Arthur Curry is a paradox. He is a monarch by birth and a commoner by upbringing. He is King of Atlantis, yet few of his subjects truly respect his rule. As Aquaman, he is a superhero on the surface world yet he is mocked for his powers and distrusted because of his nation’s previous acts of war. He is a man of two worlds who does not truly belong to either.
Arthur Curry aims to change that.
Enter Spindrift Station – the first Atlantean embassy! It is here that Aquaman – and his fiancee, the water-manipulating Mera – hope to build the first bonds of peace with the rest of the world. Dignitaries from across the globe and numerous media outlets have been invited to the opening gala, in the hopes that the rest of the world will see Atlantis as a friend rather than a threat.
It’s an all too tempting target for the terrorist known as Black Manta, whose father was accidentally killed by a young Arthur Curry years earlier. He swore that he would kill Aquaman to avenge his father’s death and he still intends to do that… eventually. First, Black Manta shall destroy everything Arthur Curry holds dear. His new embassy. His lover. His dream of peace between the nations of the world and Atlantis. Then, and only then, will he allow Aquaman the mercy of death!
Having established the status quo of the series in Aquaman: Rebirth #1, Dan Abnett is free to play around a bit with the supporting cast in this issue. One surprising subplot involving one of Arthur’s guards and a British Royal Navy officer lends an unexpected note of humanity to the proceedings. Another good scene develops Mera, showcasing the diplomatic skills that seem at odds with her warrior background. It’s a welcome bit of character business given how Mera hasn’t been given much chance to play any role but the supportive wife thus far. The only real problem with the script is that Black Manta isn’t as well developed as the rest of the cast, but that may come with time.
The artwork for this issue is phenomenal. Brad Walker’s character designs are uniquely memorable and he draws a fantastic fight scene. Andrew Hennessy’s inks enhance the original pencils rather than obscuring them. And the vivid, varied color art by Gabe Eltaeb causes the finished artwork to pop upon the page.
Aquaman is in good hands and this new series is an excellent continuation of the character’s legacy. He may never know the love and respect of mainstream audiences that his counterparts in the Justice League enjoy, but that is not the fault of this creative team. This series shows why Aquaman has endured as a concept for over 70 years and why the character has earned his place among the elite of DC Comics’ heroes.