Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: Stjepan Sejic and Steve Wands
Published by: DC Comics
“UNDERWORLD” part one! In this extra-sized anniversary issue, former terrorists have replaced the Atlantean police. Crime lords control huge swaths of the kingdom. And a deadly undersea arsenal is trained on the surface-dwellers. All is as King Rath commands—and yet whispers persist of a rebel in the slums of Atlantis: A hero with the potential to change the world. A whole new era of AQUAMAN begins as master storyteller Stjepan Sejic (Sunstone, Death Vigil) joins series writer Dan Abnett for Arthur’s boldest and most harrowing adventure yet!
The king is dead….
for about 18 pages at least.
But I have to say that writer Dan Abnett is putting together one heck of a political thriller. In Aquaman #25, the kingdom of Atlantis is now under the control of a despot named Corum Rath. The new king wants to isolate Atlantis from the rest of the world, and he begins by taking out anyone who opposes him. To aid him in his quest, Rath is collecting various magical artifacts from the area.
To make matters worse, any citizen who may wish to leave Atlantis isn’t able to, because the Crown of Thorns still encapsulates all of Atlantis. This means no one gets in, and no one gets out without the word of the new king. Meanwhile, deep in one of kingdom’s poorest communities, a small resistance is forming. And at its margins is a phantom the locals are calling the Aquaman.
It’s clear that Dan Abnett is being influenced by real world events for this arc. But one of the things that I enjoy about his Aquaman run is that while there are similarities to current events, Abnett still makes things feel fresh and new. Political elements aren’t just thrown in just for fun, there’s a reason for each element being there.
However, some of the best stuff in this issue are the moments when Dan Abnett gives us a view of the Resistance forming, and how Orin’s fits into it. Maybe it’s me, but issue seems like just the beginning of something big for Aquamn’s world. But my favotire part of Aquaman #25 was seeing him recruit the mute Dolphin to his side.
I was a huge Dolphin fan during the Peter David era of Aquaman two decades ago, and I’m very happy to see her back. Mera probably won’t be happy to meet her, but I can’t wait to see where Dolphin goes from here. Hopefully Abnett has big things in store for her.
Aquaman #25 also sees the arrival of new series artist Stjepan Sejic, and holy moley, this guys draws a badass Aquaman! Sejic’s work is absolutely beautiful, his rendition of Mera is one of the best that I’ve seen. She’s powerful, regal, and beautiful.
Even his redesign of Dolphin is a gorgeous one. Stjepan Sejic has given her a more youthful innocence, and new mutation that I wasn’t expecting. It’ll be fun to see what other secrets she’s hiding.
Aquaman got a makeover too, going from his clean-cut look, to one more resembling his movie counterpart. But I appreciate Stjepan Sejic didn’t make him look like Jason Momoa, so there’s still a clear line between the comics and the movies.
The only bad thing I can say about Aquaman #25 is that the time jump is abrupt. I’m not positive how much time is supposed to have gone by, but between the end of issue #24 and the moment Aquaman shows up in issue #25, less than an entire issue has gone by. I think things would have worked better had Aquaman disappeared for a few months at least.
Regardless of my one problem with this comic, the fact remains that Aquaman #25 is one of the best Aquaman comics I’ve read in at least 15 years. This issue was a page turner filled with excellent dialogue and stunning art. I cant wait to see where Dan Abnett and Stjepan Sejic take us next.
Aquaman #25 score: A