In Amnesty Bay, Massachusetts, a crowd has gathered outside the local hospital. The press aren’t sure what exactly happened, but Aquaman arrived here in serious condition after a fight with a monstrous creature. Recently, the hero has been questioned by the public at large over his ongoing conflict with the American government. Tensions are high in the nation abroad, but here, the mood is different. The people here just saw it for themselves – Aquaman was brave and did his best to protect them.
The attention is then drawn at a new arrival – Mera, the Aquawoman, has arrived. Inside the hospital, she greets Commander Murk, who has been standing guard over their injured ruler. Mera goes inside and greets Arthur. She’s concerned to see him so badly hurt, and the two affirm their love for one another. Things are difficult – they want to marry, but there are political concerns and factions in the oceans that would say otherwise. Arthur insists their love is all that matters and that they will get through this together.
For now, there are other concerns, anyways. The press are outside and tensions with the surface world are precarious. Worse still, there is a secret group out there called NEMO trying to provoke a war between Atlantis and America. Mera discovered their existence through a woman named Lieutenant Jo Stubbs, who has since disappeared. The couple is then greeted by some of the Justice League.
Due to the tense situation, Arthur assumes they are here to arrest him, but they were just worried after he was hospitalized and are here to make sure the man is okay. Superman makes it clear that Arthur is a member of the Justice League and, more than that, their friend. They are certain things will be fine. As the League leaves, Superman gives a statement to the press saying that this incident proves Aquaman is a man of the people and that he is certain this political crisis will come to a peaceful end within a few days.
Black Manta and Black Jack watch this, disappointed. This latest attack was their efforts to make things work, yet Aquaman has turned things around in his favour. Black Jack asks if this means they are to go public, but Black Manta makes it clear that secrecy is NEMO’s greatest weapon. He has a better idea. If a friend turns on you, you despise them. But if you give them a second chance and they betray you again? There’s no turning back. That’s what they will do. Atlantis is about to declare war on the United States. NEMO will conduct a false flag operation on a level the world has never seen. A global disaster to cripple both Atlantis and America. The world will fall to its knees. And NEMO will take it all.
Later, in Atlantis, Jo Stubbs has secretly made her way to the underwater city. The woman explains how NEMO tried to recruit her, and that this group is embedded in governments around the world. This secret group has become powerful, and they are planning on starting a war between the surface and Atlantis. Their goal is to use Atlantis as a means to seize power, taking advantage of already hostile reactions to a world many do not understand.
Some friend in the FBI then contact Atlantis, saying they found evidence of NEMO operatives buying up old Atlantean assests. This and some other resources may actually be enough to prove the existence of NEMO and that Atlantis is innocent in all of this. Tomorrow, things should be okay. NEMO can’t hide forever…
Meanwhile, the false flag operation begins. Several locations on the East Coast are attacked by Atlantis forces. Casualties are unknown at the time, but military forces are mobilizing. A voice cries out from the attacking forces. In the name of Atlantis, America shall be swept away. The Deluge begins.
Well, here we have another impressive Rebirth issue. This prologue to The Deluge works very nicely to catch you up on all things Aquaman and moves forward a new story with lots of promise. The writing is solid – as is this idea. Hostilities and political tension with the surface world are always a major part of Aquaman’s ongoing narrative, but here, we have a new fresh take on the whole thing – namely, at the moment, neither side wants war, but a neutral party wants to bait them into conflict and is using a false flag operation to do so.
Now that’s interesting, and, as far as I know, a new idea for the Aquaman story. So a war with Atlantis, which has been done a lot, doesn’t feel stale here. I’m really digging this story, and the art helps sell things as well. It’s colourful and full of great detail. I really like Aquaman’s crew of Atlanteans and would love to see more of them in action.
So, overall, this is an easy recommendation to make. It does enough right that it very much is a similar story to titles like Throne of Atlantis, yet manages to distinguish itself just enough not to feel tired or overdrawn. I enjoyed this comic and hope you will or already did, too. This was a Patreon requested review and I’m glad I got it. Consider supporting Comic Island for as little as five dollars a month and you can have a say in the comics we review.