Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Lan Medina
Aquaman #42 is a tie-in to the Drowned Earth crossover. As a big fan of Drowned Earth, I was excited to see how they would tie-in the current Aquaman storyline to the story. However, tie-ins are usually more filler than substance. So is Aquaman #42 on par with the rest of Drowned Earth, or is it just another lackluster tie-in?
The premise of this issue is very simple. In the previous issue of Justice League, Poseidon stabbed Arthur with his trident. This issue takes place in Aquaman’s mind directly after getting stabbed. In this dream sequence, Arthur converses with his father. But Aquaman’s father isn’t the only person Arthur meets in his dream. Aquaman has to battle with Ocean Master, King Rath, and Black Manta, all personifications of his current fears. This issue is all about Aquaman learning to overcome his fears.
I really felt like this issue was just a waste of time. This issue does not advance the story at all. Instead of providing a side story to supplement Drowned Earth, it feels like this story tries to continue the main story but fails. This issue takes place between the two Justice League issues and is therefore entirely unnecessary.
It feels like this issue just focuses on Aquaman’s character, but I don’t think it presents anything new or interesting. The inclusions of Aquaman villains in this issue also felt unnecessary. The villains weren’t really the characters, they were really just used to show Aquaman’s fears. The inclusion of Ocean Master was particularly jarring as we saw him in a previous issue of the story as a more heroic figure. Here Ocean Master is just reduced to a one-note villain.
I also felt like the pacing of this issue was off. Because it can’t really progress the story forward, it just kind of wanders on and tries to fill the page count. I think this issue would have worked as a shorter scene in another issue of this story.
Lan Medina’s art in this issue is serviceable. I don’t think the art is anything amazing, but it is fine enough. With the main story being drawn by Francis Manapul and Howard Porter, Medina’s art can seem a little underwhelming. The art doesn’t take anything away here, but I don’t think it adds anything either.
Overall, Aquaman #42 is a waste of time. This tie-in feels completely unnecessary. It’s not a bad issue, but it doesn’t really need to exist. I would recommend skipping this one and spending your money elsewhere.