With the city of Atlantis under the rule of Corum Rath, King Orim thought to be dead, and a new age of isolationism established in the ocean, who can return this nation to it’s former glory? Mera of Xebel? She has no claim to the throne what is she- …She thinks the dead king lives once more? Well the evil forbidden magic that isn’t forbidden anymore will keep her out. Wait she’s literally using the entire ocean to break through? Oh no…Let’s dive into Aquaman #26 and see if it’s a good read.
What You Need to Know:
In the span of Aquaman 23-25 along with Justice League #24, Arthur Curry has been killed, and one of the believers of the old ways of Atlantis, Corum Rath, has resurrected the forbidden magic of the seas and isolated Atlantis in a wall of Thorns so powerful no one can escape or enter. Creating a new isolationist Atlantis, the way some people feel is should be. With this new order, the once future Queen Mera and once regent of Atlantis Tula, were forced out of Atlantis. But when Vulko, once chief advisor to the king, informed them of the apparent return of Aquaman, Mera is now using her Aquakenesis to harness the entire ocean to break through to Atlantis. Now with a new, but familiar to comic fans, ally in tow, Arthur Curry is on a mission to escape the eye of the new king while also protecting the people he swore to.
What You’ll Find Out:
Over the course of this issue, we have the continued assault of Mera on the crown of thorns, with Corum Rath attempting to tell everyone that they are safe and that nothing can breach the city. What’s hilarious because he realizes that if she breaks through and finds Arthur alive, he loses everything. His frantic/ attempting to stay prideful demeanor is fun to observe.
Along with that we have Vulko…Poor Vulko who is being tortured with forbidden magic, for using forbidden magic(irony) to contact Mera. Thankfully though a sea nun, which are words I never thought id utter, from the school of magic has chosen to aid her once enemy Vulko, because of their common enemy in Rath
Finally we have the Aquaman. Arthur Curry, who until recently has been in hiding but revealed himself when the mutants of Atlantis came under fire from Rath’s thugs, is on the run from the Atlantean guard with the help of a mute woman mutant named Dolphin (cue nostalgic squeal) they enter the darkest reaches of the sea to escape where Arthur learns of the torment these mutant citizens have been suffering from the wrath..of Rath…inconvenient wordplay. Hopefully with this new understanding of his people, Arthur can begin to be a better king once he regains the crown. Till then, we have coral manipulating magicians and giant Godfather Crabs to deal with…you’ll have to read the book to understand that one.
What Just Happened?
Aquaman #26 took everything I loved about 25, and crammed it into a smaller page count. This is what I want in an Aquaman book. The corruption in Atlantis is a nice change of pace. its nice to see that this kingdom isn’t perfect. When the Deluge (the old Atlantean society that believed in the old ways) were brought more into the forefront of this series, it seemed apparent that the perfectionist shield of the underwater city that many writers portray was finally going to crack and reveal a more compelling narrative.
Arthur working with Atlanteans is amazing. Him being THEIR hero rather than ours. Again it’s why Black Panther has been so good as of late. Because he realizes that protecting his people comes first. I’m all for the peace in the surface, but unlike last time Arthur was overthrown, i feel now he is learning and has the potential to have a new beginning under the sea.
There are also two things very odd here. Dolphin, which i keep squealing uncontrollably about, is for some reason not only mute, but mutated to literally have fish like arms and legs and randomly the power to bio illuminate and cause seizures…which is totally different from the pre New 52 comics where she was only mutated as far as gills and webbed fingers and toes. also she can’t speak which is bothering me. Very odd choice Abnett. The other thing that is weird is the hatred for mutated fish people in atlantis. which makes no sense because in some way shape or form all Atlanteans are mutants because they can breath underwater and have different physiologies than humans. It’s the ultimate pot/kettle scenario. But thankfully the comic isn’t affected negatively by these oddities.
The art once again is fantastic. the detail here is so fitting for an Aquaman comic that it feels as if Stjepan Sejic was born to work on this title. This is so insignificant but literally the bubbles, the fricken bubbles are present in every panel. showing the motion under water, or even just the Atlanteans breathing. It’s so minute and so insignificant that it blows my mind that he took the time to do all of them.
Amazing second issue to a new arc and an almost truer Aquaman than anything we’ve had in recent years. That’s not to say Rebirth so far and the first half of New 52 weren’t amazing, but this issue gives me everything a book about a hero from Atlantis should do. I definitely recommend it as well as the previous issue. Also I recommend Justice League #24 for a look into Mera’s story during the whole “throwing the ocean at them” thing because other than existing shes just attacking the whole book.