THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Everything is going wrong for Arthur Curry. He has been separated from Mera, Atlantis is under attack from The Scavenger, and a group of splinter Atlanteans is trying to free Arthur’s brother, Orm, to claim Arthur’s throne. This is forgetting that an undead Atlantean who calls himself the Dead King has shown up, with the seeming intention to kill the beleaguered Aquaman. Writer Geoff Johns has written a darn good run so far for the king of Atlantis, but it is certainly not without hiccups. Issue 22 is another fine issue in the run, with both Johns and artist Paul Pelletier bringing good work to the comic.
The action is executed well and beautifully, in a way only an Aquaman comic can be. Being under the sea allows for quite a bit of movement and allows an artist to mostly use cool colors, which Pelletier uses to great effect. The book is beautiful from cover to cover; the wreckage-filled Bermuda triangle makes for a great setting.
An interesting side character, Warden Urn, is introduced. Warden of the prison that currently contains Vulko, Urn has a small, but very characterizing appearance in the issue, showing the side of Atlantis that believes in its King and upholding the law, even among the chaos of Scavenger’s invasion. It is nice to see someone working for the good of the king rather than doubting him, as is seen in most of the comics since Arthur was crowned.
With so much going on in this comic, it would have been easy to lose readers along the way. However, Johns is able to weave the three stories as well as he can in one issue. Three Atlanteans search the surface for Orm, who they wish to reinstate as the King of Atlantis. Scavenger and his crew of cronies are laying siege to Atlantis, after finding it using a tracking device they placed in an injured Atlantean. Finally, in the Bermuda Triangle, Aquaman, Mera, and a group of Atlanteans from a place called Xebel are under attack from a zombified Atlantean who claims to be the first king of Atlantis. All three mean trouble for Arthur, and it will be exciting to see how this all resolves.
While it probably isn’t the weirdest thing in a book filled with Atlanteans, water magic and telepathy, the zombie king thing doesn’t really seem to fit. The zombie king is also the story that most involves Arthur at the moment, while the other two stories are more interesting and less outlandish.
Scavenger’s plot seems to be to rule Atlantis simply by sitting on the throne, which is cute, but ridiculous. Such a plan seemed out of place in the generally well-written comic, but maybe there is something special that will be revealed in future issues as to why Scavenger’s plan is so childishly simple.
Johns and Pelletier show their talents, and mostly, they shine through. The problems with this comic can be healed through future issues, but on its own, the issue stands as imperfect. Still, next month is going to be an exciting month for Aquaman, with potential for some of the greatest moments in the current run.