Dan Abnett does not shy away from the inherent controversy in this story. While Black Manta's reasons for seeking vengeance are understandable, he is hardly a sympathetic villain. His purpose here is to show a localized cycle of violence and how terrorism is born of feelings of helplessness and a desire for revenge.
The question posed to Aquaman here is one that has come up repeatedly in our own national and international dialogues - how can we hold to our ideals while still dealing with an enemy who seems to care more about our destruction than their own welfare? The answer, unsurprisingly, is the same one preached by our saner religious leaders and politicians - "Hate cannot drive out Hate. Only Love can do that," as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said and the way in which this principle invoked, while obvious in retrospect, is still astonishing to see play out.
Abnett's script is brought to life by a fantastic art team. Scot Eaton's character designs are crisp and clear and his action sequences well-choreographed. Inker Wayne Faucher provides suitable shading, increasing the amount of shadow in each panel to mirror the rising ominous tone in moments of dramatic silence. And Gabe Eltaeb's color art finishes everything perfectly.