Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Riccardo Federici
This issue features the championship match: Aquaman vs Corum Rath. After convincing the high council of Atlantis to name him king, Corum Rath unleashed dangerous magic on the city of Atlantis. Rath’s obsession with magic led to his possession by a dark, ancient energy with the power to destroy Atlantis. In order to combat Rath’s tyranny, Aquaman gathered a rebellion of fighters from all over Atlantis. Now facing each other head-on, Aquaman and Rath battle for the fate of Atlantis.
This issue marks the end of an era of Aquaman stories. Ever since Abnett put the spotlight on Atlantis, the series switched from a political thriller to a high fantasy adventure. Although Aquaman’s diplomacy with the surface world was enjoyable, the exploration of Atlantis in recent issues was nothing short of spectacular. However, I feel like an Atlantean citizen having to point out that Corum Rath’s reign has gone on for too long. The conclusion of the Underworld saga has dragged with the last few issues of the book. Fortunately, Abnett provides a fitting conclusion in this issue that sets the stage for new and exciting stories.
There were a lot of moving pieces in this book, but Abnett did a great job of balancing each character and plot. Aquaman, Mera, Rath, Dolphin, Volko, and Cetea all get time to shine. Fighting alongside these characters are an array of sea creatures. Of course, it wouldn’t be an epic Atlantean battle without octopi. You definitely feel like this battle will determine the fate of Atlantis.
Art duty falls to the wonderful Ricardo Federici. Federici’s pencils are as much a draw to the book as Abnett’s writing. His art is perfect for the underwater fantasy in Atlantis. However, I wonder how his art will look once Aquaman returns to the surface. My main complaint with Federici’s art is his lack of background details. His characters look amazing, but his backgrounds are usually lifeless. This could be because the background of Atlantis is just water, but I worry that he will continue to make his backgrounds undetailed in the future. Even though I feel his backgrounds leave something to be desired, his pencils add more to the book than they take away.
If you were a fan of Abnett’s Atlantis saga, then you won’t be disappointed by this conclusion. Not only was the issue enjoyable on its own, it pushes Aquaman in a new direction that I’m looking forward to.
Abnett's writing and Federici's art combine for a strong conclusion to a story that might have gone on a little too long.