War is Hell in “Aquaman” #12 (Review)

Dec 9, 2016

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Aquaman #12
DC Comics

Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: Philippe Briones

If you are not reading the new Rebirth Aquaman series, you may be missing something fun. The new series has been hitting on all cylinders since issue 1 and has no signs of letting up. After seemingly defeating Black Manta, besting the nearly indestructible Shaggyman and re-establishing his confidence in the League his world comes crashing down as war comes to both land and sea. The USA, after being attack by what it believes to be Atlantean forces, has declared war on the rogue nation of Atlantis but Arthur wants nothing to do with it.

The United States is under attack by the forces of what appears to be the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, but all is not as it seems. Black Manta and N.E.M.O have set out to turn the world on Atlantis and destroy the underwater nation. Using the limited force’s the organization can muster, they have initiated a series false flag of attacks against US cities and military assets and attempted to implicate the Atlanteans. After devastating Baltimore, Boston and the Norfolk Shipyards, Manta’s N.E.M.O is even able to unleash deep sea beasts to take on the US navy with devastating effect.

Dan Abnett is giving us a story that has a geo-political thriller feel to it. Black Manta’s control of both N.E.M.O and the situation is pretty amazing. Manta’s global plans feel like a mirror of real world events, or at least events you could see playing out in the real world. The Atlantean response also felt response also left me feeling a bit like I was watching a Tom Clancy movie. The book was able to generate some real narrative tension which comes to climax in the last panel of the book as Aquaman’s “friends” appear on the scene.

The artwork for the whole Aquaman Rebirth series has been pretty amazing. Broines has done the art for several books in the new Aquaman series and they all have captured not just a rich vibrate pallet but some nice visual contrast between the surface and underwater realms. Although the cover and writing for the book are both excellent, the artwork for this issue edges out everyone else to take the winners circle.