Warning: SPOILERS for Aquaman #49
Aquaman and Mera are one of the greatest superhero love stories, but they're about to find out if that will also make them super-parents--now that Mera has revealed she's pregnant in DC's comic universe.
The world may have only just been introduced to the modern Aquaman on film, with Arthur and Mera taking the first steps into romance. But with years of love, strife, breakups, and reunions in the pages of DC Comics, many fans will say that it makes perfect sense for Aquaman and Mera to have a baby, cementing their reign as King and Queen of Atlantis. And they would be right, too... if the last year hadn't put Mera on the throne, and Aquaman in a stranger's life. The birth of an Aqua-Baby sure isn't going to be as easy as fans want it to be.
It's somewhat ironic that as movie audiences have been brought up to speed on the current, standard versions of Aquaman and Mera early on in their relationship, the past few years have flipped the couple on their head. But mostly for the best: after constant battles for the throne, the Atlantean authorities democratically elected Mera as Queen of Atlantis, and after beating Ocean Master's challenge, proved she was the best woman--the best person for the job.
Once Aquaman eliminated the enemies and sinister forces conspiring against his beloved Mera, to whom he had recently proposed marriage, the time for a loving, peaceful reunion seemed to be within reach. But these are superheroes, remember: which means nothing is ever easy.
Arthur & Mera, Happy at Last?
Sadly, no sooner had Aquaman defeated an uprising to secure Mera's throne, than DC launched a surprising new Aquaman story from Kelly Sue DeConnick. While Mera had last been seen beginning her defense of Atlantis against the Suicide Squad, Arthur was suddenly washed up on a strange island filled with old gods of the sea. Arthur had no memory of who he was, how he came to be there, or what he had left behind. DeConnick's story has been filled with nautical fantasy and maritime mysticism, offering Arthur a chance to discover himself, and the hero he is at his core, removed from his royal obligations (and even get his own Jason Momoa Aquaman tattoos, too).
But in the most recent Aquaman #49, Arthur's memories have finally been returned. Specifically, the memories immediately prior to washing up in a shore far from his home. Not memories of a grand battle, a fight to the death, or a surprise attack on his queen and love... but his last conversation with Mera.
Mera Reveals Her Pregnancy
In a particularly heartbreaking turn, DeConnick and artist Viktor Bogdanovic depict Arthur and Mera as the happiest they've been in months, if not years. Since the DC Rebirth began by "setting things right," and having Arthur propose to Mera, it seems like the two have fought deadly foes more often than they've exchanged kisses, or loving words. In the memory unlocked in Aquaman #49, however, Arthur and Mera have a glimpse of domesticity, relaxing together in her royal chambers. Their recent fights? Finished. The throne and crown of Atlantis? Totally secured. And Arthur more excited than anyone to marrying Mera, no matter what his critics might say.
Unfortunately, it's Mera who can't help but feel like Arthur is being too playful, or failing to appreciate the seriousness of their current relationship. It isn't about the authorities demanding that she marry (a stipulation Arthur notes they never placed on HIM). It isn't about their love, which is as strong as ever. It's not even about their separate lives and priorities as a Justice Leaguer and a Queen. Ruling Atlantis is dangerous enough, but the idea of Arthur facing his death on a weekly basis means something different... now that they have a baby on the way.
As one might expect, the news comes as a shock to Aquaman. The scene speaks to DeConnick's talents in particular, as Mera is as resolved and unfazed in her oncoming motherhood as she would be in the face of any threat. And for his part, Arthur reassures her that the child is wanted, and loved already. Unfortunately... the issues Arthur has struggled with in regards to his own mother rear their ugly head inside his own. While he stops short of panicking or outright fleeing as his mind races with insecurity, inferiority, and true fear, Aquaman fails for the first time in longer than most readers will be able to recall.
When it was announced that DeConnick, best known for her modern reinvention of Captain Marvel (the basis of Marvel's movie) would be taking over Aquaman, it was credited to her pitch delivered to DC editorial, hinging on Arthur's unresolved abandonment issues over his mother. That pitch makes more sense than ever, if Mera's pregnancy was the intended catalyst. But what comes next is anyone's guess. The issue concludes with Arthur's memories restored, and his decision to return home immediately... but what about Mera?
The couple's story has been launched off a massive ramp leading into the landmark Aquaman #50 coming in July. Will they reconcile and marry? Will Arthur have forced Mera's hand? We'll just have to wait and see. Until then, be sure to read the official synopsis for Aquaman #50 below:
As Aquaman settles the Old Gods of Unspoken Water into their new lives in Amnesty Bay, Jackson Hyde, a.k.a. Aqua-lad, seeks out Aquaman to be his new mentor! Back in Atlantis, Mera makes a move that shocks the Widowhood. Meanwhile, Black Manta, recently kicked out of the Legion of Doom, prepares to make his next move against his greatest nemesis”¦but Lex Luthor is about to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Don’t miss our landmark 50th issue and the start of a brand-new story!
Aquaman #49 is available now at your local comic book shop, or direct from DC Comics. Aquaman #50 arrives to start a new chapter of Arthur's story on July 17th, 2019.