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Friday, May 14, 2010

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #49 - April 2007

Sword of Atlantis Friday "Dreams of the Fisherman" by Kurt Buisek, Mike Manley, and Ricardo Villagran.

This final issue of Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis written by Kurt Busiek opens with some disturbing, dream-like imagery:
As Arthur is being pulled into the Shadowed Gates by the mysterious creature, he hears some messages in his head. He sees where they are coming from: the villain we know as The Fisherman, about to deliver a knockout blow.

We then are back inside the head of The Fisherman, seeing slices of his existence, which seem to come from more than one person.

Arthur wakes up, trapped in the same dank cavern as the Dweller, King Shark, and members of the Sharaia. The Fisherman returns, demanding to know if Arthur has what he's looking for.

Arthur, not knowing what The Fisherman is talking about, is dismissive: "Oh, great. More leftovers from the first guy." The Fisherman for his part isn't kidding around, belting Arthur when he won't give The Fisherman the answer he wants.

We then go back inside The Fisherman's head, and we see that his helmet is some sort of sentient being, hopping from person to person and taking control. We see flashbacks to when The Fisherman was under the thrall of Kobra, and took on the original Aquaman:


As The Fisherman wanders off, doing some grisly work, Arthur breaks free of his chains, and helps free his fellow prisoners:

Arthur finds The Fisherman, and they engage in a swordfight--at first. The creature that's been grabbing all the Sharaia springs forth from The Fisherman's back, and tries to grab Arthur.

He cuts himself free, and The Fisherman senses that its Arthur who possesses what the voices in his head tell him they need. But the man whose body the helmet has taken over resurfaces for a moment, recalling his young daughter. The mental confusion is tremendous, and the helmet forces its host to make one more strike against Arthur
...to be continued?

A creepily-unresolved ending to this story, with The Fisherman's helmet creature thingy still out there, looking for another host...

I enjoyed Busiek's updated take on a generally silly character, even if it is a little on the grisly side (although thankfully you don't see all that much gore). The idea of the silly helmet being this malevolent force is cool, and gives the character a little more dramatic heft.

I also liked Manley and Villagran's visual reference to Jim Aparo's cover to Aquaman (Vol.1) #58, featuring The Fisherman. As a reader, if you don't know that original story, it still works as a way of showing these two have battled before. If you do, its a nice nod to a memorable chapter in the original Aquaman's history.

As we all know, this was Kurt Busiek's last issue on the book. As I've said for the last several Fridays, this series didn't really click with me until a ways in. And even though I never fully accepted the idea of a new Aquaman, reading these issues over again makes me realize there was a lot more potential here than I first thought.

I'm happy to announce that we'll get to hear from the man himself on Monday, as the Shrine presents a brand-new interview with the first writer of Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Kurt Busiek!


David J. Cutler said...

A failing of this series for me was the artists, awesome as they were, were across the board terrible at communicating the idea that this was a younger Aquaman, in his late teens or early 20s. More often than not, he looked older than Arthur had ever been drawn, just without the Charles Manson beard.

Wings1295 said...

Funny... I missed Aquaman and loved his return, but I don't miss Arthur Joseph OR eagerly await his return. I would like to see the two interact, maybe. But if he never appears again, I am okay with that.

Can't wait for the interview with Busiek! Kudos Rob!

Tegan said...

I like Joseph, especially as he was originally envisioned by Kurt. As an agent of Aquaman's Atlantis, able to go out and be Aquaman's errand boy and hero-on-the-spot while Aquaman got down to actually dealing with being King.

That said, I don't miss him much. I do hope he'll show up again sometime, just because I like the conservation of characters thing.

Russell said...

I think I'm having the opposite reaction to this series from you, Rob. I never read it originally and I don't understand too much of the appeal reading your synopses now, either. It seems this series was too dark and too complex and just too confusing. Sounds like I don't need to track it down, after all. Sorry, Kurt!

Anonymous said...


Colin Smith said...

I'd just like to thank you for going through these Sword Of Atlantis issues as you have. I missed most of them, had no sympathy with the decision to push Aquaman out of the role of Aquaman, as it were. But having read what you've written, I'd certainly invest in a reasonably priced collection of these books. Thanks for the good work.