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Aquaman 25: New Artist, New Direction

Aquaman may not be the most popular hero in the DC Universe, but his book is going into a new direction that can bring in new readers.

Recently, Aquaman had lost his throne and is now trapped within the undersea world, hunted by the guards he used to command.

Writer Dan Abnett talked to Newsarama about the new artist and new visual style.

Abnett told Newsarama that, “Yes. That political strand is something I’ve been dealing with ever since I took the book over — the idea that Arthur is quite progressive, and because he’s half-surface dweller, he understands that Atlantis is stuck in the past and has got a naturally “anti” feeling about surface-dwellers.”

“As king, he’s worked very, very hard to break down those prejudices and try to bring Atlantis onto the world stage and make it a productive and important part of the nations of the world. That path has not been easy going.”

“But most of the threats he’s faced so far have been external threats — people like Black Manta trying to sabotage his efforts and bring Atlantis to the verge of war with the U.S. All sorts of things like that.”

“But now we discover that the biggest problem of all is that Atlantis — or at least a very strong, vocal part of the Atlantean population — is so set in its way and so, sort of, with a small “c” conservative about its long-held fear of the surface and all the horrors that represents that they’re not backing Arthur’s attempts to drag Atlantis kicking and screaming into the modern world.”

“And that is going to lead to a major clash over who gets to sit in the throne.”

“I think the outcome is going to be shocking.”

The book seems to have a political agenda similar to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Throughout the recent Aquaman stories, there have been connections to American politics. Seeing how there are people in America that continue to support a President that seems to bring America back into the past. Aquaman wants to move Atlantis forward, but there are still people who don’t want Atlantis to change.

Abnett commented on the art style as well. “We’re changing art teams not because there’s anything wrong with the art team – we’ve had amazing art. The art team that’s been on for the first 24 issues (25 counting the “Rebirth” issue) – Scot Eaton, Brad Walker, Wayne Faucher, Philippe Briones and Gabe Eltaeb — has been absolutely brilliant. And they have, I think, put in a track record that is unmatched by any other Rebirth book in DC — I think every other book has required more artists to step in to do fill-ins and stuff to get to that 24-issue mark on a bi-monthly basis. But our three guys have done an extraordinary job. And every single cover has been by the same team as well.”

“If nothing else, they need a bit of a rest. They’ve done a super job.”

“So to mark the change in Aquaman’s fortunes, and indeed the nature of Atlantis and its nature with the world, we’re changing the artist and going with a different art style completely in the form of Stjepan Sejic. And it’s amazing. It’s dazzling stuff that I think people will be impressed by. He’s bringing the culture and people of Atlantis to life in an astonishing way.”

“Stjepan starts in #25, yes. His work is what we used to call fully painted, but it’s not that anymore because it’s all computer generated. But it is the most extraordinarily powerful, vivid, colorful, almost photo-realistic — just really, really gorgeous stuff.”

“We’ve done a lot of stories over 24 issues which have taken place in Atlantis, but this story — because it’s so much about Atlantis — is going to be set in the heart of Atlantis for several issues, and Atlantis is being visualized in the most extraordinary way. This is like a big budget movie version of this.”

“We want people to understand that Atlantis is its own living, breathing thing with its own culture and its own style of architecture and costume and technologies. The pages are amazing.”

With the new art style and new direction of Aquaman stories, Abnett seems to be bringing the hero into more epic adventures in order to get more people to read the stories and possibly provide a message about American politics.

Abnett told Newsarama, “Yeah, for long-time readers, this is a big, new, bold development for where we’ve been going all along. And for new readers, it’s a great place to jump on board to something new. It’s a powerful new direction.”

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