AQUAMAN #33 By Dan Abnett, Riccardo Federici, and Sunny Gho
In AQUAMAN #33, Dan Abnett and his fantastic team including artists Riccardo Federici and Sunny Gho band together to create a fantastic finale. This issue is intense, climatic, and epic! Most of all the terrific art makes a lasting impression on the reader.
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And The Walls Came Tumbling Down!

AQUAMAN #33 completes the fabulous arc “The Crown Comes Down.” In this issue, once again by writer Dan Abnett and artists Riccardo Federici and Sunny Gho, we get the epic conclusion we deserve. While we can still anticipate the final battle between Aquaman and Corum Rath, AQUAMAN #33 provides a brawl worth waiting for.

AQUAMAN #32 Review: The Once and the Future Queen

The Fight For Mera’s Survival

In AQUAMAN #32, we learned that Mera, Arthur’s beloved, lost the ability to breathe underwater after using an artifact from the magical Silent School to cross into Atlantis. Now Mera, who Mother Cetea names the destined Queen, is slowly losing oxygen. Arthur needs to bring her to the surface so that she can breathe but there’s just one small problem: the Crown of Thorns.

AQUAMAN #33 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

No, the Crown of Thorns isn’t the eight book in A Song of Ice and Fire nor the crown Jesus wore at the crucifixion. It’s a mystical energy structure that the Silent School set up to isolate Atlantis from the surrounding world. It ensures that no one can come into Atlantis and similarly no one escapes it. Think of it as a fantastical metaphor for Trump’s border wall.

Now, in AQUAMAN #33, Arthur and his rebels “The Undercurrent” lead a last-ditch effort to take down the Crown of Thorns. However, they’re greatly outnumbered by the Silent School’s elite forces. It may seem like a suicide mission for Aquaman, but for Mera, there is literally nothing he isn’t willing to do.

This scenario sets up an amazing sci-fi & fantasy underwater battle! We get Atlanteans using high-powered lasers, spells, unleashing enormous sea monsters, all while Aquaman leads the vanguard thrashing his way through numerous foes. Dan Abnett has masterfully written subtle relationships and clever political intrigue. Unsurprisingly, the writer of numerous WARHAMMER books excels at nothing more than writing spellbinding fantasy battles.

The Future of Atlantis

One of my favorite things about Dan Abnett’s run on AQUAMAN is how it pushes the story of Atlantis forward. Geoff Johns’ New 52 arc showed Arthur struggling with his role as both human and Atlantean and then saw him struggle between the positions of hero and king. These ideas are central to Aquaman’s story. However, no matter how good a story is, if it’s told too often, it becomes repetitive (i.e., Spider-Man’s origin story).

AQUAMAN #31 Review: Justice Rises in Atlantis

That is why Dan Abnett has come into AQUAMAN bringing a fresh spin on this classic DC character. He depicts Atlantis in the middle of political upheaval caught between two worlds. One part of Atlantis desires to push forward, to embrace the human world, and to give its mutant minorities greater political freedoms. Arthur, in many ways, represents this call for change in Atlantis.

However, a significant part of Atlantis doesn’t want the sudden and radical change that Arthur was bringing. They want Atlantis to be an independent power, to embrace its traditional magical roots, and they believe in racial purity. This group of Atlanteans festered throughout Arthur’s rule and radicalized under Corum Rath. With Rath as king, this movement has taken center stage. Rath leads as a corrupt, incompetent monarch.

AQUAMAN #33 page 12. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The main political threat to Rath is no longer Arthur. It’s Mera. As a Xebel refugee who adopted Atlantis as her home, Mera’s now the only hope against Rath. She’s the face of the future and a newer, brighter Atlantis.

As you can see, Dan Abnett has created a complex, political world (that definitely doesn’t connect to any real-world political realities). This provocative storytelling makes me that much more excited to read AQUAMAN. It also makes me anticipate Mera’s solo comic next week!


Riccardo Federici and his colorist Sunny Gho, continue to create wonders with their gorgeous panels. On top of it just looking spectacular, Federici’s art style draws me in just from looking so enormously different from other AQUAMAN, and even DC, art.

JUSTICE LEAGUE Panel at ACE Comic Con 2017

AQUAMAN is usually associated with bright colors and often pleasant imagery. The art in this comic is brutally gritty in the best way possible. The opening page features Aquaman cutting down members of the Silent School with his magical trident. Meanwhile, the Undercurrent soldiers shoot down Silent School magicians, leaving them float lifelessly in the ocean. The scene is punctuated by blood and debris mixing with water and the leviathan, Thrasher, breaking down a fortification.

AQUAMAN #33 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This isn’t a heroic depiction of war. Much like GAME OF THRONES’ iconic “Battle of the Bastards,” Federici is able to capture the horror and violence of war all while depicting its grand and impressive nature. The result is both impressive and terrifying.

However, later in the comic when sensual, romantic imagery is needed Federici also nails this. Here he focuses much more on the quality of the faces of our protagonists. Meanwhile, Sunny Gho depicts the dramatic nature of the background. Federici and Gho can tackle a nearly impossible balancing act throughout this comic, and they accomplish it almost perfectly.

Final Thoughts

AQUAMAN #33 completes one of the best arcs to come out post-Rebirth. What Abnett, Federici, and Gho have accomplished is nothing short of phenomenal. It’s artistic gold.

This issue combines non-stop action with fantasy thrills. It still has the beating heart that defines Dan Abnett’s AQUAMAN #33. With other DC writers switching up their titles, I’m excited to see where Dan Abnett takes the story of Arthur Curry since he’s continuing on AQUAMAN. Even more, I’m itching to see what Abnett does with MERA: QUEEN OF ATLANTIS!

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