Today marks the end of Geoff Johns’ 25-issue run as lead writer for Aquaman. It is not hyperbole to say that he revitalized the king of Atlantis and helped cast off the stigma of the Superfriends. Aquaman was no longer a one-trick hero floundering about for relevance, trying to find his plaice in the DC Universe. Johns’ Aquaman had depth. The characters were compelling, the stories engaging. And, after more than 2 years, it was clear that this new Aquaman wasn’t just a fluke.
All puns are most definitely intended.
In honor of Johns’ 25 issue run, it’s time to plumb the depths of his ultimate issue and do what I do best: over-analyze a comic book and dredge up as much tenuous symbolism as possible. This is Southern Fried Science and I’m talking about Aquaman, what else would you expect?
The anglerfish symbolize Aquaman’s relationship with Mera
Aquaman and Anglerfish, Aquaman #25, DC Comics
Here we find Aquaman diving deep into the Trench, searching for an army of lost Atlanteans to command. During the course of his dive, we discover that, though Aquaman is fighting to reclaim Atlantis, his one overarching goal is to find his wife, Mera. It is not a coincidence that we see him surrounded by deep-sea anglerfish — Melanocetus johnsoniito be precise. In many ways, the life-history of the anglerfish mimics Aquaman’s relationship to Mera.
Blackfish will be followed by a live debate at 11:00 hosted by Anderson Cooper. The debate will feature Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute, Jack Hanna (yes, that Jack Hanna) and an aquarium representative. SeaWorld declined to participate.
I’ll be watching the film and the debate, and I’ll be tweeting my thoughts and reactions in real time and live-blogging for CNN . Several marine mammal experts and other scientists will also be participating in the twitter discussion. To participate in this live discussion, simply:
1) Watch the documentary live (DVR “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Parks and Recreation,” watch them later)
2) Follow hashtag #BlackFish on twitter
3) Tweet your own thoughts and reactions with #BlackFish . You can also ask questions to our expert team.
The Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” told the story of the dolphin hunt in the Japanese town of Taiji. Dolphins there are driven into a shallow cove and killed for meat and other products, with a select few set aside alive for sale to dolphinariums. Many are now saying that this year’s documentary on killer whales (Orcinus orca) in captivity, “Blackfish,” will be nominated for next year’s Oscar. Documentaries rarely get many viewers in movie theaters, but Blackfish, which cost only $76,000 to make and was initially released at only five movie theaters, has already grossed about $2 million nationwide and has been ranked among the 10 best performing nature documentaries, which include “March of the Penguins” and the much vaunted IMAX-friendly “Earth” and “Oceans” documentaries.
Blackfish focuses on the four people who have been killed by captive killer whales, bad corporate behavior by marine theme parks (especially SeaWorld) and the ethics of keeping killer whales in captivity. The film focuses particularly on the story of Tilikum, a 12,000lb male killer whale who was captured from Iceland in the early 1980s, has been living at SeaWorld of Florida since 1992, and to date has been involved in the deaths of three people. His last victim, his trainer of six years Dawn Brancheau, was brutally dismembered after he pulled her into the tank with him on February 24, 2010.