Aquaman: Maelstrom (vol. 6)
By: Jeff Parker (writer)
Format/Source: Paperback; my brother’s copy
The ruthless Chimer—a new villain with links to Aquaman’s past—has arrived to destroy the King of the Seven Seas, and Arthur may not be powerful enough to stop him! Meanwhile, with threat after threat demanding his attention, it’s fallen to Mera to hold Atlantis together, even if most of the city wants her dead! The conspirators hiding in the shadows of the city’s darkest reaches can’t hide forever—but can Mera get to them before Atlantis comes apart?
Find out in these tales from Aquaman #32-40 and stories from Secret Origins #2 and 5!
So, fun fact: this is actually the last collected volume of Aquaman for the New 52! The next issue is the start of the new run (and after my brother and I got spoiled with the premise, we thought it was best that we were ending our collection with this issue (that decision was made beforehand, but learning the plot of the new series just confirmed it)). Anyway, new volume, hurray! It seems like a running theme since they became King and Queen of the Seven Seas that Atlantis is falling apart, but that book blurb does a poor explanation as to what is really going on in this issue. The following contains SPOILERS if you haven’t read the New 52 series to date!
The Chimera plot was all right, pretty icky (I thought I was reading a horror comic at one point) but it highlights the larger issue that runs over the course of the entire volume: that of Arthur’s leadership. He’s been threatened with conspiracies, not everyone accept his rule, he’s had his share of self-doubt, and now even Atlantis the place is rebelling against his rule. The Chimera, whilst an ancient enemy but spurned along by those at the Triton Base, manifests all of these doubts as he and Aquaman duke it out. The storyline also serves as a point to bring back Dr. Shin (ugh, this guy, constantly having a hand on crazy creatures that Arthur ends up facing).
But the rest of the storyline…At long last we raise the issue of Arthur’s mum, Atlanna. There have been questions circulating through the entire run as to what happened to her, why did she go away, what happened during the that time and the time of her death. To learn that she lived was quite a revelation, explaining in the process was Atlantis the city has not fully accepted Arthur as its leader, but also opens a whole storyline of searching for clues as to what happened to her and where she went. We learn a lot about the technology Atlantis has in its arsenal in the process, the portals between worlds, the pocket realities–the possibilities could be endless in the Aquaman storyline! But anyway, when we encounter Atlanna…Damn, like, her life sucked after she left Tom Curry & Arthur and she hardened against anything and everything Atlantean, but that was pretty cold the way she rejected and fought Arthur *tear* I thought the story was going to play out in a predictable manner, but was pleasantly surprised at the way everything was resolved at the end (and a good note to end this New 52 run).
On a few random notes:
- Mera continues to be a total badass and should have her own series. I’m sure the thought has occurred to me before but her abilities to manipulate water is especially strong. Her and Aquaman working together as leaders and fighting partners continue to be awesome #relationshipgoals
- Martian Manhunter cameo! Albeit also an excuse to have him and Aquaman face off but anyway…
Overall, Maelstrom was another great installment to the series and a great way to cap off the run. Almost all of the characters came back, and pretty much all of the running themes and story elements from previous issues tied in nicely into this volume. It’s been a blast reading Aquaman–this series has definitely made him a favourite of mine from the DC universe!