Aquaman #32 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Riccardo Federici, Artist; Rick Leonardi, Breakdowns; Sunny Gho, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Still Erratic
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: My main complaint with this Aquaman series until now has been its rather slow pace, as it seems to drag out the battle against Corum Rath and Aquaman’s struggle to gain allies over an extended period. Well, that finally ends in Aquaman #32, as several major plot developments occur in twenty pages. The issue opens with Aquaman trying to negotiate with King Shark, only to get word that Mera’s been found back in the ocean but is unable to breathe water. He speeds over, and with the help of Ondine and the Widowhood, is able to create a temporary fix that keeps her breathing. But to keep her alive, they have to get her back to the surface in less than a day – and the Crown of Thorns is in the way. This leads to Aquaman gathering his forces in a hurry and preparing to wage war against Rath’s magical defense system.
One might worry that Mera takes a rather passive role in this issue, spending most of her time unconscious, but the issue actually features some major developments for her as well. While the Widowhood is united with Aquaman on the idea of removing the insane Rath, they don’t want Aquaman back on the throne either, viewing him as too liberal and weak to protect Atlantis. They have another monarch in mind – Mera. This is a massive shift for the series, and it seems like it’s already causing some major shakeups in the relationship between the two leads. I’m not a huge fan of the idea of potentially breaking up comics’ premiere Aqua-couple again, but this arc has fleshed out the world of Atlantis a lot, and now we’re seeing a lot of those new characters and factors converge in what looks like it’s going to be a hell of an explosion.
Corrina: I would like to believe the development of Mera being offered the rule of Atlantis by the rebels was the culmination of a long character arc for her. But it’s not and how this happened in story pinpoints why I’m so frustrated by this book.
Over Abnett’s time of the book, Mera has been angry and wanting to attack the surface world, angry because she’s been told she will kill Arthur by the religious leaders in Atlantis, been angry again that Arthur has been overthrown, so much so that she nearly destroyed Atlantis and living beings in the sea around it, been captured, and had to be rescued.
There’s little in there that would signal a rise to Queenhood for Mera. Many things have happened to her but she has rarely put her stamp on events. Even this, the offer of ruling Atlantis, is a passive offer from outside. One would think the rebels would be more wary of a woman who nearly destroyed Atlantis in her grief or whose main emotion seems to be anger. She has no interaction with the rebels and no relationship with them. I can see why the rebels would wish to move on from Aquaman but not why they’d pick Mera instead. (One would think her competence would be in question, seeing as how her main contribution to this rebellion is to be captured.)
But Abnett’s run is full of baffling character decisions like this. This decision is made to kick off Mera’s solo series, I’m sure, but while I welcome another female-led title, I’m skeptical that I will enjoy Abnett’s work there any more than I do in this title.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.