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Aquaman #23 - Death of a King, Chapter Five: Dead End Review

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It's the final battle for Atlantis!

The Good

It all comes to a head here in the conclusion of Death of a King! Mera and Aquaman return to Atlantis to find it is under siege by Scavenger and his men.

There's quite of a bit of awesome going on in this issue.

It's the return of Topo! This is something Topo fans (me) have been waiting for. Topo comes back with a vengeance is some stunning action sequences that will have you cheering as you turn the pages. What the reader is treated to are some very satisfying scenes of the good guy finally fighting back against the bad guy, simple as that. Plus, it's a giant octopus-type character doing most the fighting. Giant monsters destroying the bad guys are where it's at.

What's the best part of the Topo-related destruction? The two-page spread featuring some gorgeous art work from Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons (inks), and Rod Reis (colors). It's some epic-level art going on here. There's also some really cool smaller moments where Aquaman is trying to to use his power to the point where he's struggling and Pelletier really gets that feeling through with Aquaman's facial expression. Reis' colors are great. Everything works really well, colorwise, especially those two page spreads.

Here's a small spoiler for you. Aquaman has a sweet beard again! Finally, the man of the sea has the manly seaman beard to match!

What's really cool about this overall issue is how almost everything comes together for the finale. The book has had a a few separate stories going on, mainly Scavenger taking over Atlantis and the Dead King, with Nereus (Mera's supposed husband) battling Aquaman for the Throne of Atlantis. It all comes together pretty naturally and raises the stakes for everyone involved. It adds a tons of tension and suspense to everything happening.

Urn is a fantastic character. He's a fantastic supporting character in the New 52. He has a really cool design, and he shows that he really has what it takes to lead Atlantians into battle.

The Bad

The actual ending is quite the disappointment. Without spoiling anything, there's an aspect of it, the last part which will undoubtedly lead to an interesting story line, after Villains Month finishes up, but the conclusion is bittersweet because the reader gets zero answers to all of these story lines that have been carrying on the past few months. Sure, these answers will probably come during Villains Month, but being that is supposed to be the conclusion to this pretty epic story line, many are hoping to see these stories wrap up, which they don't.

Here's another spoilery part for you. My new favorite character died!

The Verdict

AQUAMAN #23 may not offer the stunning conclusion that the fans really deserve, but the ride is a tremendous amount of fun. The action sequences are fantastic and everything comes together very smoothly. Pelletier's art is really top notch and does a stellar job of telling John's story. On top of everything else, Reis' colors really bring the art to life. Topo kicks some major butt here, and I'm really hoping we get to see him in some future issues. However, for all this to wrap up, we have to wait until October, which is a huge bummer.

This continues to be a stand-out series at DC, and the creative team is really re-establishing Aquaman as a top tier character. The stories in this series are worth reading and add a lot of depth to his mythos. This is a series you should be reading.