Mera: Queen of Atlantis #2 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Lan Medina, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: This Story Is Not About Mera
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: For the second issue in a row, Mera: Queen of Atlantis #2 sees the title character playing second fiddle to her arch-nemesis Ocean Master, as her plot feels like it’s in a holding pattern and the story focuses on his personal conflict and family. The issue opens with Orm’s family waking up, with his son all excited for his stepdad to take him fishing – only for his mother to instead find a note by Orm saying that he has to return to Atlantis to take care of business. That business starts with finding Mera, who begins with the issue with a dream where she’s healed and in the sea again, reuniting with Arthur in an ocean embrace. She’s woken up by Tula, who lets her know that Ocean Master is waiting for her. At first, his approach to the situation shows that he has changed, as he puts aside his bigotry against Xebel and only seems to be reluctantly heading back to reclaim the kingdom. However, once he finds out Mera is Queen-designate, his tone changes in a hurry.
Lan Medina does a good job with the art on this issue, depicting the oceanside battle with style. If anything, he might be better with settings and action than character work. Only Mera and Ocean Master really get anything to do this issue, with Tula limited to standing in the back and reacting – disappointing, given her ties to Orm. Ocean Master may have started the issue as a wild card, but by the end, he seems committed to reclaiming his throne by force and he becomes more unstable as he fights Mera. She’s still well off her game due to the magical injury, and he quickly gains the upper hand. He’s ready to kill her – until his family appears, horrified by what they’re seeing. So it seems like once again, next issue will be dominated by Ocean Master being torn between the two worlds, while Mera will likely continue to wait for her story to actually begin. This isn’t a bad series by any stretch – neither is the book it spins out of – but it’s not really a Mera series.
Corrina: I have no idea why, if DC wanted an Ocean Master miniseries, they pulled a bait-and-switch instead and called the miniseries Mera, Queen of Atlantis. Because, aside from learning that Mera misses the love of her life, I have no idea what else motivates her. If she’s going to be Queen, what’s her plan? What’s her vision of Atlantis? How will she lead it to the future? She has none, at least not any the creators have developed in the book. She was appointed Queen by someone else and she’s written with seeming to have no clue as to what that means going forward. And, of course, she’s not involved in fighting to free her kingdom because the only important thing she did during that revolution was to be captured, then injured, then rescued.
It would have made a nice contrast between Orm and Mera if they’d talk about their contrasting visions for the home they both love. them. Instead, she’s “I’m Queen,” and he’s “Nope, I’m clearly the better choice as ruler!”
All this isn’t mean to run down Mera as a character. I love Mera. But I hate the way she’s being written in this series as someone with no thoughts except to reunite with Arthur and heal, and nothing of her own desires to see what Atlantis might become under her watch.
Orm, of course, has always had specific ideas of what Atlantis should be. He’s the protagonist here, pushing his agenda, while the women around him make pleas to his compassion.
This is such a disappointing result for a miniseries that I hoped would finally explore more about Mera. (No wonder I loved Gotham City Garage, which treats its characters like people with hopes and dreams. Though, given the wasteland created in that world, there was no room for Mera to make an appearance.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.