FICTION
Mera: Tidebreaker
illus. by Stephen Byrne. 192p. DC Comics. Apr. 2019. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401283391. POP.
COPY ISBN
Gr 6 Up–This latest DC Universe reboot reintroduces fans to Mera. The daughter of the dethroned Xebel king, she's a princess without a people. Atlantis has ruled the Xebellians for as long as Mera can remember. Though those around her focus mostly on her beauty and marital prospects, Mera's no damsel awaiting a prince—she spends her days training to be a great warrior and ruler like her deceased mother. So when Mera overhears her father say that whoever kills the long-lost Atlantean king will one day be the Xebel ruler, she decides to claim the honor, and the throne, for herself. Her target is Arthur Curry, a mild-mannered teen living with his father in a lighthouse in Amnesty Bay, ME. He doesn't know about the existence of underwater kingdoms, let alone his own birthright. But the two begin to fall for each other, making Mera's mission nearly impossible. What could have been a bland "When Aquaman Met Mera" love story is a powerful tale about the fruitlessness of war. Byrne's dynamic art uses murky blues and greens to evoke the Atlantic Ocean and coastal setting, Mera's red hair standing out. Paige devotes a bit too much of the narrative to the romance, and mermaid enthusiasts may be a little frustrated with how much time is spent on land, but hopefully later volumes will bring Mera back to the sea, where she belongs.
VERDICT An exciting and romantic look at a lesser-known superhero, for DC comics followers and newcomers alike.–Anna Murphy, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn

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