“Aquaman” #27, Jeff Parker’s second issue chronicling the adventures of the Sea King, features finality to Aquaman’s battle with the Karaqan, a giant Atlantean monster. As expected from Parker, the story is entertaining and the writer finds areas to uncover new details about the world around Aquaman.
The writer makes a definite choice in “Aquaman” #27 to put Aquaman’s dedication to helping others on display. Through Aquaman’s powers to reach into the minds of sea life, readers learn of the past of the monstrosity Aquaman is fighting, but also get a peek into the potential dangers of that power as Aquaman’s thoughts are supplanted by the Karaqan’s own. That leads to Aquaman’s struggle to clear his thoughts and re-engage the Karaqan, a battle that clearly seems out of Aquaman’s league. During the battle, the King of Atlantis is rendered unconscious, during which Parker uses a new segment that peeks into Arthur’s childhood growing up the son of a lighthouse keeper. It’s a touching interchange that plays upon Parker’s knack for characterization and showcases Pelletier’s clean, emotive style washed in Rod Reis’ colors.
While Pelletier and co-artist Netho Diaz are both very capable of handling their assignments in “Aquaman” #27, their styles really don’t blend well, despite the return of veteran “Aquaman” colorist Rod Reis. Diaz’s characters are more rigid and covered with miniscule details than the more robust characters Pelletier draws. Pelletier’s work is more organic and vivacious, but Diaz gets the job done as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing the two artists swap issues or story arcs, but having them share an issue forces the readers to adjust on the fly, which could drastically interrupt story flow. The end result on the art for the issue is a story that is uneven and inconsistent. Rod Reis’ colors with their pastel-like highlights shine throughout the issue, regardless of the art they fill, but even his work cannot mask the disparate styles.
Before drawing a conclusion to “Aquaman” #27, the creative team re-introduces an obscure one-time Aquaman foe, at least by name, and teases out a subplot development from this story’s conclusion as Aquaman’s supporting cast begins to solidify. At the conclusion of the fight, Parker goes out of his way to show the surface world’s appreciation of Aquaman following the conclusion of the battle, despite the obvious collateral damage set upon the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. This is a nice way to emphasize Aquaman’s concern for others and his willingness to share his time. This is a fine second issue for Parker’s run on “Aquaman,” but visual consistency would have helped elevate it beyond merely being “fine.”