Wednesday, January 14, 2009

There is a (Seaweed) Monster at the gates!

"Still, they're better than GAARD..."

Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep! takes a look at some of Aquaman's classic villains and decides to stop making fun of Superman's rogues gallery.

I don't know though. I'd love to see someone take these guys and do something with them like Gail Simone did for Catman. I see about 50x the potential in Fisherman that I do in Toyman.

Why sword-and-sorcery Aquaman didn't work

My working theory that Aquaman is a better undersea fantasy character than superhero has at least one major hole in it: Kurt Busiek's Sword of Atlantis re-launch tried to do just that and failed to attract an audience. (Heck, I got tired of it myself after a while and quit reading.)

FictionMachine takes a look at the first collection of those issues and tries to figure out what went wrong. By the end of the essay, he decides that the whole fantasy angle was a bad idea to begin with, but I don't think that's it. I think he nails the problem right here:

In Sword of Atlantis the original Aquaman - Arthur Curry/Orin - has vanished, and the series is based instead around the coincidentally named Arthur Curry - who looks identical, wears the same costume as the classic Aquaman, but spends the entire book protesting that despite looking, sounding, acting, speaking as and having identical powers to Aquaman, he is in fact not Aquaman.
Busiek's story was essentially a quest story, with New Aquaman trying to figure out what happened to Old Aquaman. The problem is that we figure out where Old Aquaman is fairly quickly and the only remaining mystery is how he got there. Despite some very cool characters and beautiful art by Butch Guice, the direction of the plot wasn't strong enough to keep me reading during a time that I was actively trying to cut back on my comics spending.

Or maybe FictionMachine does have a point. He points out that Sword of Atlantis is specifically high fantasy. It's underwater swords-and-sorcery. And perhaps that approach is taking the fantasy angle too far. When I talk about Aquaman's being an "underwater fantasy" character, I just mean that his adventures should primarily be underwater and take full advantage of our lack of knoweldge about what the undersea world is like. Anything can happen down there and that's wonderful. It doesn't really need to be Conan underwater. I love Busiek for trying that out, but I'm considering it a lesson learned.

The future of Aquaman?

The Aquaman Shrine has scans of the Aquaman bits from Final Crisis: Secret Files. There's not much there except for a possible costume tweak and a desire to "make him look a little more badass," but it's all we've got for now.

Namor and ROM vs. the Seaweed Monster

Siskoid beautifully summarizes this glorious story (and also points out how dolphins are the SUVs of Atlantis).

So much fantastic art there. Atlanteans riding whale sharks and manta-drawn chariots. Wow.

Fish and ships

Though Namor's people prefer real animals in the ROM story, they've also driven fish-shaped ships from time to time. Comic Book Science notices that the US military may be taking a hint from Atlantean design.

Namora and the Agents of Atlas

By Rich Ellis.

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