Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse
Arthur Curry is a man born of two worlds but feels home in neither. The surface world is afraid of him while the Atlanteans doubt his loyalties. Aquaman is the bridge between these completely different worlds and it is now his duty and goal to bring everyone together in peace. This is the basic story that Dan Abnett is working with for his run on Aquaman and it’s a pretty interesting one. Instead of being a mysterious nation that no one on the surface world will ever see, Arthur intends to make their presence known. At least in a less hostile way, unlike the events of Throne of Atlantis which saw Arthur’s half-brother, Orm, lead an Atlantean army against the surface. Arthur’s plan is to build Atlantean bases upon the surface where delegates from Atlantis and the rest of the world could meet in peace. It’s an interesting story and one that I’m definitely interested in reading about. Last issue we saw that Arthur had appointed Mera as the head of the embassy’s and to be the face of Atlantis for the public, mostly because people adore her. She agreed to do the job under one condition: to get her own Aquawoman outfit. I will say that it is kind of cute to see Mera in her own “Aquaman” outfit, though I’ll admit I hope it’s temporary. I don’t want to see Mera turned into a generic counterpart (think Batman/Batgirl, Superman/Supergirl, you get the idea). Last month we also got a good look at Aquaman’s new villain, Dead Water. A serial killer who can teleport through water no matter how big or small the body of water is. We didn’t get to see too much of his looks, but we did see his victims being murdered in a variety of ways last issue. This month we definitely got a good look at him and boy is he a terrifying villain. So let’s get into this landmark #50 issue of Aquaman!
I’m going to try and not give away a ton of details because I’d rather you go out and pick up the issue. Seriously though, pick it up because it is a fantastic issue. However, there will be spoilers so just so you are warned. Ok, so the issue begins with a pair of FBI agents looking over one of the crime scenes from Dead Water’s attack. The two of them are completely baffled by what they see as the local police officer explains that the wounds were caused from a shark (cue the Jaws jokes). Without a clue to go on or a way to track this “Dead Water” they make a call to Aquaman for his expertise in the matter. Meanwhile in Atlantis, Mera is preparing for a press conference at Spindrift Station, the new Atlantean surface base. Arthur explains that they might have to postpone it until they deal with Dead Water unless they risk bad publicity. He tells her that he’ll deal with Dead Water by using himself as bait, while she gets ready to address the public. Mera and Arthur meet with the FBI agents, who hilariously obsess over the two of them.
Arthur follows them to New York where the scene of the crime is. He tries to trace Dead Water’s trace and before he gives up, he manages to locate something. Suddenly, Dead Water appears and he is MASSIVE. He appears like a half humanoid creature with a serpentine-like lower body. The two of them engage in a ferocious fight which is beautifully rendered by guest-artist Brett Booth. This type of action hasn’t been seen in this book since Paul Pelletier. Seriously, it is glorious to look at. Meanwhile at the Spindrift Station, Garth shows Mera the live footage of Arthur taking on Dead Water. This part reminded me a lot of Geoff Johns work on the book, where they are interviewing citizens and they are shouting about how Aquaman isn’t a hero and that he doesn’t care about humans. That he’s dangerous. Aquaman has Dead Water on the run but suddenly, the creature pulls Aquaman down through a puddle. While it first appears to be water, Arthur discovers that it’s not like any water he’s ever experienced before. He’s finally able to take down Dead Water and finds that he was just a man.
Meanwhile, Mera prepares to speak to the mass before her. She makes a few clever nautical jokes to the enjoyment of the crowd. People absolutely love her. Arthur watches a stream of the event and couldn’t be more proud of her. The issue ends with Arthur on his way back to the base as he listened to her explain how Aquaman always is and always will be a hero.
This issue was one of the best issues of Aquaman I’ve read in the longest time. Probably one of the best since Geoff Johns’ run. It feels like Geoff Johns actually wrote it. It has a perfect mix of suspense, action, humor, and fun. Almost like a combination of Geoff Johns run and Jeff Parker’s. This issue saw Brett Booth as the artist, and surprisingly, he was the only artist on the book. This might be the only #50 I’ve seen with only one artist. I’m not complaining at all because Brett Booth absolutely nailed this issue. This might be the best work I’ve seen from Booth in all honesty. The characters look beautiful, the action feels dynamic and powerful, and Dead Water is absolutely terrifying! Can I say how adorable Mera looks in that “Aquawoman” costume? Well I’m going to anyway. This is Dan Abnett’s second issue on Aquaman and he’s already becoming one of my favorite Aquaman writers. It seems like he has a great feel for these characters already. It was announced that Dan Abnett would be staying on the book as well for Rebirth and I couldn’t be happier. He writes such an adorable Mera and the playful banter between Arthur and Mera brought a smile on my face that stretched ear to ear. This is the Aquaman run I’ve been waiting for since Geoff Johns left and knowing that it’s not ending in May makes me so excited. The only downside is that Brett Booth won’t be on the book anymore! The only thing I’ll say though is what I said earlier in the review. While Mera is absolutely adorable in the Aquawoman outfit, I do hope it is temporary because I really don’t want people to see her as just the generic counterpart to Aquaman. It’d take away a lot of her individuality if they stayed with that look. I have a feeling like it is temporary though, since the art for Rebirth has her back in her classic green outfit with her crown.
This was an amazing issue and definitely one of the few #50’s that was worth the money. I highly recommend this to any Aquaman fan or anyone looking for a fun read with beautiful art.