So…I have a lot of DC Rebirth floating around because I got in it late and decided to jump in the middle of things. One of those was Dan Abnett’s Aquaman run. Thankfully, my hard work and dedication in allocating money for these things translated into me picking up all the missing issues. And then doing a re-read, including the 6 issue Mera mini-series.
And holy moly is this not just one of the best Aquaman depictions out there? How did I miss this? Dan Abnett’s Aquaman is epic, full of political intrigue and incredibly well structured. Just going through that six issue Mera mini-series and watching Mera ultimately confronting Orm…and then jumping right to Aquaman 38 was an incredible moment.
Abnett must be some sort of machine. I don’t think he actually exists. I know with Rebirth he had a lot of his fingers all over a bunch of books…and he must have been what…writing a bunch of stuff at the same time? Does the man sleep? I think I might have referenced this in a previous post.
But I digress. The reason this run works is because Abnett went at an angle of who Aquaman is. There’s political intrigue, the concept of being a king, and the ridiculousness and violence that comes with it. And the thing never falters. It just keeps going as we go from one crazy situation to the other, until Arthur Curry loses the kingdom to a radical called King Rath.
And the thing about this is that it’s not brain science. Abnett basically uses old and true forms of storytelling and just crams it in this story. King Rath decides to use the weapon of magic to return Atlantis to its perceived former glory. And of course this magic ends up compromising him, literally. It takes him over and it’s not until Arthur realizes that the only way he can mobilize the Kingdom is to make sure that he is never King again. Mera is the obvious choice. And then the thing just runs at full speed ahead and you don’t catch your breath until Rath is finally removed.
And really the strength of this thing is the thought experiment that you see come to life right in front of your eyes. It’s logical progression and it’s also incredibly smart story telling. Even when Abnett decides to be meta and use the fact that Arthur is considered a joke because he talks to fish into a story, it doesn’t feel contrived or cheap. Everything feels incredible and worth our time and money.
I think this must be the most defining moment of Aquaman in his 80 year history. Abnett’s returning to do the 80 Year Anniversary Special that is coming up, so hell, I might just have to buy it now. But one thing is for sure, Abnett kicked this thing’s ass. So with that here’s your reading list of Dan Abnett’s Aquaman:
- Aquaman Rebirth, Aquaman 1 – 6 (collected in Aquaman Volume 1: The Drowning)
- Aquaman 7 – 15 (collected in Aquaman Volume 2: Black Manta Rising)
- Aquaman 16 – 24 (collected in Aquaman Volume 3: Crown of Atlantis)
- Aquaman 25 – 30 (collected in Aquaman Volume 4: Underworld)
- Aquaman 31 – 33, and Aquaman Annual 1 (collected in Aquaman Volume 5: The Crown Comes Down)
- Aquaman 34 – 37, Mera 6 Issue Mini-Series
- Aquaman 38 (Except for Mera 6 Issue Mini-Series collected in Aquaman Volume 6: Kingslayer
Don’t read Aquaman 38 until you read the 6 issue Mera mini-series!!!