It was just about two months ago that Abnett got his hooks into refreshing the King of the Seven Seas and Water Puddles. It was magnificent and he let slip some of the changes that would be taking place. With unbridled pun-itude he rode swells of nostalgia and sea foam to bring me one of my favorite comics this year. It was fun and only slightly hinted at the darkness which is to come.
The darkness maybe closer than I care to admit. It isn't Aquaman who is getting "Reborn."
Spoilers Follow... Like I need to remind you.
We have a mysterious narrator catching the reader up with the events revolving around the Moist Monarch's rule. Spindrift has made it's way down the coast of New England to Massachusetts (closer to my neck of the woods) with Mera, i.e. Aquawoman, fully in charge of the all the goings on of the embassy. Garth is by her side, but Arthur is doing what he was born to do, swim after bad guys and punch them real hard (which is difficult in water).
The topsy-turvy class based structure of Atlantis has a few disgruntled members who have formed themselves into a terrorist cell named "The Deluge." These oceanic anarchists are caring some thermonuclear bombs toward Boston (I mean who hasn't dreamed about doing this at some point). The Crowned King of Crawfish defeats them before any harm could befall the good (debatable) people that wear Brady jerseys in the summer.
The mysterious narrator shifts to explaining how much is on Arthur's platter. He is the sovereign of the majority of 2/3 the planet, but he still tries to help the other 1/3. Public perception of him is all over the place. He is a man of two worlds, belonging to neither.
The narrator explains that the only thing that seems to keep The Slippery Sultan from spiraling into work related burn-out and depression is the companionship of his lovely wife Mera. She keeps him grounded... so to speak. His dreams are what matter to her, and her feelings are all that matter to him. It beautiful. It's caring. It's about to get dark.
This is where the curtain is pulled back and we figure out that the narrator is none other than Kaldur'ahm; former Aqualad and son of Black Manta. He then explains how he will defeat the Duke of Dampness by using Mera. He then assumes the mantel of his dead father and The Black Manta is Reborn!
This is what Abnett brings to the table. Great character development. Emotional investment. A promise of a body count (Dan Abnett has caused Exterminatus on countless worlds). The main downside to this issue is that we don't get nearly enough of Abnett's signature cornball dialog. I get it; this is a reintroduction to the main actors and the rebirth Aquaman's greatest villain. It needs to be heavy. It needs to set a future tone. It needs to....
Dammit you're gonna kill Mera aren't you Dan! You made her so likable this time around for a reason, you clever bastard: so it hurts more when she dies...
Sorry, that's just blatant speculation.
/bites lip and wipes tear from eye.
Oscar Jimenez's hand at depicting the Wettest of Sovereigns is deft and clean. It isn't as light and wispy as Brett Booths, but that is to be expected. He plays colors across the pages with flare that is fitting to the Gouache Gallant that is Aquaman. You see honesty in Arthur's eyes, love in Mera's eyes, and pain in Kaldur'ahm's eyes.
I can not wait to submerse myself in "The Drowning" next month.
8.5/10 Squid Tentacles.
Like most of the Rebirth books, much of this comic is exposition. However, the reveal at the end makes it all worth while.
*Kevin is responsible for all terrible nautical based nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and imagery used in this review.