do mean ALL) over the page in every direction.
I won’t give any spoilers here, but there are unanswered questions left within the plot that I wondered about after finishing the book. It was hard for me to tell if this was sloppy storytelling or if these were left open for a future issue run. Even if that was the case, this story stands on its own, and no previous issues need to be read before this one.
It was fun to see these guys again! There is lots of comic violence and battling with weapons, but no sexual situations and no realistic graphic brutality. This title would be a fun addition to a Young Adult collection, and is suitable for ages 14 and up.
Green Arrow and Aquaman: Deep Target
By Brandon Thomas
Art by Ronan Cliquet
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)