It’s getting a lot worse for Aquaman and Atlantis and it ain’t getting any better anytime soon. The American government is sending a hit squad, Black Manta is punching holes into all sorts of ships and blaming it on Atlantis, and Mera is even down for the count. As the drama kicks up a notch we ask the question, is it good?
Aquaman #14 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“THE DELUGE” part three! No sooner has Aquaman found a lead on the location of N.E.M.O.’s secret headquarters than the United States sends a team of aquatically trained super-soldiers to take out the sea king. Behold America’s Aquamarines!
Why does this book matter?
How patriotic is that cover eh? Dan Abnett is making this story bigger by the issue as the ramifications of Aquaman’s actions increase. He’s tag teaming it with artist Philippe Briones on this one which means a lot will be packed into each panel.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Report: Echo niner.
If Abnett is aiming to dial the stakes up a notch he does so here and then some. Essentially the events in this issue give Aquaman every right to go to war with America even if he doesn’t want to. He’s subtly developed the Atlantean characters around Aquaman so well that the attack they take in this issue is more profound and heartfelt. These are characters with distinct personalities and personas, which help increase the damage done when they are attacked.
It also allows Aquaman to give these intruders a good smack and have us cheer them on. It certainly helps that they look evil as hell too and this action sequence is well rendered. Again, it helps that Aquaman’s supporting characters are well developed as they take part in this battle and make it more meaningful.
There are some major developments in this issue that tie back to visions Mera had which payoff anyone who has been reading all along. They’re a perfect ending, but wait there’s more: Abnett and Briones cap the issue off with a zinger of a splash page. Given the shit Aquaman has been put through I imagine he may not hold back quite as much as he did earlier in this series!
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is one of those superhero comics where there’s a lot of fighting so as to make it a fight comic, but for what purpose? Given, America and Atlantis are in worse shape after this, but the special ops crew that grace the cover are all unknown baddies so you’ll have no care when they’r’e defeated. In fact, they are defeated so easily here it’s almost a joke they took up so much of the issue. With these characters came strange intercom captions that show us the relaying they’re doing as they enter and prepare to attack Atlantis. I imagine they’re in the book to increase tension and make them appear well organized, but the captions don’t hold information that are that helpful or interesting. They end up being a distraction, much like they are in general when it comes to progressing the story.
There’s a nice check in with Mera in this issue though it doesn’t do a whole lot to make her point of view all that clear. She’s nervous and scared, but speak up dammit! She’s committing a crime we see in movies and that’s staying quiet to serve the plot.
What a crazy coincidence.
Is It Good?
Aside from Aquaman having to handle some rather mundane time suck baddies, this issue progresses the overall plot well as tensions rise. Atlantis may never be at peace with America after this issue and Abnett has done well to give him just cause for that!