Aquaman #39 Review: Atlantis Against the Suicide Squad

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Mera struggles to gain control of the geopolitical situation Atlantis now that the nation has risen to the surface. She stands resolute, though, and she won't stop until peace has been attained. Meanwhile, the U.S. is making a show of flying military jets over Atlantis and moving submarines into the water around the nation. Aquaman tells Murk to let him personally know should a Black Ops team enter Atlantis, specifying that Murk not tell Mera to keep her innocent. Inevitably, Murk detects the Task Force X. aka the Suicide Squad, entering the city. Aquaman and his team respond.

Aquaman #39 cover by Rafa Sandoval and Ivan Plascencia
Aquaman #39 cover by Rafa Sandoval and Ivan Plascencia

After the lengthy war against Corum Rath, Mera and Arthur must now grapple with Atlantis rising to the ocean's surface and the Suicide Squad aiming to send it back to the depths.

I would have liked for an issue to reestablish the book's status quo and give the reader a moment to breathe after the year-long saga of Corum Rath. Aquaman #39 tries to do a little housekeeping, but the Suicide Squad plot comings crashing in before long.

Also, I guess we're not even pretending that Amanda Waller is morally ambivalent anymore if we're committing unprompted nuclear strikes against foreign nations.

The comic writhes in agony every time Harley Quinn has a line of dialogue, unfortunately. Her lines are bad. I'm not blaming Dan Abnett for that — this is just the character that Harley is now.

All that aside, this book is enjoyable. We have some interesting character beats with Mera and Arthur. The latter's friendship with Murk has been damaged. The team Arthur chooses to fight the Squad is pretty damn cool.

Aquaman #39 art by Joe Bennett, Vicente Cifuentes, and Adriano Lucas
Aquaman #39 art by Joe Bennett, Vicente Cifuentes, and Adriano Lucas

Joe Bennett joins up as artist for this issue. While I would have Riccardo Federici do art for Aquaman forever if it were possible, Bennett is a damn good artist and brings a more traditional comic style to the book. The characters look great, with Arthur himself being given a broad and impressive figure. Adriano Lucas contributes a bright color palette that gives the book additional life too, and the overall aesthetic of the book clicks well.

Aquaman #39 is a solid if unexciting continuation to the tales of Mera and Arthur Curry. I do look forward to more battling with the Suicide Squad, but the comic struggles against its two goals of reestablishing the Aquaman canon while fulfilling its duties as a crossover. That said, it still earns a recommendation. Check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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