Mera: Queen of Atlantis #5 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Lan Medina, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Mera Vs. Orm
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Both Aquaman and the Mera spin-off comic have been building towards the final battle for Atlantis, and while Aquaman is busy dealing with the magic-addled, monstrous Corum Rath, Mera is facing a potentially more dangerous foe – politics and old grudges. Although she and Orm have made their case to the Kingdom of Xebel – led by Mera’s former fiancee Nereus – Mera’s grandmother is conspiring with Nereus to punish Mera for her past betrayal and sabotage the new alliance. Mera, Queen of Atlantis #5 leans harder on the political elements than previous ones, with very little action save for an initial sparring session between Mera and her former trainer Leron. This issue is written in a clever, tense way so we’re fooled into thinking that this is an actual sneak-attack on Mera’s life instead of an elaborate training scenario. We’ve seen relatively little of Mera and Leron’s friendship, but the wily old trainer is an intriguing supporting character and I’d like to see more of him.
Then comes the issue’s big twist, as Nereus agrees to aid Atlantis in their fight against Corum Rath. However, his own anger and the manipulation of Lammia have tainted things, and Nereus approaches Orm with an offer. Soon, Nereus’ gambit has been revealed – he wants to aid Atlantis, but he has conditions, starting with the fact that he demands Orm, not Mera, be crowned as monarch. Although Mera is suspicious and wonders if Orm has been plotting against her, it’s not until the second part of Nereus and Lammia’s plan becomes clear that she turns against them – they’ve kidnapped Tula with the intention of forcibly marrying her off to Nereus to unite the kingdoms. Unable to let her friend be a pawn, Mera challenges Orm to trial by combat as we build towards the finale. It’s a well-written issue, if a bit lacking in dramatic moments, and I think Abnett has actually consistently been better on this title than on the main Aquaman title as of late. And it’s good to see her finally take the lead, unlike the first few issues.
Corrina: Oh, jeez, isn’t there a better use for Tula than kidnap bait? That’s the point where I rolled my eyes with this issue. The natural fight here should be Nereus vs. Mera and I would have applauded that. Mera Vs. Orm, however, is yet another rehash of the exact same argument they’ve been having since Orm showed up. When I say Abnett’s books have pacing issues, this is what I mean.
I suppose the end of her miniseries will lead into…well, probably not Tula marrying Orm. Though having Tula call for combat against Orm might have been a lot more interesting, while Nereus faces Mera.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
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