Aquaman #38 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Riccardo Federici, Artist; Sunny Gho, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: I’ve been pretty critical of the pacing of Aquaman for a while now, as it seems like the Atlantis Civil War has been raging for years, with Aquaman banished and the mad Corum Rath on the throne. This issue, it all comes to a close, and despite the massive build-up it feels a bit rushed. There are a lot of players still on the battlefield, and not every scene works. However, there are a few scenes mixed in that hit on the edge of greatness. As the issue opens, Corum Rath – possessed by the ancient Atlantean force known as the Abyssal Dark, has Aquaman at his mercy. Dolphin attempts to save them, but the ensuing attack leaves her and Arthur both injured. Mother Cetea, the head of the Widowhood, stands her ground against Rath as he marches on the tower holding all of Atlantis’ magic in the issue’s most dramatic scene. She’s been a complex and intriguing character, and she’s ready to face the end – until Mera arrives with the armies of Xebel and a fleet of giant monster steeds.
What follows from there is a fast-paced, brutal battle that ends when the monstrous being that was once Corum Rath has the Abyssal Dark ripped out of him by Aquaman’s magic. In the end, the big bad of the last year and a half of this title goes not with a bang, but with a whimper – but his ultimate fate, reduced to merely a confused monster, is poetic given his hatred for the monsters and mutants of Atlantis’ Ninth Tribe. Riccardo Federici’s art is one of the highlights of this issue, as everything from heroic monsters to hideous monsters has a great unique style. The issue is ambitious – maybe too ambitious, when it drops a massive status quo change in the last few pages of the series. It seems that when Aquaman was dealing with the magic and metals in the recent Dark Nights: Metal event, he made a wish, to have his two worlds united again – and the magics have answered, rising Atlantis from the depths of the sea. This story will continue, oddly, into a crossover with Suicide Squad next month. With Kelly Sue DeConnick set to take over next year, this is entering the last act of Abnett’s run, so let’s see if he sticks the landing.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.