Aquaman has had it up to here (see the Mariana Trench) and his blood pressure has only risen due to finding out Black Manta is behind it all. It’s a fight comic sort of issue as the two throw down, but is it good?
Aquaman #15 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“THE DELUGE” conclusion! It’s all been leading to this: Aquaman and his Atlantean army vs. Black Manta and the forces of N.E.M.O. in a final fight for supremacy over the seven seas. Whoever wins, one thing is certain: only one man will swim out alive!
Why does this book matter?
This is the big conclusion to “The Deluge” story which has built up quite well as the US and Atlantis have been on the edge of war. In a rush to prove Atalntis’ innocence, Aquaman must stop Black Manta now more than ever!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
You guys are screwed…
The first ten pages of this issue focus on Aquaman kicking Black Manta’s ass. Along with the fighting–rendered in high detail by artist Philippe Briones–writer Dan Abnett writes some riveting captions that detail the scope of N.E.M.O. and how dangerous they are. Essentially there’s a battle of fists, but also a battle of ideas as N.E.M.O. aims to create chaos by their actions. Briones choreographs this scene very well, with Black Manta pulling no punches and Aquaman looking like he’s never been so angry. It’s an intense sequence that’s brutal and proves Aquaman is a bit more of a street fighter than you might expect.
The remaining pages of the book focus on Aquaman as he speaks directly to the President of the United States. The president, who Briones draws as the spitting image of Obama, and Aquaman speak on the past actions of both sides. Abnett essentially shows Aquaman isn’t a king who wants war, or even who likes fighting, and it goes a long way to show its his heart that makes him such a great leader. Superman is also in this scene as he plays the part of neutral party and this allows Aquaman wrap things up with his status on the Justice League too.
There’s also a short scene involving Mera which seems to suggest her story is wrapping up with the Sisterhood, though the future threat of the end of Atlantis is still very much possible.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Call me crazy, but Aquaman’s status with the American government seems to wrap up too easily. Considering there are guns trained on him as he speaks to the president it’s not hard to believe he barged in, which is probably the last thing you want to do when brokering peace. Mera’s story also seems unsure of how it wants to end as it lacks a satisfying conclusion to the turmoil and mental anguish she’s been going through over the Sisterhood’s vision. Black Manta also seems to get the short end of the satisfying conclusion stick. While he hasn’t had as much of a focus over the course of the series, he did open the DC Rebirth series and his verbal sparring lacks purpose due to things wrapping up so quickly between them. All in all, the multiple conclusions are more convenient than satisfying, with even Black Manta’s demise up in the air. Call it a stereotypical superhero end that lacks the teeth to feel long-lasting or meaningful.
Is It Good?
Aquaman comes off as a hero in more than one way, which is a win in itself. An epic fight sequence to start the issue showcases the sheer awesome power with a war of words to close the book, showcasing his heroic heart. It’s hard to deny this is a solid period on why Aquaman deserves the credit and credibility of other heroes in the DC universe. Unfortunately the conclusions don’t feel as certain, which takes the teeth out of its endings.