Black Manta is getting ever closer to crushing Aquaman (just look at the cover), but he’s doing it politically. Aquaman was recently whooped right in the street by the Shaggy Man (literally), and Mera was whooped by the Widowhood (figuratively speaking), so they’ve seen better days. This issue deals with the fallout, but is it good?
Aquaman #11 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? For the full DC summary just read this:
“THE DELUGE” prologue! Aquaman’s mission to unite the sea and surface has taken a great leap forward. But N.E.M.O.—the secret terrorist organization—has other ideas. Black Manta deploys the agents of N.E.M.O. to provoke hostilities between Atlantis and America. The Deluge—the prophesied, all–out global war—is about to begin…
Why does this book matter?
Abnett has been building towards a conflict with N.E.M.O. for some time now and it’s very personal. That’s because Black Manta runs the show for them and he’s personally trying to destroy Atlantis for good. This issue sets up his next attack.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Dang, that is brutal.
A few story elements come to a head with this issue so if you’ve been reading along or dropped the book recently it might be time to pick it back up. Aquaman and Mera come face to face with Superman (who they beat up a few issues ago), the results of Black Manta’s latest plan finalize, and the human friends of Aquaman come to his aid. Things are coming together nicely and there’s plenty of payoff. It also serves as a good starting point for new readers as we’re reminded of what just occurred, a major scene between Mera and Aquaman takes place, and N.E.M.O.’s next plan starts to take shape.
In more ways than one, this issue serves as a recharge for Aquaman. Abnett has been basically beating the character down issue after issue, but here he’s letting us know it may have been bad, but never give up. I suppose it’s the story of heroes doing their best when they band together, which is always uplifting.
The art by Philippe Briones (with colors by Gabe Eltaeb) keeps the news channel stuff interesting enough with detailed crowds and easy to read characters. There are some dramatic panels refreshing our memories of Aquaman’s battle that are downright horrific which help set the mood when Mera confronts Aquaman. His bruises are quite something and look believable and horrific in their own right.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a table setting issue if I ever saw one and that means lots of postulating as the characters prepare. Elements like Mera’s doubt about marriage are brought up and don’t feel paid off quite as well as Abnett may have liked. That’s because we’ve only seen this doubt for two issues or so, and brief glimmers in most instances at that, so their making up feels not very genuine. It’s your classic example of characters quickly resolving issues that probably needed more panels to accomplish, but that’s comics right? Ultimately the table setting is done so quickly, with so many story threads that were slowly developed now changed or resolved, it’s too much.
Nice touch with the cameras.
Is It Good?
This issue sets the stage for a huge battle that should not be missed with issue #12. If you dig quieter character moments, or just want to start reading this series, this is a great issue. That said, it does more to set up and resolve conflicts so as to make the next issue enjoyable, rather than delivering a satisfying experience here.