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Aquaman #31 Review

Story by Dan Abnett

Art by Riccardo Federici

Colours by Sunny Gho

Letters by Steve Wands

Reviewed by Lorna Maltman (maltmanlorna@gmail.com)

This is the first issue with Federici taking over art duties from Sjeic and whilst Sjeic’s art was stunning the show must go on and goes on it does with great gusto. Aquaman opens with the titular hero saving some Atlanteans from King Rath’s kill squad. Which leads to Vulko trying to convince him that they need to go after the bigger fish, for example, the Crown of Thorn’s shield which encapsulates Atlantis. At the rebel uprising meeting they decide to achieve this goal they need more support; so, they decide to attempt to gain favour with the fractured underground gangs of the ninth circle.

Abnett continues the storyline which has been building for the past six issues, but it is easy for new readers to jump on board as there is a quick recap on the first page with Vulko’s narration. The story could do with speeding up slightly, but on balance, the multiple viewpoints and factions are engrossing enough with the intrigue and subterfuge running amock. Also, this issue hammers home Arthur’s motivations brilliantly as Abnett makes his need to get back to Mera and depose King Rath but not take the throne, feel emotionally charged especially with the state of Mera.

Federici’s art is painterly in quality but gives a real weight and realistic quality to the comic, well as realistic as an underwater kingdom can be represented. He picks up on Sjeic’s cues from the previous arc, but never feels like he is aping him. Overall, whilst it is not quite on the level with Sjeic’s emotive pencils, it is not a downgrade with the art still being pretty amazing.  The one problem I had with the art was that at points Aquaman shirt/scale armour looks almost no existent or not an actual piece of clothing, creating some odd at moments.

Verdict:

Buy. Aquaman is one of the best monthly comics coming out of the Big two with Abnett creating a massive underwater saga that feels original, important and character driven.

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