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Aquaman #23 Review

In the last story arc Aquaman and Mera stopped an invasion from the US government and fought off an army of Dead Water creatures. After both heroes nearly died in the process, they’re anxious to return home to Atlantis to recover and recuperate. Let’s find out how that pans out for them.

Aquaman #23
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Scot Eaton
Publisher: DC Comics

Spoilers lay dead ahead, matey!

DC synopsis:

“CROWN OF ATLANTIS” part one! Beleaguered by ceaseless conflict with the surface world and rising frustration with their outsider king, the people of Atlantis take steps to depose Arthur from his throne. And he won’t let go without a fight! The next major movement of the AQUAMAN saga begins here!

What’s the skinny?

After a brush with death Aquaman and Mera have finally returned home to Atlantis to regroup and recover. Unfortunately for them they’re thrust right back into the frying pan within moments of arriving in Atlantis. Former Atlantian terrorists, the Royal Council and the king are all mixed up in a game dominance over Atlantis.

What’s the catch?

I won’t pretend to be an expert on Atlantian culture and politics, but the process of removing Arthur from the throne was full steam ahead and then out of nowhere came to a screeching halt. While plenty of arguments are given for the Royal Council’s issues with Arthur remaining as king, literally no explanation is offered behind the halt of the forced removal. There are a lot of theories that can be formed off of the information that’s present, but I didn’t particularly enjoy how the writing of this attempted coup was handled.

Is it good?

Scot Eaton’s work isn’t the flashiest or loudest, but what it lacks in panache, it more than makes up for in consistency and focus. Eaton’s work gives you an appreciation for the human form if nothing else. During Arthur’s confrontation with the Royal Council we’re taken through a rolodex of different characters, each with their own unique looks and emotions masterfully put on display. I’ll be honest, Eaton’s work isn’t necessary my style, but I appreciate the consistent level of quality he puts on display.

Given the appearance of the mysterious hooded figure in last issue, it’s safe to say there’s something deeper going on with the coup against Arthur’s leadership of Atlantis. Someone is bent on tricking Arthur into a misstep and thus setting him up for the finishing stroke. That was a great setup for how things opened with Arthur, Mera and Corum Rath. But that’s also where things started to become really confusing. A violent uprising is occurring against Arthur and Mera, and then just abruptly stops due to the revelation that the higher ups within the Atlantian Royal Council also want Arthur gone. While Dan Abnett did a nice job methodically working through each of the council members and the reasoning behind their problems with Arthur’s leadership, it still doesn’t explain why Corum Rath backed down. I enjoyed the dialogue between the council members, Rath, Mera and Arthur throughout this scene, I just find myself perplexed by how the story shifted. We’re not left with any indication of how the story will proceed moving forward.

There’s a gang of ten plus assailants against Arthur and Mera; things aren’t looking particularly good for them. Yet because one man yielded it’s suddenly a time out to a life or death fight. I’m going to need more than that to fully buy in. That aside, I’m really pleased to see this arc focused on Atlantis instead of the world at large. I’ve always been curious to learn more about the city, it’s past and it’s culture. While this set up issue wasn’t perfect, it did a nice job laying out an interesting new path that hopefully dives deep into the Aquaman mythos.

Aquaman #23
Is it good?
Excellent dialogue
The spotlight is finally on Atlantis and its people. No outside forces (I hope)
Consistent artwork that delivers a plethora of new characters
I didn't like how the biggest plot point of the arc was handled and I'm unclear where the writer is taking things from here

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