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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Aquaman (Vol.8) #18 - May 2013

"Death of a King Chapter One" by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis.

This issue of Aquaman opens in Antarctica, in a remote station staffed by two very bored men:

The two men run out of their station, just as it falls into a newly-formed crater in the ice. A truly scary-looking being rises, attacking the other man, killing him.

We then cut across the other side of the world, with a montage of Aquaman and his men rounding up all the lost Atlantean hardware and bring it all back to Atlantis:
Once again, one of Orm's right-hand men, Murk, gets in his king's face about the Surface Dwellers. It ends unresolved (of course), with Aquaman then moving on to someone else wanting to see him: Ocean Master's sister(!), Tula(!!):
Turns out that Tula and Orm share the same father, while Orm and Arthur share the same mother--making them all family, of a sort. Tula is concerned that her brother will be executed while in the Surface Dweller's custody, and Aquaman again is forced to try and calm one of his skeptical subjects.

Back at Amnesty Bay, Mera is at the police station, but quickly tires of playing along, tossing the formal complaint into the air, saying she has a dog to feed. The police then threaten to add "Resisting Arrest" to the list of charges.

Aquaman visits Vulko, to try and learn who is collecting all the lost weaponry. Turns out it's name many Aqua-Fans are familiar with: Peter Mortimer, The Scavenger!
Upon hearing this, Aquaman takes off, leaving Vulko to again pledge his allegiance. Murk and Tula talk, with the former insisting that her brother is still his king...and that Orm needs to be rescued.

After a quick diversion with The Scavenger and his crew in their sub, we find Mera being placed under arrest. She's about to lose it when a young female cop, named Watson, calms Mera down by saying that she can trust them to get this all straightened out. Mera agrees, but then everyone finds themselves blasted by a massive, sudden snowstorm!

Mera tries to control the snow, but is overwhelmed. It's then we see who is behind this violent weather:
To be continued!

This is a fairly talky issue--Aquaman argues with Murk, then he argues with Tula, then he talks to Vulko, with the Mera scenes being similarly talky. The book seems to be returning to the whole "heavy is the head who wears the crown" thing that I think helped sink (no pun intended) previous incarnations of the character. The first year and change of the book established this New 52 Aquaman as an ass-kicking man of action, with an equally strong superheroine at his side, and that clearly clicked with audiences, so I'm feeling a bit hesitant as to where the book seems to be going now. But, having seen some future issue covers, we know that Aquaman and Mera are reunited in fairly short order, so this might just be a necessary stop along the way for the Sea King.

Despite this issue's general lack of action, penciller Paul Pelletier gets some nice moments to shine; the double-page splash of Aquaman headed towards Atlantis is spectacular, and Tula is suitably alluring yet menacing. Her stiff body language around Aquaman underscores how skeptical she is about her new leader, bows notwithstanding.

Finally, I like the design of the Ice Giant guy, I feel like I can hear the little clumps of ice and snow dangling from his beard clinking in the wind. A good, dramatic final page to end the issue!

Bonus! On Tuesday April 2nd, we'll be talking with penciller Paul Pelletier about his experience drawing Aquaman! Be here!


Shellhead said...

Eh, give it some time, Rob.
There was bond to be significant fallout from the attack on the surface. I'm very interested in seeing how the Scavenger subplot is handled. We haven't seen him an Aqua-book in decades.
Arthur needs an expanded and revised rogues gallery. I wonder how long it'll be before the Fisherman shows up?

Randy Meyer said...

I'm weary and wary of Aquaman: King of Atlantis stories. I find them more boring than the type of story likes what we have seen so far by Geoff Johns. However, I really like the fact that Aquaman does not want the crown. I also like that not all of Atlantis is happy about the transfer of power.