Crazy Nazi genetic experiments gone horribly wrong, men with octopi heads, curvaceous women, hidden government laboratories, and underwater fist-fights are just some of the things that Ian Churchill crams into this closing issue of the first "Marineman" volume from Image Comics.
Churchill put so darn much into this book that he had to finish his story on the back cover. The end result is forty-two filled-to-the-gills pages of the adventures of Steve Ocean, also known as Marineman. The stunning part is that Churchill only put five splash (punny, I know) pages into this issue. One would expect a comic book creator who is primarily known as an artist to try to showcase his big imagery more, but Churchill does the exact opposite, giving himself the challenge (and clearly living up to it) of varying page layout, page depth, and panel count per page.
As a lifelong fan of Aquaman, I leapt into the first issue of "Marineman" with both feet, hoping it would scratch the itch I had to read about the aquatic adventures of seafaring superheroes. I can say it does all that and more. While this issue and the previous one were not as wonderfully accessorized with profile pages of Aquanauts, sketches from fans, or letters pages, the book still holds up as a Silver Age throwback.
The enemy is a known quantity, but his threats are more far-reaching than they appear. The hero is brave and strong, capable, but concerned he might not be able to live up to expectations. The world around the hero is colorful, lively, and filled with characters that I'm glad the hero has introduced me to. Most importantly, it's a fun read.
The cover, under Image's new ratings system, brands this book Rated E for everyone. That means you. Pick this book up and read it. Or wait for the collected edition. However you decide to get a copy of this title in your hands, you really should do so.
Before any of you send me an email explaining the rating system, yes, I understand that "E for everyone" means it is a suitable read for all ages. For the most part, it is. There's a saucy exchange between Marineman and his galpal, Charlie Greene, but for the most part that would float over younger readers eyes. Still, it is a book that you should check out before letting any younger readers enjoy this title. After all, it IS a book everyone CAN enjoy. I sure do and I hope the wait for the next volume is not too lengthy.