Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artwork: Lan Medina (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Veronica Gandini (colours)
Lettering: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 23rd May 2018
When we left things last issue, Mera and Orm had journeyed to Xebel to seek their assistance in helping overthrown the tyrannical reign of the new King of Atlantis, Corum Rath.
Unsurprisingly, particularly given Mera’s history as a former Princess of Xebel, they weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms, leading to them having to compete in ritual combat in order to even gain an audience with King Nereus.
On the plus side, this gives the trio of Lan Medina, Norm Rapmund and Veronica Gandini ample opportunity to flex their artistic muscle by having Orm and Mera going head-to-trident-to-tentacle with a giant octopus (sorry, Octodon) in an enjoyable and action-packed set piece to open the issue. It’s lot of fun to see Mera and Ocean Master working side-by-side, even if their teamwork leaves a little to be desired, and the artistic trio do a great job of giving the exchange the scale and energy it deserves,
Rapmund’s inks are still perhaps a little harsh at times, particularly in the smaller panels, feeling like they’re suffocating Medina’s pencils a bit and giving the book an unnecessarily blocky feel. That said, it’s a relatively minor criticism of what is an impressive, if slightly unambitious, visual package.
Writer Dan Abnett continues to expand on his stellar Aquaman run by wisely shining the spotlight firmly on his leading lady, although a decent chunk of this latest issue is focused on the characters who are left behind on dry land – Orm’s partner Erin and his half-sister Tula – giving us some extra insight into the seemingly “reformed” Ocean Master as well as providing a fairly significant shock near the end of the issue.
I’ve always maintained that Mera was one of the strongest DC characters not to already have her own book, and based on how effortlessly she’s keeping the pages turning here, I can only hope that this six-part mini leads to a full ongoing series somewhere down the line. Particularly in light of the recent developments that have seen her become the “Queen in Exile” of Atlantis, the stage is well and fully set for Mera to step out of the shadows and into the limelight she so richly reserves.
As a series, Mera: Queen of Atlantis is continually proving itself to be much more than a lazy Aquaman spin-off, providing some fantastic characterisation for one of the best kept secrets in the DCU. Packed with twists and turns, this series manages to blend the ‘Underwater Game of Thrones’ intrigue that has made the main Aquaman series such a success with some genuinely intriguing character development as Mera and Orm continue struggle with the burden of their responsibility. Well worth a look.