Leading into the crossover event ‘Throne of Atlantis’, this issue opens with a flashback to 1820 of some pirate-looking guys on the high seas, tracking down a man that resembles 90s, long-hair Aquaman. After harpooning him and hauling him onboard their ship, they reveal that they’ve already killed his “sea witch” before they attempt to kill him.
In the present, we see Aquaman employing his aquatic telepathy (complete with Super Friends “Vuu vuu vuu vuu” sound effect). His fish messengers deliver a message to the throne room of Atlantis, where we learn that the king is Aquaman’s brother, presumably Orm, the Ocean Master (pictured on the cover). There is a welcome mention of the existence of another until-now missing Aquaman supporting cast member. Arthur suspects someone Atlantean, possibly Orm, has the intention to attack the surface world, but Orm denies this. There are also interesting interludes featuring Black Manta and Vulko.
This issue marks the debut of the new art team, with pencils by Pete Woods and Pere Perez. (I believe Perez draws the Black Manta portion as well as the opening and the teaser closing scene.) Perez’s work actually resembles that of departing penciller Ivan Reis, so that is a nice nod, but Woods’ work bears no resemblance, making for a less-smooth transition. Not to imply that it’s bad or anything. His work is very clean, detailed at times and flows well, but lacks any real innovation as far as page or panel layouts.
Orm appears shadowed over throughout the story, never appearing in full. It’s an odd decision, since for one thing, he is shown in full glory on the cover. His dialogue on the surface appears altruistic, but knowing what we know about this character, we know he’s probably lying. In this case, the darkness helps point to Orm’s true, evil nature. But maybe if a reader didn’t already know who Ocean Master was, this might have ruined it for them.
The story is a nice balance between set up for ‘Throne of Atlantis’ with a few throwbacks to this series first two storylines. The art is slightly inconsistent, but is overall good. I’m not sure what to expect from ‘Throne of Atlantis.’ Aquaman is pretty consistently solid, but I have been really disappointed in Justice League, so this could go either way. Maybe JL will rise to Aquaman’s high standard and not drag him down to that book’s level.
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Pete Woods and Pere Perez
Cover by Ivan Reis, Rod Reis and Joe Prado