Review – Aquaman #14 (DC Comics)

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Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Philippe Briones, Gabe Eltaeb (colours)
Release Date: 4th January, 2017

The ‘Deluge’ arc continues to surge forwards as Black Manta and the power and influence of N.E.M.O. continue to fabricate acts of war between Atlantis and the United States.  And, with the losses mounting up on both sides, the US is forced to attempt a somewhat drastic assassination attempt on Aquaman himself in order to put an end to the hostilities.

It has to be said, the “Aquamarines” – the squad of US black ops soldiers with the ability to turn into humanoid versions of various fish, octopi and sharks – are a little too hokey for me, but their inclusion only temporarily sidelines what has been an otherwise storming storyline from Abnett.  While it’s a little jarring to see cartoony characters like these in such a serious story, their arrival does a great job of upping the stakes, and the impact and ramifications of their assassination attempt is likely to reverberate for quite some time.

That said, what the Aquamarines lack in terms of credibility, they more than make up in unique visuals, and artist Philippe Briones is clearly having an absolute blast here as he unleashes these bizarre creations onto an unsuspecting Atlantis.  He is also visibly growing into this title, with the unnatural, lifeless facial expressions of some of his earlier issues almost non-existent here.  Gabe Eltaeb’s colours remain unashamedly vibrant throughout, and the bright, lively hues of Atlantis serve as a stark contrast to the grim, politically-charged story of Abnett.

Above all else, the one thing that has been apparent since issue one of this post-Rebirth series is just how much fun Dan Abnett is having, and just how perfectly he understands the ‘troubled king’ aspect of the Aquaman character.  Arthur is a ruler beset on all sides by obstacles, holding his kingdom together by his very fingertips, and with the stakes continuing to be raised higher and higher it’s clear that there’s going to be some long-lasting repercussions from this latest ‘Deluge’ storyline.

While it may have started a little slowly, this is a series which is building some serious momentum over the last half dozen or so issues, and which now stands as one of the most consistently enjoyable titles in DC’s lineup.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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