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Friday, April 16, 2010

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #41 - June 2006

Sword of Atlantis Friday "Over His Head" by Kurt Buisek and Butch Guice.

This issue of Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis hits the ground running, opening with a fight between Arthur Joseph and an Atlantean warrior named Atsiul:
Arthur, determined to find his father amid the wreckage, overtaxes himself and collapses--he has gone too long without taking in water. King Shark grumbles as he drags the young man back into the sea.

They meet up with the Dweller, and King Shark prepares to leave. Having returned the favor Arthur paid him by saving his life, King Shark feels no compunction to stay. The Dweller believes King Shark will play a large role in what is to come, but cannot persuade King Shark from leaving.

Later, Arthur wakes up, wanting to resume his search. Since Arthur cannot stay on land long, they resolve to contact Arthur's Great Uncle, who ran a lighthouse in Maine (hmmm!), and whose family is there still.

Arthur and the Dweller head for Maine, but along the way meet an Atlantean citizen who says that his queen wants to meet Arthur, to thank him for his help (seen last issue). The Dweller suggests they go, despite the delay, and they see the small, battered remnants of a once-great civilization.

They are introduced to Atlantis' queen, Mera:

Mera tells Arthur about how Atlantis was destroyed, and the struggle the survivors have undergone to create a new home for themselves.

Unfortunately, the new Atlantis is under constant attack from a group of barbarians, looking to plunder the new city for whatever it can find. Mera asks Arthur to help them fight off the barbarians, but one of Mera's top warriors, Atsiul, objects.

He accuses Arthur of being in league with King Shark, and Arthur gets so enraged he challenges Atsiul to a fight. Atsiul accepts, and its scheduled for dawn the next morning!

Morning comes, and the fight begins. At first, Arthur seems no match for Atsiul, and Atsiul doesn't even take his opponent seriously. But, then:
...to be continued!

Since so much of this issue is devoted the fight set-piece, this second installment really gives Butch Guice a chance to shine: the battle bewteen Arthur and Atsiul is rough and well choreographed, bringing a real sense of violence and drama to the proceedings.

There's a great scene where the Dweller finds himself unable to enter Mera's chambers and be in her presence, a heartbreaking moment for all old-school Aquaman fans. Can't this poor guy ever catch a break?


TheGLCorps said...

At the time I loved the art in this. Its not as great now, but I still enjoy it.

Airship Over Water said...

After being away from comics for so long, THIS series got me back into comics. Knowing that I was an Aquaman fan growing up (and wasn't a fan of the beard and hook-hand), my friends bought me the first trade of this series for Christmas. I absolutely loved it and was shocked to find out how ill-received it was.

I really like Joseph as a character. If Tempest can't come back, I at least hope that Joseph will return to have some role. The idea of he and King Shark teaming up and roaming the seas is just too cool.

I'm not going to lie -- I HATED the Tad Williams stuff when he came on board. At first. It has grown on me, but I feel that Kurt's first 10 issues were the best and they should have stuck with that creative team.

JRainey said...

I don't like this series. The art is dark and gloomy. They have AC with the squid face. And I can't picture having sword fights underwater. I did like King Shark. I thought he was cool.

Josh Hill said...

another gorgeous comic. again, we would have preferred the real Aquaman to be the star of this series, but you gotta respect what was going on here. this was one of the few Kurt Busiek comics I've ever actually liked.

Russell said...

I gotta agree with JRainey here. The art is dark and the fighting underwater seems way too "grounded." I'm pretty sure I glanced through this issue because it had Mera on the cover, but I still hadn't made the decision to pick this title up yet. It wasn't "AQUAMAN" to me.