Comic Book Review: Aquaman #25
I’m not going to mince words, this is my first issue reading Aquaman. I can’t honestly say he is a hero I have ever been able to put my investment in. Truth be told the main reason I have chosen to jump in at Aquaman #25 is because one of my favorite artists just so happens to be taking over for ‘Underworld’. If you were a fan of this guy’s work, then without a question you would be in the same boat. Aquaman is not a bad hero, that much I will make clear, though at times it can take a significant draw-in to give him a shot.
Now before I get into this issue, those who were expecting this to be a jumping-on point for new readers might find themselves to be mistaken. For whatever is going on currently, and for the fact that this is the extra-sized anniversary issue, things do progress as they should like any issue before. With that said, you don’t feel lost at the start considering all you need to know is that 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. Not to mention the current king of Atlantis is King Rath. Once you understand the current state of this world under the sea, it is easier to get into this story. You are pretty much asking yourself what kind of Atlantis would exist if someone less than humane took over. This change of power was our answer to that question.
Getting around to Arthur, you had to wonder what state we would find the once king now that everyone believes him to be dead. There’s always something intriguing about someone who was in his position falling from grace. Whether it is the way they look, or how the way they think changes, you can feel that inside they are broke. This may be a familiar plot to some, but it is the little things that make it worthwhile. The same for Arthur could be said for Mera. A tough pill to swallow seeing the state of mind she is stuck in having lost Arthur, to her knowledge that is.
The stirring of trouble throughout was solid in progression. For where this issue picks up in Arthru’s story I felt instantly drawn-in to the politics and the street-level conflicts. They were quick to jump into what normally happens when you make such drastic changes to a kingdom. You get the pushback, the rebelling, the problems created when you try to police everything through fear and intimidation. The introduction of Dolphin was as anticipated, another thing you were looking forward to if you follow Sejic. She is not a character I’m too familiar with, but there was something about her that makes you want to see what she has to offer in this story.
Stjepan Sejic joins the series for Arthur’s boldest and most harrowing adventure yet. As one of the few Aquaman issues I have read ever, this was a beautiful exploration of Atlantis. You couldn’t have asked for a better artist who could breathe new life into one of the most advanced cities undersea. Even the oldest of areas looked stunning. I saw some artwork from Sejic beforehand, but nothing could have prepared you for the full renderings. The characters are all quality work, but for a book like Aquaman, it just so happens to be the scenery which engages your eyes most. This is actually a shocking change for those familiar with his work. I would normally say it is the characters and creatures who stand out more, but here it is the attention that he put into every building, rock formation, structure, and much more. This was probably one of the best uses of cold colors that I have seen from him as well. Not everyone can nail what it should actually like when you live that deep undersea, but he does. You start with the brighter shades of blue where there is still light, and from there everything darkens when you reach bottom. Then the colors he uses to emphasize what is ancient also stands out. Bleak, but not too lacking in color to take away from the elegance. It also goes without saying that the design of Dolphin was perfect. Everything about the scales on her arms and legs looked natural.
Aquaman #25 was worth the wait t get into this new story arc, and to have one of the best artists you could ask for on a book like this. This is a familiar story with unique qualities to it. I will say it didn’t quite feel like an anniversary issue, but that didn’t stop it from being a great issue in general. Underworld should be worth seeing through to the end.