Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aquaman #40 Review

Written by: Jeff Parker
Art by: Paul Pelletier
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 25, 2015

Mommy Dearest

"All good things must come to an end", Grandpa Werner used to tell me while I sat on his knee and...actually, that never happened.  My Grandpa was an awful man who hated me, but in my dream world, he would have told me that and I would have thought of those times as I read this issue.  Aquaman #40 is all about ends the Maelstrom story, but also ends Jeff Parker's and Paul Pelletier's time on the book.  I'm sad to see them go, but at least they are leaving on a high note.  This Maelstrom story has been epic and showed me once and for all that Jeff Parker was a great choice to take this book over when Geoff Johns' left all those issues ago.  I'm going to push the sadness aside and get on with my review.  Come join me...

This issue opens with an all-out battle royal.  Arthur, Mera and the Atlanteans are fighting Atlanna and her people while also dealing with Karaku.  Of all the things that Parker has introduced in this Maelstrom story, I really like Karaku, the Volcano God.  He is big, bad and awesome and really gives Aquaman a beat down.

That's not the worst thing that happens to Arthur in this issue, however.  I would say the physical pain he sustains is nothing compared to the mental anguish of having Atlanna deny he is her son.  This whole arc has been about Arthur wanting to find his Mother and she just dismisses him as a liar. Ouch!

Back to the action, Mera continues to prove that she is the real star of the book by saving Arthur, impressing Atlanna and just being a straight up bad ass.  This will not surprise any fan of this book...she has been stealing the show since The New 52 started.

The battle  finishes up a little too quickly and without a whole lot of explanation.  What happened to Karaku?  Is the battle really over or is it just a lull in the action?  We do get more of Atlanna denying Arthur and going one step further...she wants to kill him.  It feels a bit off, but I love how Arthur tries to change her mind.

The book ends with the Atlanteans heading home, Atlanna finally believing her son and giving him the means to assume his rightful place as King of Atlantis.  While it felt a little bit rushed, I still liked the way it ended.

I am going to chalk the odd pace and forced situations in this issue to the Convergence event looming in the near future.  Jeff Parker does a good job pushing past these to give a really satisfying story that sets up the book to start up fresh in June.  I wish Parker was able to let this story breathe a little more, or better yet, continue it in June, but that's not in the cards.  What we are left with is a really good story to end Parker's run and I am glad I got to experience it.

Paul Pelletier's art had been up and down when Parker first jumped on the book, but he's been on his game for this Maelstrom story.  This issue is one of his best, with impressive full page spreads and art that I haven't seen from him since the Geoff Johns run.  What a way to go out.

Bits and Pieces:

This final issue of the Maelstrom story may have had some forced and rushed bits, but it was still a really nice way to end the arc and Jeff Parker's and Paul Pelletier's run on the book.  I am glad that Jeff Parker got the chance to tell his story, I just wish he would have been given more time.


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