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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Aquaman (Vol.8) #24 - Dec. 2013

"Death of A King Chapter Six: Secret of the Seven Seas" by Geoff Johns, Paul Pelltier, Sean Parsons, and Rod Reis.

Aquaman is finally back! It felt like forever!

This opens with a recap of how Aquaman's parents met, and what his future was supposed to be:
...but of course, we know that's not what happened. Aquaman is currently in a small tent with Vulko, recovering from his wounds after fighting the Dead King. He is more than a little shocked to know that he has been out for six months.

Aquaman demands to know where Mera is, but Vulko tries to deflect his king's anger, instead pointing him towards a giant crevice that one stood an American research outpost (#31?). Despite all the lies Vulko has told Aquaman, he assures him that all the answers to Atlantean history--which includes the Dead King--are there.

Aquaman grabs Vulko, and together they go exploring:
Vulko tells Aquaman to take the throne, which he does. In a few moments, a sort of ice bubble forms over it, and Arthur, where via telepathy he is shown the history of Atlantis: how it's king, Atlan, had his throne usurped by his brother, Orin, leading to a bloodbath.

Atlan has his wife take their children to safety, while he stays behind to fight. After nearly being killed, he escapes to the rendevous, only to find his family dead. Leaving the city, Atlan spends years forging "six powerful talismans" (which we recognize as the weaponry of The Others), returning to Atlantis, prepared to fight to the very, very end.

Using the scepter, Atlan strikes the grounds of Atlantis, shattering the once-mighty nation into so much rubble:
Only three kingdoms of Atlantis survived, with one of them evolving into the beings known as The Trench. Aquaman awakes, bursts free of the throne, and is told the hard truth: that he is not the descendant of Atlan, who is now back for revenge, but:
...to be concluded!

I found it hard to find any of this issue plausible (if that word can even be used in this context, when talking about superhero comics) once Aquaman decides not to try and go find Mera, and instead go Goonies with Vulko. He's been separated from his wife (er, sorry, his girlfriend) for six months! The Aquaman I know would have shoved Vulko aside, jumped into the water, climbed a whale if he was feeling weak, and headed back to the triangle to find her.
It seems as though that Geoff Johns is setting the stage for incoming writer Jeff Parker, in that Aquaman will no longer be tied to the Atlantean throne. And for that I say: huzzah! Johns and Co. hit the ground running with this series, returning Aquaman and Mera to full-on Superhero Mode, something I had hoped would be the main thrust of the book. That was not to be, so now that we know that Aquaman will not have any reason to be involved with Atlantis, he can go find Mera, head back to Amnesty Bay, feed Salty, and get back to being capital-s Superheroes!
Art-wise, I think this is Paul Pelletier and Sean Parsons' best issue yet, aided wonderfully (as always) colorist Rod Reis; I love the sepia tones on the flashback pages, and the Shazam-esque Atlantean throne room is truly impressive. I hope they stay on the book for a while, and really get a chance (with Jeff Parker) to kick off an exciting new era for Aquaman.


David J. Cutler said...

This was my favorite post-Ivan issue, though now that you mention the bit about so quickly forgetting about Mera that is going to stick in my craw.

I had the same hopes for the series you did, and while the first three stories really paid off in that respect, this diversion back into Atlantean politics has been (for the most part anyway) a little disappointing. I miss the world that was set up in his earlier new 52 adventures.

Count Drunkula said...

The best part of this issue was the statue of The Fisherman in the Dead King's throne room.

Joe Slab said...

Oh I don't find Arthr's not swimming immediately to be with Mera implasible at all. By history he has left Mera when she's needed him the most (i.e. to chase Black Manta after Arthur Jr's death, later on to move to Detroit, & for most of Volume 4(the Waterbearer)so when you really think about it, its only been since Johns took over that he's been as committed to their relationship as he has been.

Jorge PR said...

I'm still not 100% convinced of Arthur not being KIng of Atlantis, but there might be a twist, so I'll wait.

Rob, you wrote wrong the title, it's not "Secret of the Seven Seas" but "Scourge of the Seven Seas".

rob! said...


My copy says "Secret of the Seven Seas."

Orin's dad said...

The part that I had the hardest time with was the fact that he's been unconscious for 6 months, and still has bloody bandages all over him? None of his cuts/scrapes have healed at all? Doesn't Vulko ever change his bandages, or use Bactine? He can trim Arthur's beard, but can't put on clean Bandaids?

Even though he was a villain, it was still cool for me to see Orin back in the book. (of course, I might be a little biased... lol)