Part five of the “Maelstrom” epic from writer Jeff Parker and artist Paul Pelletier takes readers to Pacifica as Aquaman and Mera finally track down Aquaman’s mother, Queen Atlanna. Mera lightheartedly jokes that “she looks great” as Aquaman leaps into action to converse with his long-lost, once-believed-deceased mother.
With that single scene, as Aquaman leaps between past and present, writer Jeff Parker summarizes his run on “Aquaman” quite effectively with a blend of action, mystery, suspense, humor and humanity. The story is widescreen, but the personal moments are well-timed and smartly executed. Parker doesn’t belabor the issue or the moment with any sort of recap or retelling, instead putting the readers onshore with the denizens of Pacifica, who wonder just who this orange- and green-clad stranger is and what he wants with their queen. Readers who have been in for the long haul are given a satisfying payoff.
While Hope and Faucher are solid in their inking, Sean Parsons’ absence is noticeable, especially on some of the larger scenes where textures and shading are simplified or applied solely through Pete Pantazis’ colors. Paul Pelletier’s work is as solid as it has been since the start of his run on this book, and his interpretations of Atlanna and her subjects are quite grand. In addition to drawing Atlanna, Pelletier introduces readers to Gontu, Queen Atlanna’s hulking, brutish goon and Lenu, Atlanna’s advisor. The latter is a slender young lady that Pelletier meticulously differentiates from Mera, Atlanna, Tula or any other female character he has drawn. The same can be said for the former, as Pelletier continues to offer a clinic on varying body types, builds, physiques and posture. Pantazis’ colors are brilliant and vast, coloring everything from the pale-skinned Atlanna to the water forms under Mera’s command and giving every bit of “Aquaman” #39 understated energy, texture and depth.
Solid and consistent but considerably more brisk than recent issues, the pace of “Aquaman” #39 is adjusted to accommodate some big-screen shots that give Paul Pelletier plenty of room to put the action in the readers’ faces. The journey has led to this point, and the conflict is unexpected and exciting. With only one issue left before the “Convergence” crossover and the creative team change-up, Parker, Pelletier and company are doing a bang-up job of packing “Aquaman” full of everything a comic tied to Atlantis should have: regal majesty, stunning creatures, a fantasy thread and lots of water and energy splashing all over the place as “Maelstrom” preps for its final chapter.