Aquaman #49 Review

Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Vicente Cifuentes.

Cover by: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

This month saw the arrival of the new Aquaman writer, Dan Abnett, taking the reins of the series after Cullen Bunn’s story of Thule. To those who know me, or those who have seen my reviews, know that I was not fond of Bunn’s run at all. So does Abnett’s first issue deliver after months of disappointing Aquaman issues? Yes. Yes it does. Not only does it feel like a return to the Aquaman book we loved with Geoff Johns and Jeff Parker, but it manages to be something that it hasn’t been in a long time: fun. After months of a dark, dreary plot, we get to take a breather with Aquaman and Mera and just relax. There’s nothing wrong with dark and serious stories, it’s just the one we got since June hasn’t been engaging at all. After months of being absent, Mera is indeed back in the story and she’s just as strong and equally adorable as we remember her during Johns’/Parker’s run. In this issue we also get our first look at Dan Abnett’s new villain he’s introducing to his run: Dead Water. A creature who can manifest himself from any body of water no matter how big or small. I already get this feeling like I’m going to like this villain. He reminds me a bit of Chimera from Parker’s run. So, let’s get into the plot, and again THERE WILL BE SPOILERS HERE SO HERE’S YOUR WARNING.

We begin back in Amnesty Bay where Arthur and Mera are enjoying some alone time together. You can hardly blame them for wanting some peace and quiet ever since the Thule invasion. While they listen to music together, Arthur asks Mera if she’s had any time to think of his proposition, and not the marriage one we saw in Bunn’s run. So what is this proposition? We’ll find out soon enough. Soon, they are visited by a friend of theirs, Officer Watson, who comes to see if the two of them are coming to Amnesty Bay’s Sea Festival. She explains how connected Amnesty Bay is to the sea and since Arthur and Mera are extremely connected to the water, it’d be a joy to have the two of them come join the party. Arthur isn’t as eager to attend the festival, but Mera insists that they make an appearance.

Arthur and Mera attend the sea festival but they don’t arrive alone. They brought a few of their “friends” with them: Tula, Garth, and Murk. The comments and interactions from the three of them are fantastic. Seeing them whine about human clothing and food was fun. Arthur explains that Atlantis and the surface world have always feared one another because they never took time to try understanding one another. He hopes to change that by making Atlanteans and humans interact, which is why he brought the three of them with him. The sudden change between the three of them is hilarious, with Tula asking for more money to buy cotton candy and Garth wondering how they put a ship in a bottle. Arthur explains his idea for unification of land and sea with Mera. As the surface dwellers had built Triton Base (from Parker’s run) to explore the seas, he suggests Atlantis builds a base upon the surface to serve as a place for research and diplomacy. Kind of like the bases we saw in the Aquaman: Future’s End issues.  He offers Mera the position, telling her that since she’s a true sea-dweller they would be more inclined to listen, plus the fact that they love her. He also adds that Tula would act as regent for now after the whole Thule debacle. The Atlanteans would feel more comfortable as she is also royal blood.

Mera agrees to be a part of his vision but only if she’s allowed to do one thing. Arthur waits for her and she explains that if she is to do this, she must look the part. Something that is familiar to everyone. So she reveals her very own “Aquawoman” costume, an identical outfit to his own. It’s time for Aquawoman to step forward!

This issue was a blast of fun, something we haven’t seen in a very long time, and something Aqua-fans have needed. It was fun seeing Arthur and Mera being able to just cut back and relax, and bringing Tula, Murk, and Garth along for the ride was a real plus as well. We also got to see a little bit of Dead Water, who is already turning out to be a bloodthirsty and terrifying character.  Vicente Cifuentes is back on art duties and I don’t know why or how, but his art here looks fantastic compared to his work from earlier issues. Maybe he is finally caught up after having to be the designated fill-in artist during Bunn’s run? Who knows, but whatever the case, the art was looking a lot better. There really isn’t too much I can complain about here. I know some might think that this issue is just filler until we get to the landmark #50 issue, but honestly it’s something we needed. We needed a break from the dreariness of the previous run. This issue reminded me a lot of Aquaman #28 where Aquaman attended his high school reunion by how fun it was. I know we’re only one issue into Dan Abnett’s run, and you might think this is a little premature, but I already like this way better than what we’ve gotten since before June. He seems to have a better grasp on these characters and like I mentioned earlier, he made the book fun. I’m definitely excited to see Abnett’s run continue, and if his run continues to be as fun as this issue, we’re in for a real treat.

9/10