WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Aquaman #49, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan Glapion, Daniel Henriques, Ryan Winn, Sunny Gho, and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
If you suffered from amnesia and had the opportunity to learn about your past, but that truth would change everything you believed, would you want to know? That's the dilemma Arthur Curry has faced in Aquaman.
After saving the Old Gods of Unspoken Water from the vengeance of Mother Salt, Aquaman is introduced to Mother Shark, a being who collects the dead of the ocean and keeps their memories. Given the chance to fill the gaps in his mind, Arthur learns who he once was, but more tragically, he now knows the truth behind his fate.
At some point before he washed up on the shore of Unspoken Water, Aquaman had a fateful confrontation with Mera. The queen of Atlantis has a responsibility to her people that may no longer allow Arthur to be in her life. The complication comes when Mera reveals she is pregnant with Aquaman's child, making it difficult to determine the right course of action.
It's certainly a big deal any time it's revealed a superhero is having a child, but for Aquaman and Mera this is a special case. Those familiar with previous DC continuity will know this isn't the first time these two have had a child. The couple welcomed Aquababy into the world in 1965 before the child met an untimely end in 1978, changing their relationship forever.
Following the death of Arthur Curry Jr. in Aquaman #60, Aquaman and Mera's relationship eventually unraveled. In the decades after, the two continued to have an on-again, off-again relationship, with Mera acting as more of an adversary than ally at times. It's difficult to say how much of that remains in Rebirth continuity, but readers know the weight of the revelation.
Mother Shark also shares with Aquaman how he lost his memory. Arthur didn't take to the news of a child too well, and in his attempt to leave during their moment of crisis, Mera lashed out at him. Clearly stressed from the difficult position she is in, the queen of Atlantis unleashed her magics and killed Aquaman, thinking he was abandoning her.
When Mother Shark came to collect him, she determined he deserved a second chance, which is why he's alive now. The real question, though, is how this turn of events fits into previously established continuity. It was heavily implied that Aquaman's fate is the result of the "Drowned Earth" storyline in Justice League. If this is what really happened to him, how can the two stories really take place in the same continuity?
For the sake of this story, let's assume these incongruities are merely a result of DC's heavy publishing schedule. Does this story promise the return of Aquababy, or will the child be Aquaman and Mera's second born child? The revelation of a baby has us guessing what the future holds, but the past says it could end in tragedy. Can this DC power couple come back together and find a happy ending? We'll have to keep reading.