Firstly, the New 52 run of Aquaman by Geoff Johns is probably my favourite DC run of comics, and I really liked what Jeff Parker did with the book as well when he took it over. So I'm coming at this as a real fan.
I'm reading Volume 7 'Exiled' and am a few issues into Cullen Bunn's run, and I'm really... confused and baffled. I guess I'm not alone, because I just did a quick search to find out how many issues he wrote, and this is it - he finished at 48, so eight issues in total.
I found this article, Cullen Bunn Leaves Aquaman and realised that I'm not alone.
Here are a couple of things I don't like about his work.
1. The characterisation of Aquaman. He tends to speak in a very colloquial, idiomatic, way and I think this cheapens him. He's presented more as a surfer dude rather than a complex and deep character (and king!). So far in my reading he says things like, "Whatever", "Ah hell", "Up ya go", "Like something from a late night horror flick" and "Whatever this is, I'll find a way to stop it... Even if that means ripping this other world apart in the process". None of this sounds like Arthur Curry, especially his bizarre determination to destroy another world so flippantly. Even if he felt that he had to destroy a world to save his own - which he had no way of knowing at the time he said these words - there's no way Arthur would be so callous about it.
2. The narrative structure and dialogue. The constant jumping back and forth between "Then" and "Now" is confusing and distracting. So too is the constant use of ellipsis in the dialogue. It's not needed and it's annoying. I think the concept of the arc is a good one, but the execution is terrible.
3. The continuity from Parker's issue 40 to Bunn's 41 is just beyond disorientating. To suddenly manufacture this antagonism between Arthur and Mera on such a nonsense proposition, that Arthur is risking the safety of Atlantis, is so unlike Mera and so unlikely after all they've been through in the New 52. Obviously there's more to the story of Mera's actions, but there's no time in the book where Arthur dwells on it or tries to figure out what's going on. He blindly accepts that Mera doesn't like him anymore and he's off to destroy another world he knows nothing about.
4. Not Bunn's fault, but the artwork is poor and way below what the book deserves. I don't understand why DC would be ok with this - it's almost as if they are experimenting in the lull before Rebirth. There's an almost impressionist sloppiness to the images and I find myself staring at them for ages trying to decipher what I'm looking at. Contrast this to the fantastic work of Ivan Reis and it's enough to make one weep.
So I'm going to stick with the volume and get it read, but I can understand why there was such fan dissatisfaction.