As Aquaman kicks off this week, the hero's world is turned upside down as an ancient force has turned the Atlanteans — and Mera — against him.
Launching a new storyline by writer Cullen Bunn — who teased that readers will see Garth and Charybdis in Aquaman soon — the series returns this week with #41 after the two-month Convergence break. As shown in the sneak Peek for the series, Aquaman is not only an outcast from Atlantis when the story picks up, but is being hunted by Mera and the Atlanteans.
The Aquaman series is one of four DC titles Bunn is currently writing, including Lobo, Green Lantern: Lost Army and Sinestro, and that's not even counting the work he's doing for Vertigo and Marvel. One of the more prolific comic book writers right now, Bunn became well known for his work with Oni Press, where he's still releasing titles.
Newsarama talked to Bunn to find out more about what's coming up in Aquaman, what series artist Trevor McCarthy is bringing to the series, and what's coming up next for the character.
Newsarama: Cullen, Aquaman has some new duds and some new "newfound gifts." For new readers, how would you describe his powers right now? What cool things is he able to do as we pick up his story in #41?
Cullen Bunn: Aquaman displays a few new powers as of #41, such as the power to call down lightning and create and control ice. Arthur also seems to be able to teleport from one body of water to another. These abilities are tied to some “ancient power” we’ll reveal later on.
Bunn: Last we saw Aquaman, he was the king of Atlantis, but that's drastically changed during the Convergence break. What's the situation as we pick up #41?
Bunn: Arthur is in exile from Atlantis and on the run. He is being hunted by the people who were once his subjects. At the same time, though, he is dealing with a strange, seemingly supernatural invasion by another world.
Bunn: We've seen that there are flashbacks as you start the story with this week's #41. Is that to reveal the mystery, why everyone in Atlantis has turned on him? Will the mystery unfold as the story continues?
Bunn: Yes, it will be a mystery, but readers will know what’s going on pretty quickly. One of the things I’m excited about with this series is that I get to write a story that takes place before Aquaman’s exile and after. You’ll be seeing a more “classic” Aquaman in the flashback sequences. The flashbacks and the current story should work together pretty well to illuminate the mystery of Arthur’s exile.
Bunn: What interested you as a writer about exploring this angle of Aquaman's life, making the initial threat for this storyline the people he's sworn to protect?
Bunn: It’s the history and intrigue of Atlantis that really interested me. I also really wanted to tell a story where Aquaman had to make some tough choices between being a king and being a hero. Those elements work together to bring Aquaman to this lowly place.
There is a very ancient threat to Atlantis (and the world) surfacing, and it is driving a wedge between Arthur and his people. It is also causing factions and conspiracies to form in Atlantis.
Bunn: For the last few years, Aquaman has been in a relationship with Mera, who's often stolen the show in Aquaman stories. How important is Mera to this story? And how formidable is she as a foe for Aquaman - physically, mentally and emotionally?
Bunn: Mera is vital to the series… and will become even more so as the book continues. There will be a lot of questions as to why she is out to get Aquaman. She’s the greatest single ally Arthur has ever had, and now she will become his greatest foe. She presents challenges on a physical, mental, and emotional level, and it’s fun for me to work with all three. Look to issues #44 and #45 for some major revelations when it comes to Arthur and Mera.
Bunn: What other characters will we meet during this storyline? Any new characters or revamped/existing characters? Or villains?
Bunn: Many fan-favorite members of the supporting cast will appear in the series—Murr, Swatt, Tula, and Vulko, for example—but there will be some “new” friends and enemies showing up as well. Some of these characters haven’t been seen in a while.
I don’t want to say Garth and Charybdis… but I’m saying it.
Bunn: That will be welcome news to many fans. What's it been like working with Trevor McCarthy on the series? What does his art bring to the story?
Bunn: Trevor is simply amazing! He came into the series wanting to add to the history and mythology of Aquaman, and that is exactly what he is doing. He’s helping to create an entirely new (or is it old) world!
Bunn: What's your overall hope for the character of Aquaman as you begin your run with Trevor?
Bunn: I hope Aquaman survives, but you wouldn’t know that from the way Trevor and I are treating him. He’s facing some tough challenges. I also hope we can expand the epic mythology around the character.
Bunn: Anything else you want to tell fans about Aquaman?
Bunn: Going into the first few issues of my run on the book, you’re going to be a little taken aback and confused (and maybe a little angry) but give it three issues to see if you like where the story is going. The reveal at the end of #43 is gonna be a whammie!