After taking a break last issue, Geoff Johns returns to Aquaman, and instantly plunges us back into the murky world of Atlantis, and I was feeling this issue a lot more than the last few.
In this issue I realised that the huge number of subplots was actually very much intentional on Johns’ part. It was to show how difficult it is to be a King, how Aquaman has 10 things pulling him in every different direction at all times. He’s got the Scavenger, he’s got his brother in Prison, he’s got Vulko, he’s got the disappearance of his wife, he’s got the reappearance of the First King of Atlantis, and he’s also got the people of Atlantis plotting behind his back. Basically, heavy is the head that wears the crown. Things are no longer simple superheroics for Aquaman, things are happening all at once and he has to deal with them all. I thought Johns did really well at showing that in the scene in the Infirmary, and it made my complaints about previous issues pretty much moot. Turns out Geoff Johns is actually pretty good at this writing lark!
In the end, Aquaman chooses to tackle the disappearance of Mera first, and in doing so not only does he run head-first into the villain I really want to call the Ice King, but he also leaves Atlantis open to a full-on invasion from The Scavenger. Things are not looking good for Aquaman, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. Paul Pelletier’s art was his usual level of quality, that double-page spread of Aquaman throwing the Submarine was just amazing. I think the month’s break has really done Johns some good here, he was feeling a bit burnt out, but now he seems to be re-focused.