Top DC Comics of 2017 #2: Aquaman #31 by Dan Abnett and Riccardo Federico
Aquman has had a lengthy yet consistently compelling runnign story with “Underworld,” which has consisted of Arthur, Mera, and Dolphin attempting to liberate Atlantis from the tyrannical Corum Rath, a nationalistic and bigoted ruler who has been abusing the old magics of the undersea kingdom.
This story has begun to reach its crescendo with Aquaman #31 by Dan Abnett and Riccardo Federico, a high-energy issue that shows Aquaman rallying the rebels of Atlantis against King Rath.
I would make a reference to the current political situation in the U.S (and still have, in a way), but, in all honesty, I’m always up for a good rebellion story. “Underworld” has been that for the most part, and Aquaman #31 manages to kick it up a notch with Aquaman openly fighting Rath’s soldiers in the streets, saving the “taint-bloods,” and reaching out to allies to overthrow the ruler.
It also deals with issues of class, with the aforementioned “taint-bloods” being a genetically disparate people from the “normal” Atlanteans, and the taint-bloods have been mostly relegated to the impoverished Ninth Tride. It even has Arthur cop to his own neglect of the taint-bloods during his rule as King of Atlantis.
The immensely talented Stepjan Sejic has been the artist on most issues of “Underworld.” With #31, we have Riccardo Federico, who has talent and ability on par with the legendary Mr. Sejic. Federico’s work in Aquaman #31 absolutely blew me away. It is incredibly well-detailed and textured, the characters look like the legends that they are, and color artist Sunny Gho gives it a pristine color palette which really brings it all together.
Aquaman has long been the butt of jokes for reasons I never truly understood. This was turned around by the great work Geoff Johns performed with his run with the character at the beginning of the New 52. Well, it’s safe to say that Dan Abnett has met and exceeded the lofty standards set by Johns. Aquaman is an incredible read, and #31 easily deserves its place on this list.
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