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Aquaman #21 - Death of a King, Chapter Three: Confrontation Review

4

The Dead King returns and takes prisoners. Aquaman is on the hunt for Scavenger

The Good

Aquaman is still looking for Scavenger, who has been selling Atlantian weaponry to thugs on the surface, but Scavenger has much more planned. Mera bumps into her "husband" (not Aquaman) and they both face the wrath of the Dead King.

I love the reinvention of the Scavenger. He's not the toughest character, but he's incredibly smart. Aquaman has memorable villains that pose a physical threat, but I couldn't tell you one of his villains that is always one step ahead of him at all times, until now. Scavenger is one of those characters. He knows what he wants and he always has the jump on Aquaman. Their back and forth leads to one of my favorite reveal pages in recent memory. Seriously, I would buy the book just for those last two pages alone.

Paul Pelletier's art is great in this issue. He, along with Sean Parsons as inker and Rod Reis as colorist, put together a compelling piece, storytelling wise. Paul does a great job with facial expressions throughout the issue. He makes you feel a part of the moment, like you're right next to these characters. In addition, I love Rod Reis' color work here. I love his choices for his color palate. The colors all work with each other and nothing dominates the page. Coloring a book that takes place mainly underwater, in lower light situations is probably incredibly tricky, and Reis nails it here.

Although there's not a lot going on, I love this cover. It doesn't say too much about what's going on in this issue, but it does give us some insight into upcoming issues. I love how Aquaman isn't centered here and the movement of the snow.

There's a lot going on at the end of the issue, but we're left with one big question in our heads "what is the lie of Atlantis?" I'm pretty pumped to find this out in future issues, but on top of this, we have a another big reveal to deal with.

The Bad

This book gets a bit chaotic with everything going on. The Dead King has returned. Aquaman is trying to find Scavenger and the Atlantian weaponry, and Scavenger is looking for something himself. Vulko knows a secret about Atlantis. Mera has a husband. Swatt, Tula, and Murk plan on freeing Orm. This, and a couple other things, all happen in this issue. It gets to be a bit dizzying.

All of these stories are great, in their own right, but the after events of Throne of Atlantis seem to be just as crazy as the event itself. It keeps me wondering if Aquaman ever gets a break, and why are all of these events happening at the same exact time? While I really enjoy this series, I feel like this issue is desperately trying to grab the reader's attention.

The Verdict

It's a borderline 3/4 star issue for me. The book has hit a bit of a slump between the not-so-great fill-in issue previous to this one, and issue #19 being just an ok read. We're building to something great here though, and in hindsight, this is probably an issue I'll go back and read, 6 months down the road, and love because of everything Johns put into it which will come into play eventually.

As a stand-alone issue though, it's a tad aggravating to read because it's so chaotic and there is so much going on with every single character in the Aquaman world. He's doing the same thing here that he did with the Green Lantern world. He's taking a book that is a mish-mash of broken stories and continuity and making something special out of it. He's sewing the seeds for something that will truly blossom down the road, and I can't wait to be there when it happens.