Corum Rath rules Atlantis with an iron fist and dark magics. His reign secured from outside threats thanks to a mystic barrier that surrounds Atlantis, he has turned his attention to cleansing Atlantis of undesirables. His primary target is the “sea-changed” – mutants who have begun to acquire the appearance and characteristics of undersea animals.
The people of Atlantis do not abide this tyranny lightly, however, and many have begun to fight back. Until now, the resistance has been disorganized and unable to do more than slow Rath’s plans. That has changed with the return of Arthur Curry – The Aquaman!
Unfortunately while those who resist are united under one banner, their leadership are hardly unified in purpose. Vulko, a former councilor, dreams of restoring the first Royal bloodline, despite Arthur’s insistence that he has no interest in ruling. Then there is Ondine, secretly an agent of the the mystic order known as The Widowhood, who have their own ideas on how to make Atlantis great again.
Such things are of little concern to Arthur Curry. He has but one wish apart from saving the people of Atlantis and bring Rath to justice – reuniting with his lost love Mera, who is far closer than he thinks and in far greater peril than he knows.
Those who feared that the artwork in Aquaman would suffer in the wake of Stjepan Sejic’s departure from the title can rest easy. Ricardo Federici proves a most able successor, boasting a detail-driven style that is similar to that of Sejic yet still visually distinct. The emphasis of Federici’s art lies in its linework, with very little shading to enhance the original pencils. This, coupled with the vibrant color palettes utilized by Sunny Gho, results in pages that literally seem to glow. There’s also some fantastic letter work from Steve Wands, particularly on the labels when the scenes change.
Dan Abnett’s writing on this series continues to dazzle. Though the series has gotten away from its original conceit as The West Wing with superpowers (if anything, it’s now closer to Game of Thrones in terms of its politics and use of magic and monsters), Abnett still finds a good balance between the political scenes and the personal drama. There’s also a lot of dramatic fight scenes, including Aquaman’s brief battle with King Shark.
If you haven’t given Aquaman a chance, this is the perfect issue to start with. Despite some references to the on-going saga, most everything until the final pages is explained for the benefit of new readers with only a minimal amount of exposition required. The artwork and action sequences are fantastic. This book is a definite must-read for anyone who likes good comics.