Back in 2016, DC Comics relaunched several ongoing series as part of its Rebirth initiative. Among these was a new Aquaman run by Dan Abnett, Brad Walker, Phillipe Briones, and Scot Eaton. The comic comes on the heels of Geoff Johns’ acclaimed New 52 run, which has popularized the character and made him a force to be reckoned with. (Still think Aquaman is a joke? Read any comic by Geoff Johns ever.)
Vol. 1 of the Rebirth run, titled “The Drowning,” sees Arthur Curry and Mera working to repair the public image of Atlantis. Many on the surface world fear Atlantis and its people, so Arthur seeks to present his kingdom as an ally. They even open a new Atlantean embassy to help improve relations. This is disrupted by the attack of new enemies, including classic Aquaman foe Black Manta.
“The Drowning” does a solid job depicting the political tensions between Atlantis and the surface world. The theme has come up consistently in modern Aquaman comics, especially in the aftermath of “Throne of Atlantis.” Dan Abnett’s writing is excellent, with both Arthur and Mera being compelling leads. The artwork is great too, perfectly fitting the story at hand. It also does an effective job telling the rivalry between Arthur and Black Manta.
For new readers, I would definitely recommend reading “The Drowning.” It does a great job establishing Aquaman and his world, and it shows just how fascinating a character he can be. I mean, there’s a scene where he fights Superman and holds his own. It is also a must-read for fans of characters like Mera and Black Manta, as it shows that both characters are compelling in their own right. If and when the Aquaman movie gets a sequel, I would love it to adapt this storyline.
Overall, “The Drowning” is a big recommendation to both longtime Aquaman readers and newcomers.