Since Rebirth shook up the DC status quo, Arthur Curry has been one of their shining stars, and the latest in a focused mission to restore the character's iconic place in DC lore.
The creative team has picked up the baton that Geoff Johns handed off from his New 52 series and has successfully expanded Aquaman's supporting cast and world to uncharted depthts. It's a conisstantly great read, as Abnett blends polictics, superheroics, relationships, and the heirecy of royalty into on accessible storyline, which also explores Arthur's place in the league and how the surface world views him.
Arthur's world is packed with interesting characters, but the focus never leaves the King's side. Aquaman is one of the brightest spots in the current DCU, and his ongoing series continues to communicate why he matters to audiences both old and new.
Here are the top 5 reasons you should be reading Aquaman.
It's Underwater West Wing
It might not include the big white house, but Atlantis contains everything else you'd expect to occupy the president's day.
Atlantis has developed enemies due to past military confrontations, is working on establishing a relationship with the surface world, and each issue reveals a new layer of inter-government politics in regards to their King and his constantly in question legacy.
He can't even marry without his fiance going through an obscure process of rituals and teachings, and his day gets even more complicated from there. At every turn, Arthur is being asked to put out fires either on a civic, military, or personal level, and at times it's exhausting just to watch him try and get it all done.
It's a fascinating look at government from an unusual perspective and conveys the immense weight that Aquaman bears on his shoulders day in and day out. It turns out that government in Atlantis is just as complicated as it is on the surface world, just with a nicer view.prevnext
Arthur Curry Is A Complex Man
Aquaman has spent most of his life living in the rest of the Justice League's shadow, and when he wasn't in their shadow he was being questioned as to why he was there at all.
One of the book's highlights is that it doesn't shy away from that history. Rather, it embraces it and shows just how human Arthur is under his scale armor. The resentment has built for some time, and Abnett explores how and why it's affected him, and what he's done to correct the perception that he doesn't' belong.
Arthur has an advanced military at his fingertips and could call a strike on the surface world without a second thought, but he doesn't, despite being given a tremendous amount of reason to do so. He's a man caught between his two kingdoms, both of which he rightfully belongs to. Some in his own kingdom even look down upon him for his surface world ties, and it's interesting to see how Arthur deals with that, both externally and internally.
Aquaman is much more than his power set, and the current Aquaman series continues to pull back the layers of this powerful and interesting character.prevnext
Mera's Worth The Price Of Admission
Aquaman is unquestionably the star of his current ongoing series, but it wouldn't be the same without Mera.
Mera's relationship with Arthur is a refreshing change from the more angst-ridden relationships seen in other comics. She's confident, but not without flaws or internal doubts. She's endlessly loyal to Arthur's goals and vision for Atlantis, but she also questions his actions quite regularly, which provides an engaging back and forth between the two that actually feels like a real relationship.
She's also able to carry the book when Arthur isn't as involved, and that is a testament to the additional development that Abnett has given her character. Arthur might be the King, but he would fall quite quickly without the Queen.prevnext
The King Vs The Kryptonian
In issue #6, Arthur is in the midst of a throwdown with the United States military, when a certain Kryptonian is called into the fray. Superman being called in by the government isn't exactly a new premise, but this is one of the most effective uses of it in some time.
The battle between them is epic in many ways, but more iportantly it acts as an avenue for fans to explore some of the more human elements of the character, like his pride for example. Aquaman has at times been viewed as that "other" member of the Justice League, the one who doesn't neccesarily belong. There's also a perceived notion he isn't as powerful as some of the other leaguers. Both of these are false assumptions of course, but this battle sends a clear message at just how wrong those assumptions were.
Arthur fights Superman to a standstill, and though he has the help of Mera as well, it doesn't take anything away from Aquaman's performance. That aforementioned human element is front and center as well. It would be crazy to think that in this world of social media and the internet that those slights against him would go unheard, and especialy in this battle, Arthur brings those topics up. He has something to provie, and while it might not be the most mature way of handling it, he does get the point across.
He might be the King of Atlantis, but it's the human part that makes him so relatable.prevnext
A Worthy Enemy
Most fans know of Black Manta by name, but they aren't necessarily sure of why he's one of Arthur's deadliest enemies. Abnett has set out to remind people why he's so important.
Abnett's Manta is above all a strategist, waiting for that welcome moment where a strike will hit the hardest. He waits until the surface dwellers are gathered at Arthur's surface headquarters before he decides to infiltrate and destroy it, and deals a blow to the peace that Arthur is working so hard to mend. He bides his time after meeting represenatives for N.E.M.O for the first time, and then swiftly kills their leader and assumes control, using that newfound power to wage a war with the surface world in Arthurs name.
He's much more than a cool costume these days, and he's proving just why he should be one of the DC Universe's most feared.prev