DC Comics/Hanna Barbera 2018
Written by Dan Abnett
Pencilled by Paul Pelletier
Inked by Andrew Hennessy
Coloured by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Carlos Mangual
When the town of Amnesty Island is besieged by a series of shark attacks, authorities call Aquaman for help! What’s unusual about this case is that the shark isn’t trying to kill people—he just wants to talk to them. The very confused Jabberjaw needs to get back to Aqualand, the future undersea utopia where he came from. But that peaceful city where man and sentient sea life have been living in harmony has been turned into a dystopian nightmare created by a new Ocean Master. Now the King of Atlantis and his friendly shark ally have to team up to set things right!
First of all God Bless them all for this because it really blends the essence of the cartoon with what DC has done with the other Hanna Barbera properties in making them more realistic. For those of us who grew up on these cartoons I immediately fell into the voice of Jabberjaw when I read his dialogue and his signature phrase ala Rodney Dangerfield. Dan does what I consider an outstanding job on this issue keeping all the characters personalities intact and recognisable.
The way this is structured is superb and the opening yeah that’s a classic that will never get old though it does have a very distinct twist. It never really hit me till I read this book that Amnesty and Amitty were so darn similar and it makes me wonder if this was as intentional as it appears. Still even if it’s not it is so well played it almost gave me the chills. While Arthur never gets any respect either that he and Jabberjaw would meet and it be done in just this way is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Also it has shades of Deep Blue Sea to it that make it a remarkable twist of fate that the two should get together.
The dialogue is superb and it’s easy to see why and how Hanna Barbera used this formulae time and again with varying results. Still Jabberjaw encounters Aquaman the two team up and suddenly it’s like the cartoon come to life as a live action film, which by the way I would pay money to see. I think one of the better parts of this is when Dan infuses the humour that is so necessary to the cartoon into the dialogue. It has all that charm and wonder that makes us feel like kids again and get excited like it’s Saturday morning, the only morning that getting up at 6am wasn’t a problem.
Paul, Andrew and Rain’s work on the interiors here is beyond marvellous! The attention to detail and the realism is sublime stuff as we see the manipulation of the linework through it’s varying weights to create all the intricacy in making this feel believable. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective shows Paul’s stellar eye for storytelling. The utilisation of the backgrounds and the species we see let the imagination and creativity unleashed thrill everyone.
So Aqualand and Sealab 2020 are utilised here in ways that I really like. Yes they come at a price and in today’s world it’s a shockingly stark reminder of how humans behave. Still that’s part of what makes this work and why the kids have such a mission of unifying humans and sea life to work in harmony together. If you ever doubted that Jabberjaw could be relevant again then you need to see this.
Personally I am ready for an ongoing monthly series for Jabberjaw and the Neptunes the same way we saw the Flintstones, though leave Jabberjaw exactly the way he is here. There is a certain kind of magic in these pages that shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.
Then if you really want another treat the Captain Caveman back up story by Jeff Parker, Scott Kolins and Dave McCaig will delight you. This is a shocking new take on the character that can tie him into the DC universe in ways you'll never expect!