Aquaman #51 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Writer; Robson Rocha, Penciller; Daniel Henriques, Inker; Sunny Gho, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: I continue to be blown away by just how well Kelly Sue DeConnick weaves together the many subplots in her Aquaman run. So far, Aquaman has befriended a bunch of ancient sea gods, returned home to discover a cursed lighthouse, and picked up a new sidekick, while Mera is pregnant and navigating the thorny Atlantean marriage politics by planning a wedding of convenience to former traitor Vulko.
And did I mention Lex Luthor is running around plotting with Black Manta? The Year of the Villain stuff in Aquaman #51 is mostly in the background, but still manages to be more compelling than many variants. The addition of Jackson Hyde to the title – fresh off his suspicious arrest by small-town cops – adds some much-needed lightness to the title as he and Arthur get to know each other and Jackson helps with the town-raising. The title’s mythic vibe is compelling, but throwing a modern kid into the chaos helps to humanize the story.
Mera’s subplot is equally compelling, as her rivalry with the head of the Widowhood continues to build and we get introduced to a new character in her court – her wedding planner, a “freak” of the 9th Tride with unique artistic abilities that Mera sees value in. Although her reign has been controversial, Mera’s insistence on reaching outside the Atlantean elite shows some real skill for ruling.
The back half of the issue in Amnesty Bay has a ghost story that turns into a visit from an elder god, which provides a great visual, but the most surprising twist comes in the epilogue where Luthor and Manta meet. The subplot of Manta’s father has been lingering in the background for a while, and the twist that ends the issue shows just how far Luthor is ready to go to win over his potential allies. If the movie is any indication, Black Manta may not be the most dangerous member of his family and the twist here has the potential to up the threat level immensely.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.