Aquaman #41 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Lan Medina, Penciller; Vicente Ciufuentes, Inker; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Mera’s In Charge
Ray: Dan Abnett is bringing his long run on Aquaman to a close in a few months as Kelly Sue DeConnick jumps on board, and his final act will be this tie-in to Drowned World. It’s also one of the best acts of his series, as he gets to close out plot points from his Mera: Queen of Atlantis miniseries and give the character a major spotlight she was lacking during the extended Corum Rath storyline. Atlantis hasn’t been having a good few months, between the civil war, a Suicide Squad invasion, and now this crisis. The story opens with Atlanteans enjoying the sun, getting used to being above water again. But before they can get used to their new circumstances, the alien waters breach their territory and start turning Atlanteans into monsters. Mera manages to hold the water back with her powers, and promises to find a solution to a little boy she rescues. But the crisis is much bigger than Atlantis, and Mera and her few remaining allies soon find themselves completely overwhelmed.
One of the best parts of this issue is the way Abnett establishes that Mera is one of the most powerful heroes in the DCU, even more powerful than Aquaman. Her aquakinesis is an incredible defensive weapon, and she winds up creating a massive barrier around her and the surviving Atlanteans. Essentially sealing them in a bubble, Mera and key characters like Murk and Mother Cetea try to find a solution. Mera spends a lot of time going back and forth with Batman, learning just how bad things are on what’s left of the surface world. There are also flashbacks to Aquaman in the realm of the dark sea gods, but this issue is at its strongest when it’s not trying to recap. Mera is a great lead here, but there’s only so much she can do, and she soon finds herself completely alone against impossible odds. That’s when she recruits an ally from the highest prison tower in Atlantis – Ocean Master. This tie-in feels like it’s finally going to be the Mera-driven story I was hoping her solo miniseries would be.
Corrina: Ah, Ray, I suspect after the terrific Mera spotlight this issue, we’re going to swap over to Ocean Master, as Abnett has always seemed far more interested in Orm than Mera. Which is too bad because, as shown this issue, Abnett’s Mera can be a title character with enough power and majesty to deserve for her stories to be about her. (I may still be smarting from Mera: Queen of Atlantis being much more about Orm.)
As to the story, it’s obviously a prelude to “Drowned Earth” and, I would suspect, to Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Aquaman, which features Aquaman away from Atlantis. I thought the setup, with the boy and his mother insisting Mera save their dad, was hokey, and a tad too obvious a way to draw emotion from the reader. But Mera’s insistence on protecting all of Atlantis with her power was impressive. (Also, Batman, leave the woman alone if you’re not offering help.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.