In the past, the so-called Justice League Viking continues to do battle with the Frost King, and the battle does not go well...
But in the present, Aquaman and Mera may have found some key allies to help turn the tide of the war!
Note to DC: Can we please, please, please keep Andy Lanning and Ron Marz on Aquaman as its regular writers once Future State concludes?
The writing duo, legends in their own right but currently hitting a home run together for “Endless Winter,” absolutely nail every aspect of Aquaman and Mera’s world in Aquaman #66. It’s an unfortunate trend in comics today that incoming writers ignore or at least disregard much of what a previous writer had established, but I’m extremely pleased to say that even amid a nine-part crossover, this comic feels like a natural extension of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s instant-classic run. And it isn’t just the interpersonal dynamics of the newly-married couple that shine, it’s their relationships to Vulko, Reverend Mother Cetea, and Atlantis itself that shines. Everything rights absolutely true without a false note to be had. Lanning and Marz clearly did their homework before writing this issue – and if it happens to be their lone contribution to this volume of Arthur Curry’s adventures, that makes it shine that much more.
Storywise, “Endless Winter” zips right along, picking up on the strong character work present in last week’s Superman: Endless Winter Special, and focusing on how Aquaman would react in this situation, as the world – and of course, the oceans – freeze their way toward a quick death. He receives some minimal pushback from Atlanteans who decry that the Frost King’s assault is “a surface problem,” but shuts that nonsense down with authority despite not wearing a crown anymore. Even though Mera dissolved the Atlantean monarchy, Atlantis’ citizenry still knows that either of them speak with authority.
If there’s a weak spot this issue, it’s the flashback to the Justice League Viking’s initial confrontation with the Frost King. Out of necessity, per installment these sequences have been shorter, setting up past events as both a necessary origin for the antagonist but also how the past heroes’ mistakes (lookin’ at you, Black Adam) resulted in today’s catastrophe. It’s a good, time-worn trope – and the scenes are well-constructed – but the brevity of the sequences means there isn’t much room for expansion or exploration. That’s a feature, not a bug, though – and one that doesn’t necessarily hamper the story, but leaves readers wanting more.
The artistic tag-team of Miguel Mendonca and Marco Santucci play well off of each other. Their styles are distinct yet similar, complementing rather than clashing, as was the case with Santucci and Phil Hester in last week’s Superman chapter. Mendonca, in particular, shows shades of M.D. Bright – a master journeyman artist if ever there was one. There’s a page in particular where Mera swoops in to save the day that is dynamic as can be, bringing power but also grace to the former queen’s on-page presence. Add Ivan Plascencia and Arif Prianto’s colors, as well as top-notch lettering from Clayton Cowles and Troy Peteri, and you have one dynamite-looking comic.
And as a bonus, Aquaman and Mera may have just secured the necessary x-factor to save the day. But you know what they say about things looking too good to be true…
With "Endless Winter" almost at the halfway mark, the creative team shows no signs of second-act sag. Rather, the stakes and pacing continue to up each other, as the story continues to kick into high gear. Don't wait for the trade - "Endless Winter" is a Christmas surprise worth checking out!
Aquaman #66 (ENDLESS WINTER Pt. 4): Sleep Now in the Fire (Trolls’ Lair)
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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