Now that I am actually using my DC Infinite subscription to read comics, I suspect (and perhaps hope for the sake of my wallet) that I will be buying fewer trades. That said, I do still have a lot of them, and the trade issue just won’t be more from DC or Marvel than I already have. I have some more to read before I can just continue various runs on those apps.
Case in point, the fifth volume of the Aquaman run, subtitled The Crown Comes Down, that started with DC Rebirth. That there is something I still have in my unread stack…or I did until I finished it.
To review: Aquaman lost the throne of Atlantis to reactionary jerk Corum Rath, and Rath’s first act was to put up a magical wall to separate Atlantis from outsiders in a way that I am certain was in no way, shape, or form a commentary on any recent world leaders. Though believed dead and separated from his beloved Mera, Aquaman is very much alive and part of an underground rebel group looking to remove Rath from power. Aquaman is more than happy not to assume the throne again, but that doesn’t mean he wants a powerhungry oaf like Rath to be in charge, and he may be willing to work with various enemies to ensure Rath sees the door sooner rather than later.
That, in an of itself, is the main plot here. Rath’s barrier, the Crown of Thorns, won’t let anyone in or out without the right magical key, but Mera had managed to force herself through at great cost: she can no longer breathe water, and it is impossible to get her to the surface. The magic air bubble she is resting in won’t last forever, so for Arthur to save her life, he has to bring the Crown of Thorns down a little sooner than he had hoped. To that end, he’ll need to make an alliance with King Shark, leader of a local criminal gang, and someone whose self-interest may temporarily at least align with Aquaman’s. But with allies like King Shark, who needs enemies?
OK, I have been enjoying writer Dan Abnett’s take on Aquaman more and more as the series progressed. Factor in as well some gorgeous artwork from Riccardo Federici, and this book should be right up my alley. Unfortunately, it does what many trades do and, well, only has a handful of issues by those gentlemen. It is still a normal-sized trade, but Abnett, Federici, and their rest are only represented here with three issues. The rest of the trade is a story from an Annual, one that isn’t set in or around the same time frame as the rest of the trade, a forgettable tale involving Arthur and Mera in a potential future dealing with an uprising while raising a young son and getting a visit from the Justice League, though they seem to look a lot like they do in Kingdom Come. Given how much space that Annual takes up and how it has nothing to do with anything, I think I would have been better off just reading the individual issues online.
8 out of 10 because the first three issues elevate the trade even as the last story pulls it down.