Remember fun, Arthur asks Mera?
I do, and it's back with Aquaman #49, the first issue written by Dan Abnett. The story alternates scenes of Arthur and Mera talking about their future, with rather unnerving vignettes across the US.
The conversation is split over a few days, beginning with the couple enjoying a breather in their lighthouse after recent events, and moving onto the Amnesty Bay Sea Festival. Accompanying Mera and Arthur are Atlantean friends Tula, Garth and Murk, and the response of the Wet Warriors Three to their big day out is a delight.
And so Arthur brings up his idea - to enhance understanding between Atlantis - 'just another country that happens to be underwater' - and the surface world. He wants to establish a mission, with Mera heading it.
Will she agree? And if Mera is busy being a diplomat, and Aquaman is acting as protector of land and sea, who will rule Atlantis?
I'm saying nowt. If you've ever been a fan of Arthur, Mera and their worlds, buy this issue - DC Rebirth is coming and I want Abnett to stay with the characters, so we need sales and enthusiasm. In one chapter - heck, by the end end of the first page, a lovely lesson in love - Abnett's grabbed me. The characters, the relationships, the potential... it all sings.
Then there's this.
And a last page that does something very cool.
Abnett is joined by penciller Vicente Cifuentes, a good storyteller who does friendly and frightening equally well; his characterisations of Arthur and the gang - and yes, that's the feel of things, and I like it - are terrific. Even Salty the dog gets a nice moment. And going above and beyond, he provides telling detail to the lighthouse interior.
Cifuentes inks some of his pages, while John Dell and Juan Castro are also in there. I always prefer a single inker, but DC seems to have an actual policy against it. Happily, the styles mesh well, with the vibrant colours of Guy Major helping knit things together. And Tom Napolitano adds the non-flashy, but excellent, lettering.
Throw in a splendidly wry cover by penciller Brett Booth, inker Norm Rapmund and colourist Andrew Dalhouse and you have the best issue of Aquaman in years. May there be many more.