It finally happened. The conflict that has been building in Aquaman has finally reached a crescendo... and it's not the obvious one, but it is the one that Black Manta really wants.
Let's do a quick overview: Black Manta (Kaldur'ahm) has taken charge of N.E.M.O. He has put in place a global network of spies both human and Atlantian in places of political and military power. Slowly and methodically he has divided Arthur Curry's support network from his ties to the Justice League to relations with the American government. To top it all off, it seem's that the one thing that might not survive all of this is the relationship with his fiance, Mera.
N.E.M.O. has attacked the United States eastern seaboard. New England and New York have had large tidal waves crash into population centers while an army of Atlantian soldiers cut a swath of destruction. Tens of Thousands have died, as the President launches a counter-attack upon Atlantis. US special services will deploy their "Aqua-Marines" to take out Aquaman. The world watches as the largest human army on land and sea goes to war with Atlantis... or so they think.
Blank Manta is playing both sides. While he attacks the US, he uses US technology to fight Atlantis as well, pulling both sides deeper into a war. The King of the Seas commands are being followed but, even his most trusted advisers are beginning to question what actions Atlantis should take. The most troubling, and what may end up breaking Aquaman in the end, is the departure of his love Mera.
Arthur seeks to find a mediator to the crisis to broker a cease fire, but the US is, understandably, radio silent with someone they believe to have perpetuated a colossal premeditated attack it's civilians. Arthur seems to have an idea of who he can go to, but just as he's about to do it, the Justice League shows up...
This is why you get Dan Abnett to write your comics. Not only can Dan write personal drama, he can script a war. While this may not be galactic in scope, it definitely has a higher body count than most comic events out there. As the Aquaman is pushed to his limit, Dan has shown what thoughtful storytelling and planning can accomplish.
On the art side of the comic, Phil Briones continues to show why he was brought over for the Deluge story arc. Climatic scenes of military struggle and tragedy are deftly displayed. Who doesn't want to see a colossal alligator take a bite out of a battleship while being shot at by F-35's? It's amazing art for an amazing story.
Come back next month for what promises to be a bitter-sweet conclusion.