Mera: Tidebreaker: A fresh look at an oft-sidelined DC heroine

Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige, Stephen ByrneMera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige & Stephen Byrne

Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige, Stephen ByrneThis is one in a series of graphic novels starring DC heroines in their teenage years, not compliant with any comic-book continuity, but which are aimed at slightly younger readers who might be interested in some of the female characters to have appeared in the recent influx of superhero movies (other titles in the series include Catwoman, Raven and Harley Quinn).

Having enjoyed Aquaman starring Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, I picked Mera: Tidebreaker up on a whim to learn more about the character of Mera, since in the film she’s mostly a supporting character. Here Mera is the teenage princess of the underwater city of Xebel, betrothed to a boy she doesn’t fully love, and fighting against Atlantean rule.

When she discovers that her betrothed will inherit the Xebellian throne if he kills the current heir to Atlantis, Mera decides to take matters into her own hands and track down Arthur Curry herself, eliminating him before anyone else has a chance to.

Mera: Tidebreaker is an entertaining enough read, though I’m well outside the intended audience who will better appreciate the teenage-romance angle. There are also more than a few stretches of credibility, such as how Mera defaces an Atlantian embassy in front of a crowd without anyone noticing, how Arthur casually shrugs off Mera’s assassination attempt (“She tried to kill me? No big deal!”), and the fact that Mera has no real reaction to the true circumstances of her mother’s death (which involved another meaningful character’s family member). There’s no room here for any realistic emotional resonance.

But the artwork is crisp and clear, the aquatic colouring is fitting, and Mera is a pleasantly proactive heroine; a young woman on a search for meaning and purpose. It’s good for young readers, especially girls who have watched the DC films and want to learn more about the female characters who are usually playing second-fiddle to the male heroes.

Published in 2019. Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown…. When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry–the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution? An astonishing graphic novel that explores duty, love, heroism and freedom, all through the eyes of readers’ favorite undersea royalty. From New York Times best-selling author Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and artist Stephen Byrne comes a Mera and Aquaman origin story that explores Mera’s first steps on land, and her first steps as a hero or villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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2 comments

  1. Arthur’s just so understanding!

    • Rebecca Fisher /

      I mean, whose love interest HASN’T tried to kill them once or twice in a YA book?

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