Beware, spoilers for AQUAMAN #29 abound!

Continuing the story arc referred to as “Underworld,” AQUAMAN #29 explores several intertwining narratives. The threat of King Rath, the usurper of Aquaman’s throne, and his Crown of Thorns continues to loom over Atlantis. Because of this, several of Aquaman’s allies embark on journeys to save their beloved nation from its impending doom. Thus, through Dan Abnett’s excellent characterization of the titular hero as well as Stjepan Sejic’s impeccable artwork, AQUAMAN #29 is a stellar installment in the Aquaman mythos.

AQUAMAN #29
AQUAMN #29 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Return of the False King

Beneath this issue’s eye-popping action sequences and tense confrontations lie some poignant moments of vulnerability. Firstly, we find Aquaman confiding in his ally, Dolphin, as the two attempt to elude King Rath’s forces together. During this journey, Aquaman finds himself doubting his own capabilities as a hero and even more so as a king. He only perceives himself as a hero when he stands amongst a team, specifically the Justice League, as he’s surrounded by individuals who he believes truly encompass goodness. As a result of this self-doubt, Dolphin attempts to bring Aquaman’s spirits up, without the use of words. She demonstrates that his noble nature is the very quality that qualifies him as a king and savior of Atlantis.

This moment truly exemplifies the benevolent nature of these two characters. It also showcases Abnett’s ability to characterize a superhero who has been around for decades in an innovative, profound manner. This particular issue strips Aquaman down. He’s running and doesn’t express himself through his abilities throughout AQUAMAN #29. Instead, we get a look into his perception of his world and, thus, we find ourselves understanding his personal struggle.

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Tales of Atlanteans Past

This exposure of vulnerability within the former king of Atlantis is paralleled by Garth, also known as Tempest. Tempest certainly stands out in AQUAMAN #29, as he’s given the opportunity to show off his various abilities, even a few that encompass mysticism. With this though, during a conversation with Mera, Tempest reflects on his tragic experiences at the Silent School in which his curiosity into the magical resulted in the death of his beloved, Syra. It’s a profound moment that flawlessly segues into an epic sequence in which Mera attempts to break the Crown of Thorns’ barrier with the assistance of an amulet Tempest stole from one of the magisters of the Silent School.

In accordance with these two awesome arcs, the confrontation between Vulko, Ondine, and Elder Null is also entertaining, as it foreshadows a potentially huge plot device in future issues. AQUAMAN #29 ultimately excels in establishing its own engaging narrative while setting up possibilities for future twists and turns that will challenge the characters we’re rooting for.

Aquaman #29
AQUAMAN #29 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

 

The Many Hues of AQUAMAN #29

Throughout the arc, Stjepan Sejic’s artwork has consistently been a stand-out aspect of Aquaman’s story. His work augments the stellar action sequences as the color palette maintains a vibrancy that captures the mystical nature of Tempest’s abilities. With this, Sejic never fails to accurately depict the vastness of Atlantis. He portrays a world that pulls you in as he renders the ocean a dynamic entity. Sejic’s lines are sharp, so his detail in settings, costumes, and expressions never falter. In AQUAMAN #29, the intricacies in Mera and Dolphin’s portrayals are especially impressive as Sejic beautifully designs everything from Mera’s costume to Dolphin’s skin details.

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With this, Sejic’s imagery is bolstered by Steve Wands’ lettering. His work balances well throughout the intense action sequences. Also, I love the way Wands’ lettering portrays the mysterious nature of the Shades, entities that exist in the catacombs of Atlantis. So, overall, this issue wouldn’t be as impactful as it is without its impeccable imagery. Every aspect of the art excels and augments the life of AQUAMAN #29.

Aquaman #29
AQUAMAN #29 page 10. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Beyond the Sea

“Underworld” has been an epic series that depicts Aquaman at his worst and best. Through a tremendous narrative, readers are witnessing an Aquaman they have never seen before. With this, it’s been exciting to experience an innovative take on a classic DC superhero. This particular story arc has taken our titular character to new heights and, based on what we have seen so far, this tale seems to be reaching an epic conclusion.

AQUAMAN #29 by Dan Abnett, Stjepan Seijic, & Steve Wands
Art 9.2
Characterization 9
Plot 9
Summary
Led by Seijic's artwork, AQUAMAN #29 is an action-packed issue that reminds us how awesome Aquaman's world can be.
9.1
A compelling piece
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