As you can probably see on the cover, Martian Manhunter is in this issue, but he actually works extremely well. He has a purpose here and he's not just thrown in for fun. What is his purpose? Well, funny you should ask. Aquaman wants to investigate what happened to his mother, so he grabs Vulko out of jail. Vulko claims he saw Aquaman's mother die, so Aquaman brings him to the supposed death site and Vulko tells his tale. Meanwhile, Martian Manhunter is in disguise making sure Vulko isn't lying. From there, Manhunter uses his psychic abilities to find out the truth, so he has a real place in this book and it's a great team up.
Writer Jeff Parker takes a new turn in the Maelstrom story arc. Parker has always been a writer who can bring out the fun in a book, but with Maelstrom, Parker plays with some elements of Geoff Johns' run on the book and delivers an intriguing story that not only reworks the new mythos of the character, but also gives the reader more of an emotional connection to the character. Parker delivers an adventure and mystery which will hook in readers to future issues.
Aquaman and crew discover a lot in this issue and where the reader is left off is pretty cool. Sure, the object shown reminds me a bit of a certain movie starring Kurt Russell, but there's an immense amount of potential with where this story can go. Once again, Parker is really doing a fantastic job on this arc with expanding and building on the Aquaman mythos and fans of the character will be hooked in for future issues.
It's great to see Paul Pelletier work on the book. He really has a great grasp for this underwater world. Along side Pelletier is Sean Parsons on inks and Rain Beredo on colors. Parsons does some great work with inking, and that's very apparent during the fight with Martian Manhunter where faces are coming out of Manhunter's torso and arms. The amount of inking in those faces is fantastic.
The only thing that was a bit off was the Martian Manhunter vs everyone else scene. It felt a bit forced and it was something that filled the last half of the book. It was a bit of a disappointment to see such a great build then onto a fight between two good guys.
Part two to Maelstrom offers a fantastic amount of mystery and adventure which will keep readers hooked. Parker has done a lot of cool things with Aquaman since jumping on, but this story has a lot of potential to be amazing and so far, it's living up to the potential. The only downside is what feels like a really forced fight between character, which also takes up a giant chunk of the issue. However, Maelstrom is a really cool idea that keeps growing, so if you've stepped away from the book, now is the time to come back on. Pick up issue #35 and #36 and you'll be set.