Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: As “The Crown Comes Down” reaches its finale, one thing stuck out to me – this arc has a lot of very strange parallels to Black Panther that were written well before the movie was seen. I won’t spoil things, but people who have seen the movie will pick one scene out in particular. Of course, both are fantasy geopolitical dramas about mythical nations, so some comparisons are obvious. After Mera gets briefed on Arthur’s secret mission by the leader of the Widowhood, we flash down to the sea, where Aquaman is leading a scrappy band of rebels against the forces of Atlantis. Their target? The school of sorcery, which is loyal to Corum Rath and is keeping Atlantis under the impenetrable Crown of Thorns. This segment is almost entirely action, but artist Federici does a very good job with the fantasy setting and in particular the monsters working for both sides of the battle.
It seems like the battle is going to be lost, until King Shark and the Ninth Tride, which chose to stay neutral, shows up to turn the tide. Corum Rath goes from boasting that Aquaman has no chance at success to quickly unraveling and strangling his own aides, proving that petty tyrants are usually only one setback from a breakdown. Unfortunately, he’s been a pretty weak villain overall. Aquaman eventually shatters the crown, saving Mera’s life as she’s able to breathe again (although it’ll be some time before she’s able to stay underwater, something that will be dealt within her upcoming miniseries by Abnett). She’s also crowned Queen of Atlantis, a decision that still sort of eludes me in logic – she was barely trusted to be Arthur’s companion a half-year ago – and Aquaman returns to the sea for the final showdown with Rath. It’s a fairly entertaining run, but there’s still little in the way of plots or characters to really connect to.
Corrina: The Good: the final battle for Atlantis begins, King Shark (who is a shark, of course) shows up with the figurative cavalry, and all of Aquaman’s allies receive a moment that spotlights them.
The art team provides appropriately epic battle sequences.
The Bad: If Coram Rath had been handled with more subtlety and his points about keeping Atlantis safe and isolated made clearer, he might have been a memorable villain, like Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, or a tragic figure, like T’Chaka, who made terrible choices for what he thought was the great good.
Instead, he’s just a dictator who puts “Atlantis First,” but what that means other than hatred of the surface people, we don’t know.
Still, it’s good we’re finally to the end of this storyline and moving onto something else, though I’m as baffled as Ray as to why Mera might be chosen to lead Atlantis when, first, it’s not clear to people in the story that she will survive, and, two, when she’s not even Atlantean. (What about an election? A ruling council? And what has Mera done to earn any of this save need to be saved?) Perhaps the direction for Mera is something dictated by DC Comics.
I’m also a bit disappointed that her solo series will apparently focus on her trials above the water, rather than Atlantean politics.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.