Review – Aquaman #35: Usurper Corrupted

Aquaman #35 variant cover
Image via DC Comics

Aquaman #35 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Robson Rocha, Penciller; Daniel Henriques, Danny Miki, Inkers; Sunny Gho, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: Sinking Story

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Ray: The battle for Atlantis continues in Aquaman #35, as Corum Rath’s descent into insanity reaches its apex and power plays are made to wrest control of the city away from him. With Mera off on the surface, Aquaman is leading a ragtag group of warriors into battle, including King Shark and his Ninth Tride of mutants. They’re making quick work of Corum Rath’s soldiers, but the fight becomes a lot more tense when Kadaver arrives, now mutated into a grotesque being of coral and barnacles – who proceeds to infect Rath’s soldiers with his own magical sickness. With an army of undead mutant soldiers at his disposal, Rath starts winning battles and sends King Shark and his allies on the run. It’s only Aquaman’s intervention that wins the day for the heroes, but before long, Aquaman has a new opponent of his own – his former general, Murk, who seemingly betrayed Aquaman to Rath but also ensured his survival.

Murk has been one of the more complex characters in Abnett’s Aquaman run, torn between his absolute loyalty to Atlantis and his concerns over Aquaman’s ties to the surface world. His hope was that Aquaman would retreat to the surface and leave Atlantis for good, but his return has forced Murk’s hand to ensure the death of his former king. Their battle is only stopped when Aquaman convinces Murk of just how insane Rath has become – including the killing of the commander of the School of Sorcery. The end of the issue drives home exactly how far Rath is gone, as he listens to the mysterious voice coming from the magical pit, eventually allowing himself to be subjected to the same process that transformed Kadaver. It looks great, but the problem is that few of the characters involved have been given much development or characterization. It’s exciting, but it’s rarely as compelling as the best Aquaman runs were.

Aquaman #35 page 2
King Shark is a shark. Image via DC Comics

Corrina: I like Murk, what I’ve seen of him, which is something I can say for most of the characters Abnett has introduced. The problem is that all these intriguing characters show up, are interesting, disappear or do nothing for some time, then have a big moment or, rather, a moment that should feel big but because there has only been an introduction and no build-up, it’s never as big as it wants to be.

That’s what reading Murk’s confession was like to me. I realize comics only have a small amount of space but I also feel this way about Coram Rath, who went from intriguing to one-note, then tyrant to corrupted evil tyrant.

Hey, at least King Shark is a shark, still.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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