Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Robson Rocha and Eduardo Pansica
Published by DC Comics
Aquaman reaches a landmark 50th issue this week, and as expected we get more than your typical issue.
First of all, DeConnick has returned Arthur to his homestead of Amnesty Bay with a ship full of refugees Gods from the Island of Unspoken Water. Mostly, Andy aka Arthur has been returned to a recognizable status quo, and even has some tattoos that resemble the actor playing him.
As the old gods of the island attempt to assimilate, we also check in on Mera in Atlantis and are given the return of one of Aquaman’s biggest rogues, Black Manta, to tie in to DC Comic’s ‘Year of the Villian’ crossover event.
Issue #50 is an oversized celebration issue that also features a cameo from Wonder Woman, who is also dealing with refugee resettlement over in her book!
Gee, there must be something in the water!
While Arthur is returning to a familiar status, there is fresh life in DeConnick’s run. It may have taken a few issues to get his memory back and back on his homeland, but there are still new ideas keeping the boat afloat!
Last issue’s reveal of Mera’s pregnancy is now causing a call for a proper heir to the throne to be of royal blood. Without Arthur there (he freaked out and left after he found out he would be a father) Mera’s hand is forced to find another mate, and the choice will have your head spinning! I think we can see here the first steps of Aquaman returning also to his underwater kingdom, now ruled by Mera.
This may take a while to get there but with Kelly Sue at the helm, it is sure to be an unusual and compelling journey.
In a smart third story that helps to fill out the rest of the oversized issue is the story that Amnesty Bay’s law enforcement officer Erika is telling over the course of the issue. In the recap of her story, an old seafarer has taken over a lighthouse in Amnesty Bay after being hunted down the sea itself. This storied old lighthouse could be a good place for the refugees of Unspoken Water to make their home, especially if mystical creatures of the sea haunt the Bay!
I’ve been mentioning in my reviews that lead up to this 50th issue that I hoped the story would get us here and it did in a satisfying way!
Aquaman is a tricky title to try to reinvent and also give compelling stories to the weird and wonderful world of sea adventures, but DeConnick has taken us there, introduced new elements to the core, and, as a mother herself, imbued and authenticity to Mera and her pregnancy storyline.
Arthur Curry may be back on mainland, but besides eating his favorite meal of cereal, we’ll have to see how he adjusts.
The last few pages are a banger, leading up to the return of not only Black Manta, but also another member of the Aqua-family we haven’t yet seen since the black out days. We’ll leave that mystery for you to discover yourself, but as a sidebar, as Luthor is assembling his squad for the Year of the Villain, the heroes should be getting nervous. Luthor is ever the mastermind, appearing before baddies in hologram form like The Emperor before him, urging them to suit up.
As far as oversized anniversary issues go, this one gets a high rating, not just for the cameos and teases, but also for the overall arc that Aquaman is on right now. DeConnick, Captain Marvel‘s most famous writer, is no stranger to writing for the trade, but hasn’t left the single issue skills behind. Aquaman continues to impress as a monthly comic! It’s interesting to see former Marvel (and indie) writers fitting in so smoothly with DC continuity in general.