] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Craig Hamilton Week, Part 2: Aquaman (Vol.2) #3 - 1986

sgOk, welcome to Part 2 of Craig Hamilton week here at the Shrine! Today we're talking about the third issue of the 1986 mini-series by Neal Pozner and Craig.

Picking up where we left off, Aquaman and his traveling companion Nuada have been kidnapped by Ocean Master, who now seems to have inherited incredible new powers. Orm has convinced a whole society of underwater dwellers that he is a god!

The centerpiece of this issue is a retelling of Aquaman's origin. Like the approach Miller and Mazzucchelli took for Batman in Year One, the creators decided not to rewrite the classic origin, but to expand it and add details to make it even more powerful.

We all knew that Orm grew up in the shadow of his older brother, jealous of his powers, but this version deepens that tremendously. We see that Arthur Sr. married again mostly out of loneliness, and could never bring himself to fully engage his new wife and new son. You actually feel sorry for Orm, who desperately craves his father's love, but never receives it. It adds a whole other level of complexity to what was a simple good brother vs. evil brother dynamic, but without rewriting what was already good to begin with. Hamilton adds lots of touches to this sequence--body language, looks on faces--that makes it work even more.

Arthur and Nuada end up at a pseudo-temple that Orm has constructed, and he continues to taunt Aquaman so he'll engage him directly. Nuada tries to show Aquaman he's falling into Orm's trap, but of course hot-headed Aquaman is having none of it--he wants to kick some funny-helmeted butt. Pozner even lets Orm talk like a pissed-off younger brother, calling Arthur by such schoolyard taunts like jerkface and sweetcheeks, which of course makes Aquaman even madder. Oh, Arthur...

There's even a two-page letters column, a rarity for a mini-series, with answers written by Pozner himself! In response to one letter, Pozner states "I've never been a great fan of the science-fiction elements in Aquaman, since they made the strip too much like Adam Strange for my taste. Now, I love Adam Strange, but I'd much rather focus on the things that make Aquaman unique." Man, Neal got it.

Be back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!


Louie Joyce said...

Though i loved the Atlantis Chronicles, i really do think this is my favourite of the various Aquaman origins. Especially as it's told in this issue.

Anonymous said...

Robbo, have these issues ever been collected in a trade paperback?

rob! said...

sadly, no. thats something Craig and I talk about in the interview, about starting a petition or something to get it collected, it sure deserves to be!