Aquaman #53 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Writer; Robson Rocha, Daniel Eduardo Pansica, Pencillers; Daniel Henriques, Julio Ferreira, Inkers; Sunny Gho, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Aquaman run is a complex and challenging read at times, combining superhero action with fantasy mythology and a compellingly meta look at the threat the sea and land pose to each other. The title’s had to do some juggling with the Year of the Villain storyline, but it’s brought Black Manta and given him a fascinating upgrade that ups his threat level. As Aquman #53 starts, Manta’s destruction of Atlantis’ historic statues has been discovered by Queen Mera, and the pregnant queen vows revenge on the surface over this assault on their history.
I’m still a bit worried about the idea that Mera’s pregnancy is making her irrational and violent – she apparently nearly killed Arthur, and now she’s ready to go to war with the surface, and that’s a trope that has been done badly many times. But DeConnick’s worked with problematic tropes and evolved them in interesting ways in her indie work, so I’m intrigued to see where she goes.
The other half of Aquaman #53 is set in Amnesty Bay, as the fishing village recovers from the monster attack and is visited by the mysterious lighthouse keeper who is at the source of the town’s mythology. He’s an intriguing figure with dark ties to the monsters that attacked the town, and he may be the oldest metahuman in the DCU if his powers are what they look like. But he also seems to be a cruel man, picking at Jackson’s fresh wounds in an attempt to force him to confront his own “monsters”.
He throws the town into chaos from the moment he appears, but the town doesn’t have time to adjust as soon they get invaded two ways at once – by Mera’s Atlantean forces, and Black Manta’s war machine. Like the earlier half of this run, DeConnick is balancing a lot of elements and mostly hitting on all cylinders. Hopefully the tie-ins will resolve themselves quickly and she can continue building her master story uninterrupted.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.