Review – “Aquaman #40”: Atlantis on the Brink

Comic Books DC This Week
Aquaman #40 variant cover, credit to DC Comics.

Aquaman #40 – Dan Abnett, Rob Williams, Writers; Joe Bennett, Pencillers; Vicente Cifuentes, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist


Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: Atlantis is…Saved?

Ray: The first of two Aquaman crossovers in the coming months, Sink Atlantis comes to an end in Aquaman #40, as the Suicide Squad’s invasion of Atlantis has led to the potential doom of both surface and sea. A power-mad sorcerer named Lord Satanis has seized control of the Silent School and intends to destroy Atlantis to gain enough power to return to his home dimension, while Mera has retaliated for what she thinks is an American invasion by stationing massive tidal waves on the coast of the surface nation. As the issue opens, Dolphin may be the only person able to stop Satanis from accomplishing his goals, while King Shark and Killer Croc are engaged in a bloody battle between apex predators. With Satanis activating the bomb and the clock ticking down, Master Jailer turns out to be the key to holding it off, using his unique ability to unlock everything, including enchanted locks. By the time Aquaman arrives, time is short and it seems like only a sacrifice may be able to stop the bomb.

At first, the deeply depressed Killer Croc seems to be volunteering himself to be that sacrifice, wanting to die so he can be with Enchantress again. Suicide Squad has been pushing for a while just how much losing Enchantress destroyed Croc, but the problem is that the series never quite made their relationship compelling enough for us to care. What’s more, I don’t think many of us are convinced whether Enchantress is actually dead – her death was deeply ambiguous. The eventual actual death is heavily telegraphed and was pretty much inevitable the second the character announced that he was looking to pull one last job before retiring to be with his family. The issue is action-packed, but the plot is kind of weak overall. What I did like, however, was the very compelling ending subplot involving Mera and Amanda Waller finding a way to pull their countries back from the brink of war and forming an uneasy alliance to share intel. Abnett’s Mera has been one of the most compelling parts of his run, and I hope he continues to expand her role.

Atlantis on the brink. Credit to DC Comics.

Corrina: Whenever we see the Suicide Squad lately, Harley Quinn seems to take it over. That seemed to be that’s the case with this issue as well, even though she’s not in it that much. But when she is, she tends to muscle out everyone else.

That’s a minor problem with this issue but there are others.

One, this crossover hasn’t advanced the story in Atlantis at all. They’ve above ground again, for the first time in ages. And….other than people wanting to attack them, we have no idea of the impact on them or the surrounding area. What challenges does Mera face? Is there a faction working to put them back under the ocean? Is there a faction that wants to head out to dry land and explore? (You could have fun with a bunch of teenage Atlanteans not listening to the “dangers” of the surface world and sneaking out…) And, of course, there’s the magic, which they let a stranger grab, but there’s obviously magic to be had.

Who wants it now? How does Mera merge the factions that put her on the throne?

But, no, what we have is a basic, only mildly interesting, superhero smash-em-up instead.

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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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