Review: 'Aquaman' #33 Is All About the Crown Coming Down

Aquaman has been one of the most consistently great books since DC Rebirth first launched, and Aquaman #33 keeps that streak alive.

Before we hit story notes, let’s just address how beautiful this book is. Stjepan Sejic is a hard presence to follow, and though his art graces the cover, you won’t disappointed once you see Riccardo Federici’s interiors. His Thrasher alone is worth the price of admission, as is that entire opening page spread.

Every character is so expressive, conveying the weight of the task at hand. Aquaman has rarely looked more imposing, even more so with his Royal Trident by his side. Federici’s knack for illustrating creatures is apparent and happens to also come in handy later in the book.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

Aquaman has straddled that line between a superhero story and an old-school adventure tale, and the art is a significant part of making that work.

That tone extends to the story as well. With all the political machinations of the kingdom and the current undercurrent uprising, there’s still time for a captivating tale of romance between two longtime lovers. Arthur and Mera have long been one of the foundations of this series’ success, and that is not lost on writer Dan Abnett, who continues to develop these characters not only as individuals but also as a couple.

These two couldn’t be more selfless, and that is part of the reason they work so well together. Their biggest strength is also the Achilles heel to their relationship, and Abnett continues to play with that notion in new ways. Mera is now the Queen of Atlantis, a city that ousted Arthur for his progressive leadership. That will have an effect on their relationship no doubt, but that conflict should also present new challenges when it comes to their feelings on how to lead a nation, and that’s yet another space rich with possibilities.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

Possibilities are great, but what about the battle at hand? Luckily, it more than delivers. There’s plenty of stunning set pieces here, each one putting Aquaman front and center. It’s hard to believe there are still those who view the former king as underpowered or not worthy of his Justice League compatriots, but there’s no way the Aquaman seen here fits into either of those misguided viewpoints.

The supporting cast deserves a shout out here too. This book wouldn't be what it is without characters like Vulko, Dolphin, Jurok Byss, King Shark, and yes, even Cetea. In fact, one of those aforementioned characters delivers one of the book's standout moments, though we're not going to spoil that particular moment for you here.

While this is categorized as a finale, it isn't the end of the story by any means. Aquaman #33 successfully pays off several arcs worth of investment while also planting a solid hook for the next issue and beyond. If this was really just the first salvo, fans are in for a real treat when the true finale comes.

Overall, Aquaman #33 continues the solid storytelling of its predecessors, but never loses sight of the more personal stories and political maneuvering that keep the epic narratives grounded. Where it goes from here is anyone's guess, but if it is half as enjoyable as what's come before, fans should be in very good shape.

Published by DC Comics

On February 21, 2018

Written by Dan Abnett

Art by Riccardo Federici

Colors by Sunny Gho

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Lettering by Steve Wands

Cover by Stjepan Sejic