By Dan Abnett, Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessey, Gabe Eltaeb, Pat Brosseau
How great is that cover? I would frame that on my wall if I could get in a 22×24 size. The rest of the issue, is pretty awesome too…
For fans of the Aquaman Rebirth issue, this is more of what you loved. More Arthur and Mera, more Atlantian embassy, more of the witty surface views of Aquaman and his culture, more Black Manta, all with the added benefit of a singular artistic vision.
The king of Atlantis has opened his embassy doors to the surface, the reception being a test run of interaction better the Surface and the Sea. While Arthur himself is nervous, King Arthur/Aquaman doesn’t have that luxury. This venture succeeds or fails on his shoulders and its a burden he has to bear. Sure enough, right when you least expect Black Manta strikes to see Arthur’s efforts burn away.
Right from the get-go, Abnett shows an amazing command for these characters that many write off instantly as corny or goofy (favoring other spandex clad heroes with other powers that don’t include talking to fish). They feel very relatible, reminding me of the best times Marvel depicted Thor and Asgard. No matter where they come from or their title, these are still people and the best way to write them is as such. Even Black Manta’s single minded quest for revenge isn’t entirely outside the realm of understanding, he’s trying to avenge his father and nothing can get in the way of that.
Bringing all of this to (four color) life is Walker’s pencils and Eltaeb’s colors. The art feels like a natural evolution of the the New 52 style, only here it’s more animated and angular. It surprised me how well the water was drawn in the panels, which is something thats obviously important in a book like this but understandably hard to depict. The diagonal sections of the panels during the action scenes and the splash pages only increase the tension and excitement as the hero and villain face off. Black Manta looks appropriately deadly, and like someone who can go toe-to-toe with an adversary who can shrug off bullets and survive extreme pressure underwater. Arthur himself looks very imposing leaping out of the water with his trident at the ready. Even the scenes of the Atlantian Embassy before the attack were compelling as two worlds nervously interacted in a room neither was entirely comfortable in. As an added bonus, it’s always nice to have the cover reflect the art inside a comic. It feels increasingly rare in a book published by the Big Two.
All in all, this is what I would consider as a classic issue of Aquaman. The stakes are raised, the characters are wonderfully realized, and to top it off its one pretty book. Starring Aquaman. Brace your wallets, readers, because Aquaman is about to become a must buy again…
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent