Review by: daccampo

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Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art and cover by Jesus Saiz

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

These J. Michael Straczynski penned Brave and the Bold issues have often felt to me like writing exercises. I don’t mean that in a amateurish way; what I mean is that he seems to fixate on purposely grabbing two characters that haven’t met or perhaps don’t seem to fit together well, and then proving to us that he can find the link between the two.

It seems so obvious with Aquaman and the Demon. The sea and the realms beyond. Of course it would be an H.P. Lovecraft story.  The story begins in Howard Cemetery (a clear nod to his influence), as a sailor digs up a grave and then tells his haunted tale of the dark creatures beneath the sea and how Aquaman and the Demon teamed up to save the world from a monstrous creature from beyond.

JMS does an amazing job of depicting Aquaman. He’s brave, fierce, and powerful. I feel like I’ve seen these scenes replayed from time to time, as writers attempt to prove that Aquaman isn’t inherently silly or useless. But he does it well and it works. 

Really, my only disappointment with the issue is that The Demon doesn’t get the same love as Aquaman. He’s sort of a plot device here, setting the story in motion. And it’s cool to see him — especially drawn by Saiz — but I think the Demon works best when presented with a sort of manic glee. And that’s lost here as he plays the straight man to Aquaman. Even his rhymes — which should be FUN, dammit — are a bit too dull for such a wild character (see Garth Ennis’ take on Etrigan for my favorite example of this).

That said, it’s worth it to see Aquaman take on Lovecraftian creatures under the sea, and it’s doubly worth it to see the entire creepy story drawn by Jesus Saiz who makes this tale absolutely transcendent. 

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. did etrigan’s rhymes begin w/alan moore (or gaiman?) or where they there from the start (doesn’t seem like a very kirby-kind of thing)

  2. I think that Alan Moore "explained" the rhymes as due to the fact that Etrigan was promoted to a higher class in Hell, but I don’t think he was the first to write all his dialogue as rhyming. Not sure exactly. I just tried to look it up in Wikipedia, and it looks as though Len Wein may have started it in DC Comics Presents — but I can’t quite tell if that was before or after Moore used him in Swamp Thing.

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