Spoiler alert: This is my favorite issue of the series so far.
Aquaman wakes up, after being asleep for seven months, under the care of Vulko. He heads to the Dead King's throne and learns the history of Atlantis, why it sank, and where his people came from. This issue blows the lid off of ALL the questions you've had since the beginning of the series. Yes, ALL of them.
Story wise, the issue is brilliant. Writer Geoff Johns has been setting up all these small little clues for the readers since issue #1, and here, everything is explained. The reader will have numerous moments where their jaw will hit the floor when all this is revealed. We learn the story of the Dead King, who was originally named Atlan, and the battle between his brother, Orin. We learn why Atlantis sank. We learn who is Aquaman's ancestors. Finally, we learn one BIG thing about something we've seen numerous times in this book. It's a jaw dropping moment. Hope you like surprises because you're in for a whole heaping helping of them. No, I will not spoil any of them.
Aquaman has a beard. Thank you, Geoff Johns for giving the most beard-worthy character in the DCU one fantastic beard. Also, thank you to artist Paul Pelletier for drawing that awesome beard.
Paul Pelletier, with Sean Parsons on ink and Rod Reis on colors, does a great job on this issue. There's a lot of usage of splash pages and larger panels with give this story a much more epic feeling. There's a two page spread, towards the end of the issue that is phenomenal, which depicts the sinking and shattering of Atlantis and its seven kingdoms. The panel layout it really cool as the panels are all scattered and look like the main image was shattered.
During the scenes where Aquaman envisions Atlan's past, the background between the panels change color, which was a very cool effect for the issue. Instead of white, the reader is treated to a tan color border. Each piece of negative space varies just a little bit with minor marks here and there to give the pages a weathered look.
There's a bit of timeline confusion here. This issue takes place 6 months after the events of AQUAMAN #23, and Aquaman appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE #23. Where does this actual story take place in the main DC continuity? It's a bit of a head-scratcher.
One problem, why did Atlan create the Atlantian talismans? He doesn't use them when returning to fight Orin. I feel like that's glossed over a tad.
AQUAMAN #24 is one fantastic return after a month of villains books. This issue fires on all cylinders and has numerous moments that will floor the reader. The creative team nails it and makes this one of the best overall issues in the series. It may not answer all your questions about what happened in the last arc, but it does answer every question about what's been going on since issue one with this book. The only real problem is that it's hard to figure out where this book fits into the current timeline in the DCU, since forever evil is currently happening. Overall, I loved this issue and highly recommend it.