REVIEW: AQUAMAN #16

(w) Geoff Johns (a) Paul Pelletier

**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**

Hot off last week’s big reveal at the end Justice League #16, Geoff Johns throws “Throne of Atlantis” into fifth gear in Aquaman #16 with some fights, some twists, and a whole lot of new questions that need answering before the end of the crossover. Orm the Ocean Master — aka the current King of Atlantis — sentenced the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to death by expulsion to the “dark waters”. While Aquaman searches for his beleaguered friends who are sinking to the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic Trench in weird pods, the reserve members of the Justice League bring the fight to the invading Atlantean army on the surface. 

The most exciting part of Aquaman #16 is seeing the extended League roster show up to lend a hand in this time of crisis, and how that affects the League proper. Some choice dialogue reveals that Batman and Cyborg had been developing the idea of having a sort-of emergency call list of Leaguers on stand-by, but Batman’s frustration at Cyborg’s call to arms shows Vic acted of his own accord. Cyborg’s decision to circumvent Batman’s input is an important step for Victor, a relatively popular hero who isn’t featured in any other series of the ‘New 52’, and who desperately needed some character development beyond his father issues. Now, we have some friction between Cyborg and Batman, something that will surely come up in future issues. And seeing more heroes being added into the mix is just plain exciting.

While the extended League takes on the Atlantean forces, Aquaman and Cyborg manage to free Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman while also learning that the monsters Aquaman believed he had sealed away at the end of “The Trench” have mysteriously returned. Up to now, educated assumptions pointed to Orm’s hand moving the chess pieces around the board to force an war that would prove Atlantis’ superiority.   The dramatic irony of the Trench monsters’ freedom finally comes to light for the characters, but their arrival raises even more questions because Orm is as confused about their sudden and seemingly indiscriminate strike as the League. 

Even though everything is coming together, Johns keeps us guessing to the end with the big twist at the end of Aquaman #16. The reveal makes a lot of sense and it points to how and why the events of “Throne of Atlantis” have taken place, but it also leaves things open for a solid resolution in Justice League #17.

GRADE
8/10
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