I'm sad to see Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier wrap up their time in Atlantis with "Aquaman" #40; their run has been consistently pleasing and the title was in good hands with the duo. Fortunately, as they brought their time to a close, they didn't lose track of what makes the character work.
In this case, I'm referring to Aquaman's relationships. It's most notably with his wife Mera but also with his friends and even his until-now MIA mother Atlanna. Watching Aquaman work with them all is a real pleasure; there's no way that Aquaman could have defeated the fire elemental Karaku on his own but, with his allies by his side, everything comes together. That's how a comic starring a king should work; Aquaman is a born leader and his alliances -- both political and personal -- should never be discounted.
Because Parker was on his way off the title, it also would have been easy to simply kill off the previously-dead Atlanna and move on, but I appreciate the route that he took as well. He leaves the window of opportunity as open or closed as future writers want, but more importantly does so while still telling a satisfying, completed. This doesn't feel artificially truncated or shoved back in the box at the last second.
The book also looks good; Karaku practically blazes off of the page thanks to Rain Beredo's colors, and Pelletier makes Karaku look menacing even when you can't see anything more than a glimpse of his massive form. Pelletier also handles the big moments of "Aquaman" #40 with aplomb. Mera's attacking Karaku has all of the power that such a moment commands and, likewise, turns Aquaman's ability into a real display of force. Pelletier always clearly understood both Aquaman as a character and what Parker's been going for in his scripts.
Parker and Pelletier's time on "Aquaman" has been fun, and it's sad to see it conclude here. Hopefully, the duo has some collaborations in the future lined up, because they definitely work well together. Until then, this is a satisfying conclusion to go out on and a perfect way for the title to take a breather before the new creative team shows up in June.