Warning: SPOILERS Through Aquaman #38
The Atlantean Civil War has been raging for the past few months within the pages of the Aquaman comics, and has ended with Atlantis unexpectedly rising up from the ocean floor to become an island nation once again. Though this event had been foretold by a prophecy in the final pages of Dark Nights Metal #6 several months ago, the precise details of just how Atlantis would return to its former position remained a mystery until now.
The Atlantean Civil War started shortly after Aquaman was deposed as King of Atlantis by the Council of Elders in favor of Corum Rath - an Atlantean traditionalist, who had led a militia group called The Deluge intending to start a war with the surface world. It quickly became apparent, however, that Rath was paranoid to an insane degree and growing more erratic as he began utilizing various magical artifacts to cement his control over Atlantis.
Eventually, the same nobles who had given Rath the throne began plotting against him, as Aquaman began to lead a resistance movement from among the working classes of Atlantis. In response, Rath called upon the power of The Abyssal Dark - a seductive, Lovecraftian force it was said was responsible for bringing about Atlantis' destruction in ancient times.
Rath ultimate lost to Aquaman and The Abyssal Dark was defeated, but not before it cryptically warned Aquaman that "your wish is coming true... remember, you asked for this misery." Shortly after that, the foundations of Atlantis began to crack as the sunken city began to rise.
It was then that Aquaman remembered the wish he had made while wearing a suit of the reality-altering 10th Metal, thinking on his fondest dream in an effort to roll back the hopeless power of The Dark Multiverse during the events of Dark Nights Metal. He wished for a city that was, like him, "a place of the land and sea," and with the Abyssal Dark that dragged Atlantis beneath the waves vanquished there was nothing to stop it from rising to become the city of Aquaman's dreams.
There are several complications that a risen Atlantis offers. The most obvious of these is the nature of the Atlantean people themselves. While the Atlanteans of the DC Rebirth reality are amphibious and capable of living on land as easily as underwater, most of them have no experience operating on land for extended periods. Ignoring the obvious "fish out of water" comparisons, the architecture of Atlantis was dependent on people being able to move freely around the buildings in a way that won't be possible in the open air. A larger issue, however, may be the response of the world at large.
The most recent Aquaman series opened with the American government declaring war on Atlantis thanks to the actions of The Deluge and another terrorist group called NEMO convincing them that Atlantis had become hostile. Though Aquaman was eventually able to plea for peace, the American hawks said the only reason they didn't pursue an all-out war was because Atlantis' position underwater made traditional invasion tactics impossible.
With Atlantis now exposed to the open-air, the same hardliners may decide the time is ripe to make sure Atlantis never becomes a threat to American sovereignty again. The only certainty in all of this is that Aquaman's wish has ensured that Mera's reign as Queen of Atlantis will not be any more peaceful than the effort to secure her throne.
Aquaman #38 is now available from DC Comics.