“W-What is this? Another illusion? Another projection? Oh God. This is Real…”

The Deluge has been defeated and Aquaman and Atlantis are working hard to help repair the physical and mental damage inflicted by Black Manta’s NEMO. However, a new threat has appeared and it affects Aquaman’s aquatelepathy. What does this new threat entail and how will Aquaman deal with it?

Aquaman #17 front loads the action with a flash forward before writer Dan Abnett and artists Scot Eaton and Wayne Faucher step back and show us how we get to this big action scene. If you’ve been following along with Aquaman, this opening action scene can be a little confusing because you are wondering how in the world is Aquaman already taking the fight to this new villain. It’s a little off-putting and honestly bewildering as you are trying to figure out whether or not you missed something from the previous issue.

Aquaman #17

However, once Dan Abnett takes us back into the past, the comic flows well and moves along at a nice pace. Abnett is able to touch on a number of different themes that have been making Aquaman one of the best books on the shelves. He’s able to showcase Aquaman’s closest advisors, highlighting their different world views in just a few short lines. Not only is he able to showcase Aquaman’s advisors, but he also explores Aquaman’s relationship with Mera as she continues to support his decisions. He also captures Aquaman’s politics as he enters the world stage.

While the dialogue for the most part is pretty solid, there are a couple of characters’ lines which don’t really seem to make sense for the events that are occurring. In fact, they contradict Aquaman’s entire reason for being in New York.

Abnett’s villain is complex and mysterious. He does an excellent job of even calling into question his villainy. We get an idea of his power set, but then at the end Abnett smacks us with a whole new level of power that is truly awesome.

Aquaman #17

Scot Eaton’s pencils are hit and miss. In some instances he perfectly captures Aquaman’s body language, displaying complete confidence bordering on arrogance or expertly showing Mera biting down on her lip worrying about her love. However, in other scenes it loses the emotion and feels plain with generic cars drawing your eyes over Aquaman. I did appreciate what appears to be an homage to Terminator at the end of the issue!

Gabe Eltaeb’s colors do a great job of highlighting the emotions of Aquaman whether he is addressing the United Nations or facing down a threatening villain. He expertly captures Aquaman’s anger with a tinge of red as he faces down Warhead; and applies a greyish white fog-like color to show Aquaman’s confusion and lack of knowledge. It exudes a fog of war feeling.

Aquaman #17

The Verdict

Aquaman #17 starts off with an action-packed flash-forward sequence, however it is confusing and perplexing. Once Dan Abnett gets past this sequence, the book moves along at a nice clip that touches on a number of themes critical to Aquaman while also advancing an intriguing plot line with a dangerous and mysterious villain. The artwork is hit or miss with some expert emotional capture; however, other panels are devoid of the emotion and appear generic and plain.

Comic Book Review: Aquaman #17
Pros
  • Intriguing and mysterious villain
  • Abnett’s ability to touch on critical Aquaman themes while also weaving a new mysterious story
  • Nice emotional moments in the artwork
Cons
  • Confusing opening sequence for followers of the series
  • A number of plain and generic panels
7Overall Score
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