Review – Aquaman #46: The Old Gods Return

Aquaman #46 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Aquaman #46 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Writer; Robson Rocha, Penciller; Daniel Henriques, Inker; Sunny Gho, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9/10

Corrina: Epic

Ray: I’ve complained a few times about covers that spoil the ending of the issue, but this is the first time in a while I’ve seen a cover that doesn’t at all reflect the contents of the comic. Aquaman doesn’t get turned to salt in Aquaman #46, making it a random scene almost out of the silver age. The good news is, that doesn’t detract at all from another exceptional issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run. When we last left off, Aquaman and his new ally Caille had arrived at their destination in search of the mysterious Namma – only for Caille to turn into the horrific Cailleach, a carnivorous monster. Robson Rocha continues to do the work of his career, depicting Gods and monsters in truly impressive style. And speaking of the former, the mysterious village of unspoken water gets some new visitors on its desolate shores – a group of mysteriously tall men and women who claim to be the old Gods we were introduced to in DeConnick’s second issue. Much like in her indie works, everything introduced here matters.

The Gods and humans are debating over Caille’s fate, but it’s Aquaman’s fate that’s much more in danger at the battle site. He can barely fend off the monster that his friend’s turned into – but this turns far more difficult when Namma shows up, ready to harvest the monster that’s been lurking inside Caille. The truth of what Caille is and how she’s been used is a lot more disturbing than I expecting, officially cementing Namma as one of the more despicable villains in recent memory. I was worried that this would turn Caille into a victimized observer in her own story, but thankfully DeConnick has some more surprises in store for her – starting with an unexpected makeover. By the time this issue is over, Aquaman’s old life and new world seem to be getting closer, he has his first A-list new villain in years (no, Corum Rath doesn’t count), and DeConnick has further expanded the fascinating original mythology that she’s building here. This has quickly built up into one of DC’s most interesting runs.

Enter the Cailleach. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: We’ve all seen the issues where a hero is rebooted to search for new meaning. This arc is loosely that theme but done in an epic style with gods and monsters and that makes it unique and wonderful. It’s all anchored in Arthur’s intense need to save others, no matter what it costs him. His horror at Callie’s transformation is real, as is his determination to help her, and his calling out the goddess for her abuses of power.

There are so many amazing visuals: the struggle between Callie and her horrible other self, Aquaman being dragged along underwater by Callieach, the waves as Aquaman struggles with the goddess, the transformation of the salt, even the small moments in the village as the Old Gods gather.

This is like nothing I ever expected and everything I want in an Aquaman story.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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