Aquaman #30

by Hussein Wasiti on November 15, 2017

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Stjepan Sejic

Letterer: Steve Wands


This is apparently the conclusion to the UNDERWORLD arc, which is odd since the story isn't even done. A telling sign is the fact that Stjepan Sejic isn't drawing the next issue, which indicates he didn't have time to stay on for the whole storyline. I also assume that DC wanted a single artist on this arc, so they "ended" the arc right here just in time for next issue's artist to come on board. This may seem like a trivial matter but the story very much suffers from this ordeal. Looking back at the past five issues is a struggle because I can barely remember what happened so far. The story has been moving at a snail's pace, which might be due to the fact that this story was probably written back when this title was double shipping, or shipping twice a month.


Dan Abnett introduces the Undercurrent, a rebel group who wish to depose King Rath. I was baffled as to why Abnett decided to introduce these characters so late into the story. Abnett has spent a huge amount of page space establishing Aquaman's legacy and why he should start a resistance himself, yet here he joins the first group of ragtag rebels that he meets. It felt very rushed, and is antithetical to the slow build Abnett insisted on. Mera was going through a lot in order to break through the Crown of Thorns, yet she doesn't make any impact on the story in the slightest. Seriously, none of her actions have any consequences, but I guess we have to find out at the beginning of the next arc.


Stjepan Sejic provided a breath of fresh air when he arrived on the series but I'm hoping for another artist to do the same. He's excellent at characterising posture and emotion, but his art came across as a little bit bland in this issue. Some bits of action looked nice, and his take on Dolphin is still my favourite thing to come out of this arc, but there was nothing particularly interesting happening on the page.


Steve Wands' lettering is also something I take issue with. I personally think that if he went with the traditional black-bordered word balloons, the art would have a little bit more weight to it. He seems to be trying what Nate Piekos has been doing on GREEN ARROW until his recent departure from that series, in that the balloons are borderless. Piekos can make it work, but I don't think Wands is suited for that kind of style. Don't get me wrong; Wands is a favourite letterer of mine and I love his work, but something more solid and traditional would have done him good.


Everything about this issue is mediocre; the story is at a standstill, the art is crossing into bland territory, and even the lettering doesn't help the story. This series needs another jump-start soon in order to get me back on board.

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