Aquaman is in the deep end (heh) and he desperately wants to get out. But wait, isn’t he good at swimming? Not that kind of deep end! Aquaman is encountering an entity he can’t understand and it’s scary as hell. We review issue #21: Is it good?

Aquaman #21
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brad Walker
Publisher: DC Comics

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So what’s it about? The official summary reads:

“H2.0” part three! Aquaman and Mera learn that the “strange water” they’ve been sent to investigate is in fact a gateway to an alien world that’s the source of Arthur’s recent troubles! And tensions flare between Aquaman and his less-than-heroic teammates over whether to make contact with this new world or destroy it!

Why does this book matter?

This is part three of a storyline that’s been giving me the frights. Brad Walker has been drawing scary good art with a horror-tastic story by Dan Abnett. Overall the story has mixed Aquaman’s politics well as he attempts to stop a threat nobody knows how to stop.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

What is that?
This issue reveals a lot more than I was expecting with Aquaman and Mera going into full detective mode to figure out where the Dead Water monster comes from. To say Abnett has pleasantly surprised me is an understatement. As our heroes enter some strange portal, we get to see some fascinating things and it’s clear Abnett is crafting a wildly cool science fiction story here. The tale is so impressive I wouldn’t put it past Warner Brothers to turn this into a movie if the Aquaman franchise can handle it.

Woven into this amazing reveal are the US government forces, who are monitoring Aquaman’s approach to a strange entity and possibly ready to move in with great force. There’s a militarization element ot the story that adds a level of reality to the story. The fact that among them is a spooked out victim of Dead Water helps increase the doom that permeates the story. That helps ground things and make it feel more real than without it.

Walker does a fine job on art too. There’s some fantastic alien life that looks realistic, but also strange and new. Once again, I dig how Walker draws the government team hanging about in their scenes giving them a bit of life. He tends to draw the entire group in a far away shot so you can see them all, which gives the reader something to look at even if only one or two characters are talking.

Sure, going into the glowing weird thing is a great idea!
It can’t be perfect can it?

One could argue the end of this issue devolves into a monster movie trope, but hell it’s a fun twist. That said, the monster does look a tad over the top. There’s fins, crazy teeth, a long tongue, and a hell of a lot going on. There’s even breasts on the thing, which makes it a tad harder to take it seriously.

Is It Good?

The horror story you never saw coming continues in Aquaman #21 and readers are better off for it. If you dig The Abyss or Sphere you’ll love this.

Aquaman #21
Is It Good?
Another interesting and horror-filled issue in what is amounting to a fantastic story arc.
A strong issue that balances the reality of the military with an amazing find
May advance the Aquaman story in an interesting way
Looks great
Save for a ridiculous monster at the end this is nearly perfect
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