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Friday, April 23, 2010

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #43 - Aug. 2006

Sword of Atlantis Friday "Conversations with Vulko" by Kurt Buisek and Butch Guice.

This issue opens up with a familiar, yet surprising in this context, image:
In talks with the sort-of dead Vulko, he reveals a shocking fact--that Arthur Joseph is related to the original Aquaman. His father's uncle was Tom Curry, the lighthouse keeper who raised the original Arthur!

Arthur Joseph is furious he was never told, but Vulko surmises maybe his father didn't know. Vulko also explains how he came to this...unusual form. After being killed when The Spectre rampaged through Atlantis, his spirit headed towards a great light.

But instead of finding himself someplace else, he found himself inside the computers of the floating think tank known as Windward Home. Despite this unusual form, Vulko likes it: "I read, I think, I make brief astral journeys. It's all been quite fascinating, really."

Vulko offers to consult ancient texts to try and learn about the prophecies Arthur Joseph was told by the Dweller. In the meantime, he enjoys some time off:
Arthur talks to a young woman named Jessie, who is studying at Windward Home. Their flirting is interrupted when some garbled communication causes King Shark to start a fight, but Jimmy Lockhart figures a way around the problem.

They consult a young girl who is a low-level telepath, and she is able to translate King Shark's thoughts into English, so he is able to communicate with everyone else. He then throws himself back into the water, telling Arthur he'd prefer to wait there.

Arthur visits Vulko again, wondering if he is the hero of the Dweller's prophecies, then what, exactly, is he supposed to do? Vulko supposes it might involve rebuilding Atlantis, which seems like such a huge task Arthur is overwhelmed.

Then bad news arrives: Windward Home has received confirmation that Arthur's father is indeed dead. Arthur, stunned, dives back into the sea, wanting to be away from everyone:
Arthur and King Shark board the Sea Devils' underwater craft, headed at top speed for Atlantis!

...to be continued!

I was never a big fan of Vulko--he seemed sort of a terribly incompetent comic relief character, and I never really bought that Aquaman would ever feel comfortable handing all over Atlantis over to him, time and time again.

But using him in this form makes a lot of sense--he can still be there to offer knowledge and advice to Aquaman (whichever one), but because of his form he can't get as directly involved in any given plot.

In addition, I liked this issue's intro, with Arthur Joseph standing in for all the comic book readers out there who thought Aquaman was always a lame character. Its a great way of putting dubious readers in the character's shoes, and hopefully earning a greater appreciation for Aquaman, just as Arthur Joseph is doing.


Wings1295 said...

Your posts on Arthur Joseph make me more curious to see Aquaman and him meeting up and ... I don't know, making some kind of peace with the similarities of their lives, I guess.

And I miss Windward Home now!

Aaron said...

Did Butch draw the Filmation part?

Airship Over Water said...

I'm still crossing my fingers that Joseph might show up sometime in the future.

It seems that most of Aquaman's direction is in Geoff Johns control. While that is a huge blessing, he's not much of a fan of the Sword of Atlantis series (from what I can tell). He seems like the kind of writer who would rather try and fix the problems a character has than completely replace them. While I agree, Joseph is still a tragic character.

I have to admit that I like Busiek's Joseph than Tad Williams interpretation.

rob! said...

Joe--I'd like to see Arthur Joseph return at some point, too.

Ghost--There's no other artist credited, so I think its a safe bet Butch drew those, too, most likely copying from some Filmation stills, since its so dead-on.

AOW--I liked both writers interpretations, but there is a jarring difference in look and tone as the book went from Busiek/Guice to Williams/McManus.

Erik the Sleeper said...

I've often thought of Vulko as a 'Yoda' kind of character, so I like this use of him.