Written By: Dan Abnett
Pencils By: Brad Walker
Ink By: Andrew Hennessey
Colors By: Gabe Elteab
By: James Portis
King of Atlantis, Arthur Curry has spent 15 issues of the new run of his comic fighting a secret organization N.E.M.O and trying to mend ties between Atlantis and the surface world. With the crisis averted and peace finally restored, a new threat is emerging, Mera feels inadequate to be Queen, and Arthur really needs an aspirin. Is this a good read? Let’s find out.
So yes, this is the beginning of a new arc for my favorite superhero. I was originally going to review this and cover its launch in an arc review. However, this, unlike other DC Rebirth Titles, has its first arc be 15 issues… I don’t understand why. The arc itself wasn’t bad by any means it honestly was an arc Aquaman desperately needed so he could be taken more seriously. It gave an evolution to him and addressed the sceptics and the haters who have gone out of the way to insult Aquaman at every turn. Now as we move on in a state of peace and a new threat approaches, I feel that I can review this as a new jumping point.
The comic begins unexpectedly with what seems to be a scientist at a college research department conversing with an electronic voice. We can’t read what the electronic voice is saying but somehow its transmitting what it wants to say directly to the scientist. He has brought what this voice wanted. A bunch of electronic equipment and then promises he won’t tell anyone that it’s down here. But then the voice notices that he has a gun. The scientist says he was scared. So somehow the voice takes control of him and makes him put the gun to his head and then after begging for his life. But then he tries to shoot what he sees is a robot man and then the robot takes control again and ends the poor guy’s life. The robot then just returns to watching the news…About Aquaman…DUN DUN DUN yea no.
The story then moves to Amnesty Bay, the town where Aquaman was born. He is helping with the cleanup effort after the war that N.E.M.O tried to start between America and Atlantis. The police woman asks why he’s helping here rather than a major city. To which Arthur replies that this is his home and others have been tasked to handle those places. Which I find really touching. He still remembers his roots regardless of becoming king. One of his chief warriors Murk asks why don’t they just used Atlantean technology to fix this like what Tempest did in Titans issue 7. (that will be my next review). To which Aquaman replies with ,“That was Garth’s call. This is about the people”. I love this moment for two reasons,
- This shows that Dan Abnett, writer of both Titans and Aquaman, along with DC is acknowledging their own continuity. which Is great for a giant shared universe such as this.
- The fact that Aquaman is caring more about the bonding of Atlantis and the surface world that he’s not just fixing it easily. He’s trying to form a partnership. An Alliance that will last. Which, as mentioned by Mera right after this moment, it is all he’s ever wanted.
Arthur then approaches his wife to be, Mera, seeing how she’s doing. Mera informs him of why she feels she can’t marry him. It’s a lot of backstory that comes from Aquaman 1-15 so rather than spoil it I’ll allow you to go back and read it for yourself. The bottom line is, Aquaman refuses to give up on her. At that moment, the paparazzi swarms them, showing that since the events of issue #15, their popularity is up. But to the shame of myself and others, one of Aquaman’s fans says his “Aquamazing” …Just, Just no. The officer in charge of the cleanup, who also happens to be childhood friends of Arthur, saves him from the paparazzi. She then shares her feelings of how she finally sees him for who he is, a King, a warrior, a hero. Not just an old flame. It’s at this moment, Aquaman’s head begins to hurt again. Oh I didn’t mention that, throughout this issue, something has been giving Aquaman increased amount of headaches. Mera and the officer, Erika, have been suggesting it’s just from him fighting after literally being hospitalized during the last arc. (seriously it’s really good go check it out) He just tries to shrug it off, trying not to alarm them.
We then cut back to the college research lab. The robot has lured more scientist down to him to bring him more equipment. They see that he has some dastardly plan as he plants images of destruction in their heads, calling himself Warhead as the comic ends…
Aquaman #16 was a refreshing and an intriguing start after what felt like a dragging on but memorable arc. It introduces a new villain that to my years of reading Aquaman seems to be brand new, and it shows that the first crisis that Arthur had to deal with wasn’t for nothing, which I love. The art on this title by Bradley Walker has been some of my favorite art ever in an Aquaman title. He’s shared the workload of this title with two other great artists but I feel that Walker’s is the best out of the 3. The way he draws each character is just wonderful and I love seeing his work each issue he does.
So, I feel proud to give this book for being a solid read. It wasn’t over the top, but it was a great start to a new chapter for Aquaman with some amazing artwork. Hopefully this next arc isn’t longer than the last.