Down With The King In Aquaman #35

by Jordan Jennings

Absolute power corrupts absolutely in Aquaman #35 as the Mad King Rath of Atlantis gains further access to the darkest of magiks of Atlantis’ lore. Aquaman and the Undercurrent make their move to depose the corrupted monarch, but is it too late for the underwater kingdom?

Aquaman #35 is brought to us by Dan Abnett (Writer), Robson Rocha (pencils), Daniel Henriques and Danny Mik (inks), and Sunny Gho (colors). Aquaman is an interesting character. He is not like the other original seven Justice League Members, in that Aquaman has often struggled to be a superhero comic. You don’t really read Aquaman to see him thwart the plans of an evil scientist, criminally insane clown, or a woman in a cheetah suit. Aquaman doesn’t have the villains to sustain this kind of book. Instead, Aquaman brings the heat in another area–drama. Specifically, palace intrigue drama. You know, Game of Thrones type of stuff. Thing is, Aquaman hasn’t just started doing that recently because of Thrones success, unlike some other franchises (Inhumans). Aquaman has been doing this type of story for a long time and Aquaman #35 does a good job of showing what makes an Aquaman comic unique from the rest of the DC Universe line.

Abnett knows how to deliver excellent drama coupled with action, based on his past work, but also definitely based on this comic. There is literal palace intrigue talk, but it is punctuated with scenes from an uprising and a rather awesome Aquaman moment. It is a balanced story that doesn’t solely follow talking heads, nor does it just turn into an non-stop, brain dead action. The pacing is quick and keeps the reader interested. It doesn’t drag on too long. The dialog is flawed here, though. Everything is written in royal dialect, which serves the story, but the script comes off as stilted and clunky. It isn’t an issue killer, but it is something that could use polish.
The art brought by Rocha, Henriques and Mik, and Gho is really solid. The detail work in Rocha’s pencils is superb and manages to add depth without over-rendering everything into an indecipherable mess. The character designs are solid and my favorite is the body horror of King Rath’s transformation.

As an aside, I seem to find a comic every week with some sort of body horror aspect. I just have a gift, it seems. Back to the topic at hand, Rocha does a great job and is complemented by the solid ink work of Henriques and Mik. I cannot tell where one inker begins and the other ends. This seamless transition helps the continuity of the book. Colors by Gho are well done. The palate is a mix of bright vibrancy and dull colors that provide great contrast. It is a pleasant book to look at and does a great job, overall.
Aquaman #35 is a good comic with a nice mix of action and drama. It plays to the strengths of Aquaman and does a solid job moving the plot. I recommend it for anyone looking for a Game of Thrones type fix.
Aquaman #35 is currently available from DC Comics.

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