Aquaman #39 – Dan Abnett, Rob Williams, Writers; Joe Bennett, Penciller; Vincente Ciufuentes, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The second part of “Sink Atlantis” has Dan Abnett take over on scripting and shifts the focus to the goings-on in Atlantis. Last issue saw the Suicide Squad (with new recruits/cannon fodder Lord Satanis and Master Jailer) enlisted in a secret plot to take Atlantis back down to the depths – only to find out that Waller intended them not to sink the island but to nuke it. While Mera attempts to handle the diplomatic complications of Atlantis’ sudden rise in her new role as Queen, Aquaman secretly confers with chief of security Murk on a plan to intercept the invaders as soon as they become known. Urcell, the Atlantean traitor who welcomed the Squad’s attempt to depose Mera, is horrified once she finds out their plans, but they don’t take kindly to this. The savage Croc simply grabs her, and this starts a riot as the Squad splits down the middle. Satanis is all in favor of the plan, but Harley’s ethics win out. The ensuing riot quickly draws unwanted attention – in the form of Aquaman.
Sure enough, the Squad has no real chance once Aquaman shows up in the Ninth Tride with Dolphin and Jurok Byss in tow, and Harley and Deadshot wind up captured while the rest of the Squad escapes to continue their plot. Complicating things is Mera’s discovery that Aquaman’s been going off-book and dealing with plots against Atlantis without informing the Queen. Abnett’s overseen some major status quo changes for Aquaman, and it’s clear that the characters are having trouble adjusting too. Mera’s trying to ensure she’s respected as Queen, while Arthur’s doing the exact same thing he’s always done – protect Atlantis by any means necessary. This story could have been tired if it was used to force conflict between them, but Abnett wisely emphasizes that they still see themselves as a unit and are trying to support each other. As the extent of the Squad’s plot is revealed, Mera gives Aquaman the go-ahead to recruit King Shark of the Ninth Tride, and we’re off to part three. This remains a more compelling plot overall than either of the involved books have had in awhile.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.