Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Aquaman #34 Review and **SPOILERS**

Fight Magic With Magic

Writer: Dan Abnett 
Artist: Kelley Jones 
Colors: Michelle Madsen 
Letters: Steve Wands 
Cover: Alex Kubert & Alex Sinclair 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: March 21, 2018


Ooh, Kelley Jones is on art duties here? I sure do like his creepy style (especially as colored by Michelle Madsen!), but that implies that this is a one-off issue of some manner, a break in the action…two issues after the action’s begun. Only one way to find out! And that’s to check out my review of Aquaman #34, just below! I guess you could also read the issue yourself, that would be a second way to find out.

Explain It!

They say that people’s tendencies are bred into them, but that’s not entirely true, is it? We’re born with a certain set of likes and dislikes that pattern our lives from the moment that we can tell the difference. Two people can be bred under the same circumstances, and still wind up entirely different from each other. No, assholes are much born as they are bred, not so much dealt a bad hand in life as they have rejected the available cards as unfair. And so we find Corum Rath, sulking because of his crummy childhood in the Lower Trides, where he had a crummy dad and a crummy job and crummy friends that bullied him all the time. His one true friend, Kadaver, was his only companion, despite being a taint-blood…er, sea-changed and wielding magic.
Which, Corum Rath points out, is used far too sparingly in the Atlantean kingdom. I have to concur with him on this one: if you’ve got it, use it. Yeah, there’s might be a spiritual price to pay, but there will be a more tangible price paid (known as cold, hard, moolah) once you dominate the whole world through magic. See, that’s the real issue behind this coup and the subsequent underwater political rumblings that followed: most are content to live an advanced underwater life, especially those in the Lower Trides that have begun mutating into fish-people. But Corum Rath and folks like him want Atlantis to rule over the seas and the land of Earth, as they once did…oh, I’m gonna say a handful of years ago. I really liked this subtle distinction between political “parties,” and the nature of the society it implies.
After upbraiding the Dean of the Silent School for failing against Aquaman, and observing some of his cabinet talking shit about him, Corum Rath walks and talks with Kadaver, who had been a hired assassin of Krush’s before Krush was…crushed. Indeed, Kadaver and Rath hadn’t seen each other in a while, but now reunited, it’s as if they never missed a beat, with Corum Rath yapping his narcissistic head off while Kadaver strolls quietly. They make their way to the source of all Atlantean magic, some sort of well housing an angry Old God or Gods, who then bestow the magic Rath desires to repel Aquaman: the power to turn anyone he touches into a hideously deformed, mindless slave. Unfortunately, the first guy he touches is Kadaver! Oopsie! Well, on to handling Arthur Curry next issue!
I don’t expect to see Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen on a book like Aquaman, but given how spooky this issue is, as well how well it is plotted, the fit is perfect. The story of Corum Rath’s upbringing is okay, more interesting is a look at his current mindstate, and the belief in Making Atlantis Great Again per my description above. The only disappointing part is that we have stalled the action yet again, and this rebellion against Corum Rath has been going on for too long in earnest. I don’t mind him being in charge for a while, but I’d have liked to see more of what life is like under his rule, instead of constantly hanging out with Aquaman in different aquatic war rooms, discussing the things they’re going to do. Let’s hope we can get to doing them already in the next issue.

Bits and Pieces:

A little diversion from an already-bloated story might not be warranted, but it can be welcomed when it's handled by Jones and Madsen. Some rare insight into a character barely developed, but who should be central to this story. Better late than never.



  1. After reading the summary for this issue I was even more frustrated that they would continue to drag out this storyline but... I have to agree with you Reginald Drinkwater, this issue got me pumped for the SHOWDOWN. Now if they don’t get right to it next issue then it’s back to being frustrated!