Atlantis sits on the brink of war with the surface world. A second rate sorcerer has sealed himself in the Sequestered Core Vault of the Silent School with a ticking, magic nuclear bomb so powerful it could wipe Atlantis from the map. In the explosive fourth part of the “Sink Atlantis” crossover with Suicide Squad, Aquaman #40 finds Aquaman, Dolphin, and the Suicide Squad locked on a collision course. Whereas the previous issue flirted with different tropes from a few genres, Dan Abnett, Joe Bennett and Vincent Cifuentes have created an entertaining finale that uses wonderful character interactions played for comedic effect.
“You sound like a Hallmark card.”
Harley Quinn’s dialogue often remains one of my favorite parts of this storyline. Allowing her to be sincere with Killer Croc while also providing her brand of comedic relief adds some depth to her character. I also think that using her to provide what essentially serves as the recap for previous issues does add some humor to a process that may be necessary for any reader not caught up with the story. This is especially effective when Harley is rehashing these events to her own teammates. Unfortunately, the effect is less positive here as the events of this issue take place immediately after Suicide Squad #46.
From a storytelling perspective, it seems entirely unnecessary and is less clever than trying the narration into the previous issues’ interrogation. Ultimately, between this and Harley breaking the fourth wall to mention the previous issue to Master Jailer (I mean Carl), it feels as though the character is written to be a female version of Deadpool. This is a little disappointing as Harley has her own personality with a level of insanity that distinguishes her from the Merc with a Mouth.
“I know the world sees you as a villain… but in this moment… we need you to be a hero.”
Much of the resolution to this conflict plays out in a way that you might expect. Master Jailer is the key to unlocking the magical force field around the silent school. Once inside, Aquaman knocks the snot out of the D-list supervillains with little-to-no effort. I find it pretty hilarious that the threat Lord Satanis posed in the previous issue is reduced to nothing after a few punches from the former King of Atlantis. This is largely effective due to the fact that this book never takes itself seriously. Had the issue taken itself too seriously, this resolution would have come off as anticlimactic.
A large portion of my enjoyment for this issue comes from the interactions among the characters. They provide some levity to what might otherwise be considered a desperate situation. Additionally, their reaction to the near abysmal effects of Lord Satanis’s bomb only serve to make the character a walking punchline and prove Killer Croc’s assessment true.
“This is gonna put a hitch in our giddy up.”
One of the elements that I feel is missing from this issue is the use of written dialect for each of the characters. This was a nice touch in the previous installment that gave many of the characters a distinctive voice. Although it does not terribly damage the dialogue, it is missed.
Although the resolution to the conflict is dealt with swiftly once the bomb is detonated, it will be interesting to see how this will continue to play out within future issues. Aquaman #40 is not a comic that provides much depth for its core characters. However, the interactions between the characters and the exploration of their bond makes the issue entertaining. The comedic take on this finale helps solidify the notion that Aquaman would easily dispatch of the D-List supervillains.
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