Rodunn, having failed to kill Aquaman on the reef, decides to chase him on land. The sorcerer who is apparently ruling Atlantis as the voice of Mera outfits Rodunn with magical equipment for his task.
Aquaman, in the meantime, gets a shave and a haircut. As Sweeney drives him back to the lighthouse, she tells him about Annwn. They spot a local villager in the road, apparently having been bit by something monstrous. Aquaman goes to find the monster while Sweeney takes the injured man to the hospital.
Rodunn finds Aquaman first, and repeatedly attacks him with a powerful shock stick. Aquaman manages to destroy Rodunn's armor with the mystical hand, but Rodunn's mount, a magically enlarged lamprey, bites Aquaman and injures him severely.
Aquaman makes it back to the magical waters of the Lady, otherwise known as Annwn, and recovers. He surprises Rodunn who runs into the mouth of his own mount. Aquaman rescues Rodunn, using his hand to first de-magic the lamprey, then heal Rodunn. Rodunn returns to Atlantis to spread the word of Aquaman's new powers. Sweeney finds Aquaman and finally believes that he really is Aquaman.
Cover: This is a good-looking cover highlighting the new hand, but keeping with the whole water theme. Nice shading and color. It also, in composition, reminds of Arthur's youth at a lighthouse. Pretty cool.
As for the rest... where to start? Well, the issue itself starts in Atlantis.
Mera is clearly considered the Empress of the new Atlantis, but it's unclear whether she herself is even aware of it. When we last saw her, she was reluctantly ordering Aquaman's arrest in the pages of JLA. Now we see her, but she never speaks. Instead, there is a scaled creature apparently speaking for her, while she is tended to by various helpers.
The scaled creature is interesting. He bears more than a passing resemblance to Kordax, as seen in the Peter David run. However, he definitely has two hands. We learned from the previous run that if Aquaman forced his will upon the sea-life, he turned into a scaled creature. Could this be a different Atlantean similarly afflicted? He's used his powers in such a way that he's become the Atlanteans' worst nightmare, taking on the curse of Kordax? Or is there another explanation for his apearance?
So the Atlanteans can pervert nature, creating mutations that fit their needs from simple life forms. But Aquaman's new hand can undo the mutations. We have a balance here. It appears that Aquaman will be able to tackle anything the Atlanteans throw at him, as long as he can get his hand on it. But Aquaman can't yet take the battle to Atlantis, because he doesn't have enough hands. At some point, something in the equation will have to change.
So, the Lady is from Annwn, huh? Annwn is Avalon, part of ancient Celt myth, so it all fits in with the King Arthur theme. To stretch it even further, we've got King Arthur battling a dragon in this issue with help from the Lady of the Lake.
Rodunn's reaction to all that has happened is interesting. First he's the newest ultimate villain for Arthur, but then his surprise at Aquaman being healed was almost too much. His admission of simple jealousy also doesn't quite ring true. I think the final view we have of Rodunn is the most honest. He's completely nuts. He's totally bonkers. Fifteen years of slavery in the past have cracked the guy's mind. Adding him in his new state of mind into the mix of insanity that is now Atlantis might have completely unexpected results. It's going to be interesting to see how Tempest and Aquaman deal with Atlantis in the next issue.
And lastly, I really didn't expect Sweeney to learn, or believe, the truth. Nice twist on the traditional secret identity thing.
Ok, question time!
Not as solid as last issue, but interesting and fun.