Review: Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis trade paperback (DC Comics)

August 28, 2019

Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis is a workable crossover as it goes, hearkening back to the good old days (somewhat back in favor now) when titles used to cross-over without the need for additional event bookends. This is an unusual mash-up, though enjoyable in its strangeness, an effort to bring two of DC's prominent movie-property franchises together, though right at the point where the Suicide Squad comic is about to be cancelled and the Aquaman comic is about to get a new creative team.

That makes this a somewhat inopportune time for an event, though the dual presence and hard work of writers Dan Abnett and Rob Williams is extremely evident; rarely does it seem like one book's cast steals the spotlight over the other's regardless of which title we're in. If anything, the Aquaman title takes a minor hit in that I think an important event gets elided for purposes of rushing to the crossover. In all, however, this is a good example of how a crossover can be done simply and straightforwardly.

[Review contains spoilers]

In Sink Atlantis, the Suicide Squad is sent on a mission they ultimately disagree with, to nuke the newly risen Atlantis, and Deadshot and Harley Quinn team up with Aquaman to stop their compatriots — all of which, it turns out, was a plot by Amanda Waller to discredit a foe. In this, we see why the Suicide Squad property is pretty flexible (and often used) for this kind of thing; that the team can be inserted almost anywhere and then reliably turn on itself — being both the villains and heroes of their own story — lets a team-up with most heroic figures essentially write itself.

I appreciated that the Squad sounded like Williams' Squad and that a large breadth of Abnett's Aquaman cast appeared. I largely did not feel like either writer was holding back. Perhaps Deadshot appearing here after being turned into a mutant snake and shot last issue seemed sudden, though the book acknowledges those events, and moreover the emotional trauma (if not the physical) factors in to how Sink Atlantis' plot develops. The actual fact of Atlantis rising feels glossed over — we don't much see it in process or get the person-on-the-street reaction, skipping straight to diplomatic relations with the U.S. and Queen Mera's coronation — but I grant there was a lot to cover. Maybe Abnett can get back to that in the few issues he has left (which will also include a crossover with Scott Snyder's Justice League).

A key moment, coming at the very end, was Mera's walk-and-talk with Amanda Waller, with the two promising to keep in touch. Given again both of these titles going away, I hold out no hope that'll actually happen, but that's the kind of crossover stuff I really like, a la Alfred in cahoots with Wintergreen in Batman vs. Deathstroke — Abnett and Williams finding common ground between their characters and celebrating it. We did not unfortunately get more details about an untold meeting between Aquaman and Killer Croc, as alluded to in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, but the writers did suggest that the King Shark in Aquaman is the same as was in the New 52 Suicide Squad — an assertion that makes no sense, but it's still fun to see DC writers connecting the dots (sense or no) in the post-Rebirth, everything goes era.

Given that the following takes place on the Suicide Squad end, I'll assume it's Williams who decided here to populate the Squad with two classic Superman villains, Lord Satanis and Master Jailer. Jailer appears in what I believe is his costume from Geoff Johns' 2002 Superman story "Ending Battle," and references are made to Jailer Carl Draper's daughter Carla, essentially continuing that same character from almost two decades ago, which is great. For Satanis, however, Williams does not go with the Triangle Titles' Satanus (note different spelling), fierce demonic brother of Blaze and a favorite of mine, but rather the 1980s Satanis, a failed extra-dimensional wizard whom William writes as fairly whiny. That's unfortunate, but nonetheless I appreciated Williams' deep dive into Superman history.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis

Ultimately, somewhat aside from the crossover, Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis has greater implications for the former than for the latter. The Squad doesn't change that much, and we'll see even if Satanis is back next time; the Amanda Waller blackmail plotline arrives and is resolved so fast that I wonder if it'll even be mentioned again. On the other hand, I appreciated very much that, despite all the comings and goings, Dan Abnett still had time to return to some of the recurring themes of his Aquaman run, with Mera coming to accept (perhaps now more than Arthur) the need for them to serve the greater good and that they'll never retire unencumbered to the lighthouse as planned. Hopefully we get a little more of that in Justice League: Drowned Earth before Abnett departs.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis
Author Rating
4 (scale of 1 to 5)

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