By Juan Calvillo
DC comics newest graphic novel “Mera: Tidebreaker,” deepens the heroines origin by mixing courage and inner strength, making Mera more than just Aquaman’s partner.
The graphic novel comes as the first title for DC Comics’ newest imprint “DC Ink,” a print that is focused on young adult readers.
Despite not being a part of the main comic line, this graphic novel shows great promise for the upcoming line of books from the imprint.
Best selling author Danielle Paige and artist Stephen Byrne have crafted a fun light novel that is beautiful to see. Paige shows how Mera is a fighter, a royal and a thoughtful character.
Her take on Mera is about putting the character through various ordeals and decisions that show how strong the young woman is at the onset.
The change and strength Mera gains by the novels end shows Paige really cares for the character.
Byrne’s art is subdued, But his use of the intense red color for Mera’s hair makes her stand out on every panel she is in. His art style may be an acquired taste, but it fits the world of Atlantis, with shades of blue covering almost every page.
The story for “Mera: Tidebreaker” is about a teenager coming into her own and making the choice between what is asked of her and what she sees as right.
Mera is shown early on being a bit of a rebel with her best friend, Pilan, trying to get her to do the type of things that royalty is accustomed to.
The ocean home of Mera is ruled by the Kingdom of Atlantis, with her home of Xebel being one of the seven undersea kingdoms that make up Atlantis. Xebel is not what it once was and Mera wants things to change.
As the story progresses Mera’s rebellious nature causes problems between her Father, the King of Xebel, and the authority of Atlantis. So much so that her father decides to take action to change the status quo between Atlantis and the rest of the seven kingdoms.
Mera finds herself getting an advance of the mission after over-hearing her father and her unwanted betrothed, Larkan talking about a possible solution to the problems Atlantis has caused through their rule.
Deciding to take her life and her future into her own hands, she makes her way to the surface and right into the path of the heir to the throne of Atlantis, Arthur Curry.
All along the way from the beginning to the end of the novel, Mera makes revelations not only about herself but about the fate of all the Kingdom of Atlantis.
And despite the inclusion of Curry, this story is very much about Mera and what type of person she will eventually become.
The one detail that reminds the reader that they are reading young adult fare is the inclusion of a love story. The story unites Mera with Curry, and even though the characters seem destined to be together, this simple thread could have gone unacknowledged.
The fact that the union is shown multiple times as being part of Mera making choices on her own, saves the romance subplot from being like a soap opera.
Despite this one slight misstep, “Mera: Tidebreaker” is a fun and empowering read. The book could have easily gone the route of summer movie blockbusters, where pomp and circumstance is more important than story.
Luckily, it stays true to its heroines decision of making the courageous decisions, by showing teenage Mera becoming not only a future queen but a hero.