Aquaman: King of Atlantis: Primordeus Review: An Uneasy Bridge

Aquaman: King of Atlantis got off to a promising start with the first episode of its animated miniseries trilogy. The premiere left off with a promising cliffhanger that teased we would get to see the overarching story for these three stories coming together finally, because, while the first episode was a fun introduction to a whole new take on Atlantis, it also admittedly did not provide much in terms of a major narrative compelling its viewers to tune back into the next episode and see what comes next. Even still, "Chapter Two: Primordeus" does drop enough hints to keep the fun going with the third part. 

Much like with the first episode, "Primordeus" mostly feels like an Aquaman adventure that's standalone from what came before and what will potentially be coming after. Thankfully, there is more of a connecting thread this time around. While this series began with Aquaman dealing with his first period of rule as the new King of Atlantis, the end of the series premiere threw a wrench into things with the reveal that he was actually gone for an entire year while saving a remote outpost in the Dead Sea. 

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(Photo: DC Entertainment / HBO Max)

Rather than picking up from this cliffhanger with an intriguing story, unfortunately, this does lead to more shenanigans. While it seemed like this second episode would be dealing more with Ocean Master as something other than a comedic-relief threat, "Primordeus" shows that this is really all there is to the Ocean Master gag with an extended chase sequence that takes up the first third of this newest episode. While it has a fun pace (with a few clever sight gags thrown in), this chase scene does rely on a single gag that's extended beyond where it stopped being fun. 

Not only that, but it's the same kind of gag the premiere hung its hook on and will likely continue to draw attention to as the main thread of this trilogy. "Dead Sea" had toyed with the idea of Aquaman fighting his feelings of inadequacy due to the many jokes others have made about his powers (there are many more talking to fish jokes in this second episode) and someone from the surface world becoming the new king, but "Primordeus" seeks to kick him while he's down by leaning even more on these same jokes without offering character growth or evolutions of the jokes themselves as a result. 

Sadly, this does mean that "Primordeus" has a distinctly hollow feeling. It doesn't get to use the surprise energy and action from the premiere (outside of a musical number that does get some laughs), and doesn't use this episode as a bridge to connect the events of the first and third segments. For the majority of it, the episode feels standalone, and this includes the arrival of another new villain. While this villain leads to a fun (and unique from the first episode) fight as Aquaman and Mera find themselves against an opponent they can't just punch to defeat, it's also a villain with decidedly less impact and personality than Mortikov from the premiere. 

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(Photo: DC Entertainment / Warner Bros. Animation)

While "Primordeus" doesn't quite work as a bridge between the premiere and final episode of this planned trilogy, it does properly keep the fires lit for whatever could be coming next. Because while this second episode was not exactly the completely compelling sea adventure for Aquaman and Mera, it does feature many of the smaller jokes and one-liners that are sprinkled in throughout the dialogue. Much like the first episode, there are several major laughs just hidden in conversations that'll surely get fans' attention. 

Aquaman: King of Atlantis might not have the strongest follow-up to such a fun premiere, but its second entry is definitely energetic enough to keep those around wanting to find out how it's all supposed to end. 

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Rating: 3 out of 5

Aquaman: King of Atlantis: Chapter Two - Primordeus premieres on HBO Max on October 21st, and will also air on Cartoon Network's ACME Night block.