As Aquaman is heading toward a massive showdown with King Rath, series writer Dan Abnett is running a parallel story in the Mera: Queen of Atlantis miniseries that has a surprising tie-in to the battle for the throne.
Aquaman's brother, Orm, who escaped prison during the Forever Evil storyline, has turned over a new leaf. After falling for a land-dweller named Erin and playing father to her son, it looks like he'll become an ally with Queen Mera to fight against King Rath.
This week's release of DC solicitations for July revealed the end date for the King Rath storyline, which aligns with the conclusion of the Mera book. Newsarama talked to Abnett about developments in Mera, whether Orm can really stay reliable or not, and what's coming up next.
Newsarama: Dan, we talked in our last interview about how Aquaman was making new allies. But Queen Mera is making allies of her own on the surface in Mera: Queen of Atlantis, but one of them is surprising. As King Rath grows more and more evil, Orm appears to be growing good. Did you do that on purpose?
Dan Abnett: Of course! I wanted Mera’s story to be a fundamental part of the Atlantean crisis, but also separate enough to stand on its own.
It’s about showcasing Mera. Placing her with Arthur’s main foe seems like a good way to do that.
To me, Orm isn’t an outright villain, more a man who is a victim of his own flaws and arrogance. Which is a bit like Rath, so running them side by side and taking them either to the light or the dark seemed an interesting contrast to explore.
Nrama: It's not the first time Orm has dabbled in heroics. What's different this time?
Abnett: It’s about duty... Orm’s almost obsessive sense of a duty to Atlantis. His outlook is not a modern world outlook: it’s very much a medieval mindset about how singular and special a king is, and what the role and responsibilities of a king have to be.
Nrama: You do realize we're going to be rooting for Orm to stay good, for the sake of his family. You're going to ruin it, aren't you?
Abnett: Hey, I’m rooting for him too!
Nrama: How and when will Orm's story and the efforts of Queen Mera begin to affect the main Aquaman book?
Abnett: They run parallel. Mera’s quite epic story ends and carries over into the climactic phase of the Aquaman arc.
Nrama: We talked before the Mera mini-series began and you were pretty excited about getting your hands on her as a lead character inner own book. How has it been working on Mera, and working with Lan Medina on this book?
Abnett: Lan’s been doing a great job, and I’m delighted to be writing Mera as the lead character. I always considered her to be the most underused, under-appreciated character in the DCU, far more than just a supporting character.
I’ve worked hard to give her opportunities, to get her recognition forth Justice League. It’s great that after so many years, she gets her own series.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about what's coming up in Mera: Queen of Atlantis as it heads toward the end of the King Rath story arc in Aquaman?
Abnett: I hope you’re loving it. The ending is epic. And then things go crazy!