This review contains spoilers.
Aquaman #52 is written by Dan Abnett with pencils by Vicente Cifuentes, inks by Juan Castro and colors by Guy Major.
Aquaman teamed with two FBI agents to investigate a murder. The murderer turned out to be a sea monster called Dead Water. However, it turned out that the monster is a Hulk-like situation so there is a person within the monster. Thus, Aquaman decided to capture instead of kill him. Aquaman and Mera discovered that his name is Jonah Payne and he worked for the Scavenger. Aquaman went off to find the Scavenger only to find him waiting for a fight.
Aquaman and Scavenger fight while Dead Water breaks out of Spindrift Station, the Atlantean embassy where Mera was keeping him prisoner. Scavenger tells Aquaman that Payne was sent with two other men to investigate some strange water. Something went wrong with their submarine and Payne killed the other two men for air. The only way to escape was through the strange water which mutated him. Dead Water arrives and nearly kills Scavenger and Aquaman has no choice but to kill Dead Water and thus, Jonah Payne. The issue ends with Aquaman and Mera standing on a beach wondering about the secrets of the ocean.
The cover by Brent Booth, Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse is pretty cool. Dead Water looks effectively scary and it’s an intense image.
The art is fun and creative. The team is having a lot of fun with the various powers from Aquaman, Mera and Dead Water. Every action scene is dynamic and fun to look at.
The ending is sufficiently sad. I sympathize with Aquaman’s choice to kill Dead Water and it seems genuinely hard for him. It isn’t just swept under the rug; the tone of the decision is very well played.
Because the issue is mainly action, it’s a little dull. The art helps a lot in that way but there’s still not a lot here other than a few cool looking action scenes. There are nice moments in between but the action is front and center. It just doesn’t read as well on its own.
This is a good issue. The art is great and I think it’s a solid conclusion to the story. However, it is mainly action so I think it would read better as part of a trade or just back to back with the previous two issues. It’s not a stand-alone issue that one can enjoy on its own. I would recommend waiting for the trade on this one.