Review: Aquaman #16

by Matthew Lloyd
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[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciller: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessey
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

This issue opens in the aftermath of the war between Atlantis and the United States.  As the cleanup and rebuilding is underway all over the world, Aquaman remains in Amnesty Bay to do his part in his hometown.  This gives Aquaman and Mera the opportunity to discuss what the Widowhood put Mera through.  Mera explains the entirety of the Deluge Prophecy and explains this is why she will not marry Arthur.  Throughout the clean up process, Aquaman has been feeling a pinging in his head, in his telepathy.  It’s a real distraction for Aquaman as it interrupts him throughout the issue.

Meanwhile, in the research department of Beckman College, a scientist and some of his assistants are being mind controlled by an enigmatic figure in the shadows.  He causes one to kill himself and then finally reveals his motivation – he wants the scientists to help him control Aquaman.

In Amnesty Bay, the residents are turning into Aqua-fans, and the situation has changed everyone’s opinion on Aquaman and his stature among the super-hero community. Aquaman has a moment with Erika, the police officer he grew up with. She explains that the whole experience made Aquaman’s position and ferocity real.  She finally sees him as a super hero, capable of great intensity and physicality which scares her a bit.

This change of pace issue was used well in between arcs. Seeing Aquaman relate to Erika on a personal level was different. It expands Aquaman’s circle of friends and gives some insight to his life when he was just Arthur Curry. This issue also goes a long way in making Amnesty Bay a land based home for Aquaman, somewhere he belongs and accepts him as their favorite son. Also, the source of the pinging in Aquaman’s telepathy being suggested is nice as opposed to it being force fed to us. Aquaman and Mera finally discussing the Widowhood’s prophecy was important. This needed to happen…

…but it didn’t make sense that Mera would give up on their nuptials. This is not the direction for these characters. So much time has been spent getting these two to this point in the Rebirth era and using a third party to break them up is not what’s best for them. Mera is too good a character and they are definitely better together than apart.

Aquaman continues to be a great comic and this interim story between arcs utilizes strong characterization to build this fictional world.  This issue allows for a solid recap of the status quo and what will be the next conflict both personal and external for Aquaman and Mera.

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