By: Andrew Fontana
Much of what Abnett penned before Aquaman #25 felt like a continuation of where Geoff Johns and his successors left the character during the New 52. The execution of his scripts usually made for satisfying reads in of themselves, but it became harder to ignore the nagging sensation that us readers have seen all of this before. Arthur Curry as reluctant king felt a bit stale while most other Rebirth titles injected new vigor into their respective characters. If this issue is any indication, then perhaps Abnett has come to realize this as well. By forcing the now former King Arthur onto the streets of Atlantis, Abnett has pushed this title into a promising new direction.
Most of the issue sets up the new status quo. Abnett’s script expands the world of Atlantis beyond the palatial splendor that most readers of the book are accustomed to, putting Aquaman into the position of a vigilante fighting crime on the streets. Essentially Aquaman becomes an underwater Batman, fighting the minions of crime bosses and interacting with the average Atlantean citizen. Too much of the issue is focused on setting up the rest of the arc, however, and the new villain isn’t given enough of a spotlight to develop.
Visually, Aquaman #25 is a stunner. Stjepan Sevic’s intricate pencils bring Atlantis to teeming life. He creates a vast metropolis that genuinely feels lived in, a feat that artists in previous issues couldn’t quite deliver. His art keeps things going whenever Abnett’s script falters. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Aquaman is once again rocking long hair and a beard. His lush colors, with their maritime tone, are an excellent fit for his pencils. Altogether, the art elevates Aquaman #25 into something truly memorable.