AQUAMAN #27 by Dan Abnett and Stephen Sejic
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
The crime lord known as Krush has captured Aquaman and his friend Dolphin. Together they must find out how to break free and save the 9th Tirade. Meanwhile, multiple factions plot to claim the throne of Atlantis. This is an exciting issue by Dan Abnett, and artist Stephen Sejic depicts an insular conflict in the ocean realm.
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Wrath of the Bottom-Feeders
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Writer Dan Abnett has really left his mark on DC Rebirth. He has written two very strong series so far with his TITANS and AQUAMAN runs. Abnett continues his winning streak with AQUAMAN #27. Packed with fantastic art by Stephen Sejic, this issue is an exciting venture in the life of Aquaman!

AQUAMAN #27

This is the third part of the “Underworld” arc and it continues to show a very different side of Arthur Curry (AKA Aquaman). Arthur is no longer the King of Atlantis and has become “The Ghost of Atlantis,” defending the people in Atlantis’ 9th Tirade as a mysterious vigilante. I really enjoy Abnett telling divergent stories in his AQUAMAN run, especially when they’re as good as this “Underworld” arc has been.

The Hadalin

In AQUAMAN #24, Arthur lost his kingdom to the wrathful fanatic Corum Rath. As king, Rath’s first command was to kill Arthur Curry and then to close Atlantis off to the rest of the world. While Rath believes he has killed Arthur, the Aquaman lives on in the lower levels of Atlantis.

This area is the 9th Tirade. It’s a center for organized crime and home to mutated Atlanteans. The upper-class Atlanteans call those who live in the 9th Tirade “Hadalin,” or bottom-feeder. This is because these Hadalin deal in the grime of the poorer sections of the city. Aquaman, inspired by the Batman’s methods, has used fear and deception to fight criminals in the 9th Tirade. He views himself as a Hadalin by taking crime into his own hands and cleaning up the 9th Tirade’s underbelly. Others view Aquaman as the vengeful spirit of the dead king — not realizing that Rath failed to kill Arthur. In this issue, the crime lord Krush has captured Aquaman and his ally named Dolphin. Aquaman must find a way to escape without revealing that he actually is Arthur Curry, the rightful King of Atlantis.

The reason the “Underworld” arc is so entertaining is because we get to see our titular hero in such an unusual situation. In the comics, Aquaman is usually depicted as regal and pristine. Yet, in AQUAMAN #27, he’s a relentless, untamed warrior. His hair is longer and he’s grown a rugged beard. He looks more like the badass Jason Momoa version of Aquaman than the traditional white-bread version we’re used to seeing, yet this change doesn’t feel forced. Dan Abnett has made Aquaman’s transformation from noble King to fierce vigilante feel very natural throughout his run. So he truly has done an amazing job writing this great trial for Arthur.

An Underwater Epic

One of the main focuses of AQUAMAN is that Arthur is trying to reconcile the two distinct part of him: the human and the Atlantean. He wants to do this by uniting Atlantis with the surface world. Every time he makes any progress towards this goal, though, something goes wrong and people turn against him.

What I really loved about Geoff Johns’ New 52 AQUAMAN is how he captured the political aspect of Atlantis. Dan Abnett’s run on the character has definitely continued this. The series is as much about Atlantis as it is about Arthur himself. It’s about the factions that seek control of the underwater kingdom and about who should sit on the throne.

While Aquaman struggles in the 9th Tirade, Mera works on the surface to rescue her beloved. After finding out that Arthur still lives, she’s determined to get into the fortified city of Atlantis. She reaches out to Tempest of the Titans (the stars of another one of Abnett’s series) to help her break into Atlantis and put Arthur back on the throne.

AQUAMAN #27
AQUAMAN #27 pg. 12. Image Courtesy of DC Comics

Then there’s Vulko, Arthur’s former advisor. He’s a devout follower of Aquaman and believes that it’s necessary for Arthur to lead Atlantis into a new golden age. He’s now working with Mother Cetea, head of the Widowhood of Atlantis. The Widowhood is a group of women that play the role of spies, mystics, and priestesses for the ruler of Atlantis. Cetea is unhappy with King Rath and seems to have her own ambitions.

It’s really awesome to see how Abnett has developed the intricate world of Atlantis, filled with groups fighting for power. Forget GAME OF THRONES, underwater power struggles are where it’s at!

Art in AQUAMAN #27

Stephen Sejic came on as the artist in AQUAMAN #25 at the start of this arc. So far I’ve really enjoyed his style. As both penciler and colorist, he’s able to fully capture the look of the deep sea. In every panel, bubbles rise from the depths of the sea. There’s also a thickness and a flow to Aquaman’s hair, which accentuates the dampness of the water. It’s also interesting how Sejic lights the 9th Tirade differently than the surface world or even the royal palace of Atlantis. Since the 9th Tirade is the lowest part of Atlantis, it receives the least amount of light. Therefore, Sejic draws the background as mostly dark blues and grays in this area. This is in direct contrast to when Mera arrives at Titans Tower beneath the bright Manhattan skyline. This is a helpful technique to depict location simply through the art.

AQUAMAN #27

I think Sejic’s art is perfect for this darker and dramatic take on AQUAMAN as he struggles to regain his throne. If Dan Abnett continues with this new tone, I would love to see Sejic stay on the title for a while.

Final Thoughts

AQUAMAN #27 is another terrific example of why Aquaman is such a cool hero. For years society has laughed at him but it looks like that’s soon to change. If the first appearances of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman haven’t convinced you that the King of Atlantis is a badass, this issue should do it for you.

READ: See more of Jason Momoa’s wicked hair in this JUSTICE LEAGUE trailer and read our thoughts!

I can’t wait to see what Dan Abnett has planned for Aquaman. This run has taken its characters to exciting new places! AQUAMAN #27 shows Arthur taking down underwater mobsters while a conflict begins for the throne. Abnett is setting the stage for an exciting battle on the horizon. As long as he continues delivering stories like this one, I’m ready for anything!

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