Aquaman is in despair. The usurper, Karshon, has taken the throne of Atlantis. The people of Atlantis have been swayed against Aquaman. Framed for stealing a secret compound, Aquaman has been exiled from Atlantis. To make matters worse, Aquaman's wife, Mera, and their infant son, Arthur, Jr., have been abducted. The Black Manta attacks Aquaman. The Black Manta reveals his connection to Karshon, shortly before defeating Aquaman. Regaining consciousness, Aquaman finds himself imprisoned in the royal dungeon of Atlantis, alongside his advisor, Vulko. Karshon exerts his dominance over the Black Manta, sowing the seeds of resentment.
The palace guard collects Aquaman, so that he may face the charges of treason against him. Aqualad, Aquagirl, and Mupo break Vulko out of the dungeon. Karshon sits in judgement over Aquaman. The former King of Atlantis attacks Karshon. After a short battle, Aquaman is caged by Karshon. Vulko confronts Karshon. Aquaman exposes the lies that allowed Karshon to steal the throne of Atlantis. The Atlanteans rise up against Karshon. In a spectacular burst of energy, Karshon reveals himself to be the Green Lantern's nemesis, The Shark. The Shark reveals Mera, and Arthur, Jr., locked in a tank, surrounded by sharks.
The Atlanteans are cowed, lest their queen, and the true heir to the throne, are slaughtered. To save his wife, and infant son, Aquaman agrees to let the Shark hunt him. At that moment, miles away, at an underwater farm, Aqualad's father makes plans to reconnect with his son. Aquaman fights his way out of Atlantis. The Shark draws first blood. Aquaman uses his own blood trail to send the Shark into a frenzy, the easier to lure him to canisters of radioactive waste. Already mutated by radiation, exposure to the radioactive waste causes the Shark to devolve back into an ordinary shark. The radiation, however, also causes Aquaman to lose consciousness. After Aquaman recovers, Vulko is instated as King. Aquaman has chosen to abdicate the throne, to devote his life to his family, as well as being the protector of the seas.