Aquaman 4: Death of a King

aquaman volume 4 death of a king cover trade paperback
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Ending to Johns strong run

Broken up by too many big DC events

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Aquaman (Volume 5)

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist:  Paul Pelletier

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2014


Aquaman (5) #18

Reprints Aquaman (5) #17-19, 21-25 (April 2013-January 2014).  Aquaman is trying to clean up after Orm’s attack on the surface world which includes going after Scavenger who is using Atlantean war technology to battle.  Ocean Master meanwhile faces charges from his attack but might have an escape plan in the works.  What Aquaman doesn’t know is that a being called the Dead King and returned and everything Aquaman thought he knew about his past is going to change.

Written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Paul Pelletier, Aquaman 4:  Death of a King follows Aquaman 3:  Throne of Atlantis.  The issues are the last issues of Geoff Johns who helped relaunch the character for the New 52.  Not included in the collection is the stand-alone Aquaman (5) #20 (July 2013) featuring the Others or Villain Month issues Aquaman (5) #23.1 (Black Manta) or Aquaman (5) #23.2 (Ocean Master).

Part of the excitement of the New 52 was Geoff Johns vow to make readers care about Aquaman after pulling off a similar trick with the Flash.  For me, Johns was ahead of the curve before I already did like Aquaman and his goofy orange and green costume.  Aquaman brought a good comic book story to a character that has struggled for years.


Aquaman (5) #24

For the most part, Johns has done some interesting things with the character.  This story focuses on Arthur’s origin and his ancestors.  The story does a bit of a wrap-around and helps to explain things like the creatures from the Trench.  The final chapter of the story is a bit odd in tone and pacing.  It has Mera leaving…then immediately coming back in a moment that felt like it was supposed to be a longer storyline.

The overall story is fine, but I will say as a reader reading issue-to-issue, Aquaman demonstrates the frustration of modern comics.  This storyline was interrupted twice by “big event” issues that forced to buy unrelated issues.  Aquaman (5) #20 helped provide a spin-off for the continuing series Aquaman and the Others and the Villains Month interlude.  I will say at least the Villain Months break was at a cliffhanger…making the reader wait more.

I am sad to see Geoff Johns leave Aquaman though I do like his replacement Jeff Parker who seemed to have a real connection to old heroes.  Aquaman (more than some of DC’s characters) does feel like an older character, and Parker could be a good replacement.  Aquaman 4:  Death of a King is followed by Aquaman 5:  Sea of Storms.

Related Links:

Aquaman 1:  The Trench

Aquaman 2:  The Others

Aquaman 3:  Throne of Atlantis

Aquaman 5:  Sea of Storms

Aquaman and the Others 1:  Legacy of Gold

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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