It's the wedding day of Queen Mera and... Vulko...? ...And the gang's all here:
And that means all the undersea nations, including Orm and his followers. Aquaman watches from the shadows, unable to enter Atlantis without fear of arrest - or death. But Mera has a much greater game to play...
This development probably isn't going to end well...
Every now and again, a completely random comic comes along that manages to execute every single facet of its existence with flawless perfection, or something close enough. Usually, we reviewers and our ilk reserve such exhortations for big event issues, number ones, storyline finales, and so on. It’s a bit of a blind spot we have, but it also speaks to publishers wanting to get the most out of their “big” issues. From a marketing standpoint, it makes total sense, especially in today’s market. With all that in mind, Aquaman #61 glows even more for its perfection simply for being a nondescript, middle-of-the-arc issue with no fanfare whatsoever.
Where to start? With the ever-increasing tension in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s plot? With the perfectly-paced panels and layouts courtesy artist Miguel Mendonca? With the unforeseen dovetailing of a dozen issues’ subplots at once, or the completely untelegraphed plot twist courtesy Mera? To try to parse out the details of any of these contributions would do them a disservice. Instead, I’ll tip myself to the woman of the hour: Mera herself.
Mera absolutely OWNS this issue from start to finish. There are a lot of strong women in comics, and Mera has had the occasional time to shine, but this issue is Mera at her most assured, imposing, intelligent, and strong. She comes out swinging, putting Reverend Mother Cetea in her place (finally), putting a very public end to the measured gamble she was taking with her sham engagement to Vulko, and finally, tipping the monarchist society’s apple cart not only upside down but down a very steep hill to boot. It’s a move that nobody saw coming, and has the potential to upset Aquaman’s world just as much as publicly revealing his identity rocked Superman’s .
And what of Arthur Curry? He takes a back seat this issue, present, watching, but wise enough to know that Mera has a plan and he would be best served sitting back and letting her go to work. And go to work she does. Whatever DeConnick’s grand design for Aquaman is, issue sixty-one is a clear-cut signal that she’s nowhere near done. More power to her, and more for any fan wise enough to be in on this once-a-decade, thrilling, utterly astounding comic. It’s a cliche at this point to say that Aquaman don’t get no respect. Don’t be fooled – this issue, and by extension DeConnick’s run, is worth ALL the respect.
Aquaman #61 is that rarest of gems: a comic that arrives with no fanfare and is utterly flawless in its execution from start to finish. Don't miss out on the best Aquaman in a quarter-century.
Aquaman #61: Who Run the World?
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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