For the past two storylines, Dan Abnett’s Aquaman has focused on Atlantis, exploring the political and social aspects of the underwater city as the titular hero gives up his crown to fight for the underdogs. The change in focus completely reinvigorated the series, along with a bold new visual aesthetic that set it apart from other DC titles. Current artist Riccardo Federici has a very different style than his predecessor, Stjepan Sejic, but it’s proven to be another upgrade, giving the book a traditional fantasy look that fits the tone of Abnett’s story very well. Federici and colorist Sunny Gho have brought this world to life with intricate detail and explosive spectacle, and this exclusive preview of this week’s Aquaman #33 highlights the intensity of their work together.
The Crown of Thorns is a magical barrier around Atlantis that has kept the rest of the world world out and trapped citizens in, and in order to save his beloved’s life, Aquaman has to take down the Crown of Thorns with the help of the city’s rebel forces. Charging into action with massive sea beasts at their side, the Atlantis uprising is an intimidating, powerful force, and the title splash page starts the climactic battle with a huge rush of energy. It’s a stark contrast from the quiet opening page of the dying Mera, showing how Federici controls the pacing and the tone with his layouts. Federici also draws an incredibly hunky Aquaman, giving the character a body type that is closer to Jason Mamoa’s big-screen version while emphasizing the hero’s raw strength. This Aquaman looks like he could kick your ass with no problem, and this new attitude that makes him an especially formidable hero.