The secrets behind N.E.M.O. revealed, including their leader…
His name rhymes with ‘Flack Panta.’ Your Major Spoilers review of Aquaman #15 awaits!
Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciler: Phillip Briones
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Aquaman: With his entire nation framed for crimes against the surface world by the mysterious organization known as N.E.MO., the king of Atlantis was forced to fight for his kingdom. Now, he has discovered the truth about N.E.M.O. and the reason for their targeting of Atlantis: It’s leader is his old foe, the criminal mastermind known as Black Manta!
THE DESPERATE DRUMS OF WAR
This issue begins a little bit oddly, with Aquaman announcing directly to the reader that he has come to meet his enemy face-to-face. He begins to narrate the story of what has happened, detailing his battle with the forces of N.E.M.O. and their “Fisher King”, Black Manta. Aquaman’s narration seems oddly oratory, as he explains their battle, Black Manta’s retreat and his sudden use of a self-destruct device to blow up his ship and keep his organization’s secrets under wraps. His story ends with the declaration that the secret cabal has been destroyed, with Black Manta’s helmet as proof, which he drops on the desk…
…of the President of The United States. We find that Aquaman and Superman are in the Oval Office, confronting President Obama directly, explaining that the war between Atlantis and the United States is officially over, that Aquaman is surrendering to the President, reminding him that if he had intended harm on the POTUS, he’d have done it five minutes ago. It’s a very strong moment, especially as the President addresses him as ‘Your Majesty’, and opens diplomatic relations once again.
MAYBE A LITTLE LESS BLACK MANTA FOR A WHILE?
The last few pages are fun as well, with Superman and Aquaman discussing the situation, and Superman opining that he couldn’t do what Aquaman does (a nice use of the character to give the proverbial “rub” to Arthur) and ending with Atlantis and the United States mounting a joint press conference to announce the end of hostilities. Abnett’s script is remarkable here, giving Aquaman the voice and bearing of a true king, contrasting him with Superman and the President, showing off his strengths as both hero and leader at the same time. Sadly, the visuals by Philip Briones aren’t quite up to the task, with a couple of weaknesses in facial expressions (one panel of the heroes smiling is horrifying, with strangely wide grins reminding me of the off-putting video for ‘Black Hole Sun’) and anatomy making things feel just a little… off?
THE BOTTOM LINE: STRONG ENDING…
Aside from the fact that Black Manta is a little bit overexposed for my tastes and the inconsistencies in the art, this issue is quite good, bringing ‘The Deluge’ arc to a close with a bang and reminding readers why Aquaman is cool and unique. Aquaman #15 works on a number of levels, even with the weaknesses of art here and there, earning a well-deserved 3 out of 5 stars overall. I’m still waiting to see how (or even IF) they are able to line up Arthur Curry with his upcoming movie counterpart, but unless and until that happens, the King Of Atlantis is in good hands…