This week sees the release of Aquaman #38 (check out an exclusive preview for this here!) and Mera Queen Of Atlantis #6, two comics that have heavy implications for Atlantis and it’s citizens. Dan Abnett, seasoned scribe, and writer of both issues took some time out his busy schedule to surface for a bit and talk to us at Monkeys Fighting Robots about the end of the Corum Rath arc, the importance of both Aquaman and Mera as characters, the future of Atlantis, and much more.
Dan, first, thanks for taking the time to do this. I know it’s a busy season for you guys.
Dan Abnett: My pleasure!
For those who haven’t been reading this arc can you give a brief description?
DA: The usurper Corum Rath has seized the throne of Atlantis, and everyone is suffering. He’s a tyrant. Aquaman is leading the fight against him inside Atlantis while (in her own series), Mera is rallying allies (and battling Ocean Master) on the outside.
Corum Rath has such a great ending to his arc. What made you decide to go so tragic?
DA: Thanks. I felt it needed an emotional punch, not just the simple downfall and defeat of a bad guy. Rath was a complex character, not just a pantomime villain. He’d got into something too terrible to get out of alone.
Was the ending something you had in mind from the beginning? I ask because it’s such a great moment and feels like such an epic event in the DCU.
DA: Yes, it was planned for a long time, in collaboration with Scott Snyder and the Metal/Justice League team. You can’t just do something like that and not let anyone else in the DCU know.
You bring Mera in at a very pivotal moment in this issue. What draws you to her as a character?
DA: She’s a great character, overlooked and underused. I think she’s the most unappreciated and under-estimated characters in the DCU. As soon as I started writing Aquaman, I realized that Mera wasn’t just a supporting character. Her personality and character demanded real prominence. There’s almost a danger of her overshadowing Arthur. She deserves wider coverage in the DCU. I’m delighted we got her first ever series, got her into the Justice League, and were able to give her such a big role in this story.
Have you always wanted to write Aquaman?
DA: Absolutely. The combination of high fantasy, superheroics and a dash of SF has always appealed to me.
What makes Arthur so important to the DCU?
DA: He’s got a bad rep (as the ‘joke’ superhero) that I wanted to repair. He’s one of the big icons, a fundamental part of the DCU core, but he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. The DCU is full of great characters, but to me, the ‘big six’ have always been Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman. He’s part of that core pantheon.
What kind of impact do you hope to have on the character’s legacy?
DA: I hope people take him more seriously. I hope I’ve shown he’s one of DC’s biggest characters, and that the world below the waves is as complex and involving as anywhere else in the DCU. I just hope, really, that I’ve added to and strengthened his legend, in terms of stories, villains and supporting cast.
What’s next for Aquaman? Can you give us any juicy hints?
DA: Well, there’s still plenty of big things about to happen. We’ve got two major crossovers coming in fast. Can you say “Suicide Squad”? And can you say “Major Justice League event”? A Justice League event with Aquaman as the focus!
And lastly, our founder at MFR, Matt Sardo, feels you were really good at re-inventing characters with your run at Marvel. What character at DC would you like to give the Star-Lord treatment to?
DA: Thank you! There are so many DC characters I’d love to play with. Not saying any of them are broken or need fixing, but I know I could have fun with Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Dr. Fate, the Specter, a Green Lantern, Constantine and Zatanna, Warlord, Sergeant Rock… seriously, there are so many to choose from!
Both Aquaman #38 and Mera Queen Of Atlantis #6 are due for release on 7/25/18. You can pick them up at your local comic shop.