[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Black Manta attacked the Gardens of Crevsa, a sacred site in Atlantis that memorializes the ancestors. Mera will not allow this desecration to go unpunished, so she, Vulko, and Murk ride for the surface. Meanwhile, Aquaman seeks to solve the mystery of Tristram Maurer, the man who founded Amnesty Bay over 200 years ago. In his line of questioning, Arthur learns that Tristram Maurer may have a number of supernatural abilities, among which includes summoning the sea monster which killed Ralph. Jackson isn’t happy about that. All the while, Black Manta and Mecha Manta approach Amnesty Bay.
Aquaman #53 brings about a reunion of Aquaman, Mera, and Black Manta. Recent circumstances have separated and alienated Arthur and Mera from one another, and Black Manta has been gifted a powerful new weapon with which to kill them both.
The story of Tristram Maurer is a strange outlier in all of this with his tale of monsters and possible immortality. His story and why he’s here is interrupted by Manta before we learn too much,
The relationship between Black Manta and the AI of the Mecha Manta, which is based upon the personality of Black Manta’s father, is one of the highlights of the issue. The blood feud between Aquaman and Black Manta is partially due to Arthur having killed Manta’s father years ago. As such, Manta has built an idealized and utilitarian image of his father which the Mecha Manta is disrupting. Black Manta keeps having to alter the machine’s persona to better suit how Black Manta still views his father. It’s a smart way of representing how we choose to remember lost loved ones.
Robson Rocha and Eduardo Pansica once again give us some powerful visuals for this issue, particularly in the opening sequence with Mera and the destroyed gardens. The high quality lasts throughout, aided greatly by the popping colors of Sunny Gho.
Aquaman #53 begins building to an explosive climax as Arthur, Mera, and Black Manta once again come into collision with one another at Amnesty Bay. The resulting battle will surely be exciting, and I look forward to it. This issue earns a recommendation. Check it out.
Aquaman #53 comes to us from writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, artists Robson Rocha and Eduardo Pansica, inkers Daniel Henriques and Julio Ferreira, color artist Sunny Gho, letterer Clayton Cowles, cover artist Robson Rocha with Jason Paz and Alex Sinclair, and variant cover artist Rafa Sandoval with Rex Lokus.
Final Score: 7.5/10