Batman is generally portrayed as the only DC superhero with trust issues. However, the latest issue of Aquaman/Flash: Song of the Void (by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly) shows Arthur Curry crossing that line. As the team-up between Aquaman and Flash continues, readers have a window into Aquaman’s conflict of interest between being a member of the Justice League and King of Atlantis.
From plotting against his closest allies to violating his friends’ privacy, Batman has proven himself to be a ruthless planner and strategist, even to the detriment of Justice League harmony and unity. Now, it looks like Aquaman earns a similar reputation, at least when it comes to the events of the miniseries.
The first issue of the crossover left readers on a cliffhanger, with every inhabitant of Earth paralyzed by an alien song and only Aquaman and the Flash unaffected. The second issue begins with the duo battling one of the alien entities on Earth. When Flash tries to use Captain Cold’s Freeze Gun on the being, it has no effect and he has to resort to using the Belt of the Atom – powered by a dwarf star – to subdue the invader. . After some success, the two Justice Leaguers travel to Atlantis, where Aquaman hopes Mera has been safe from the alien’s crippling song. However, she and the entire population of Atlantis are as immobile as the people on the surface.
Aquaman gives Flash access to Atlantis’ AI computer in hopes that they would be able to study the invading ships’ weaknesses. After some initial research, Flash realizes that ships feed on Earth’s kinetic energy. The only way to break it will end with the death of the planet and all its inhabitants. The duo understand that the invaders are drawn to the Speed Force and its kinetic energy. But Flash is left puzzled when the alien ships are more drawn to the realm of Atlantis. At this point, Flash realizes that the Atlanteans used the Speed Force. Arthur comes clean to Barry and reveals that he had used JLA Speed Force data, including Barry’s personal files, to advance an Atlantean space program. However, in doing so, the massive use of the Speed Force lured the aliens to Earth and possibly doomed the entire world.
Whether it’s the events of the iconic Tower of Babel arc, his stockpiles of Kryptonite, or his tight-knit leadership of the Bat-Family, it’s usually Batman who is known for using, studying, and exploiting the powers and weaknesses of his friends and teammates. The reveal that Aquaman has similar trust issues with his allies is an interesting development that is likely to be a source of friction in the future. It also leaves open the possibility that internal storylines among members of the Justice League go beyond Batman and Aquaman.
This problem leaves the starting team frayed. Flash agrees to continue working with Aquaman to defeat the invading force, but their friendship is badly damaged. Interested readers can obtain Aquaman/Flash: Song of the Void #3 on August 16 to see what happens to Arthur and Barry’s longtime friendship.