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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aquaman (Vol.6) #15 - Dec. 1995

"Chronicles" by Peter David, J. Calafiore, Mark McKenna, and Charles Barnett.

Before I get into the details of this issue--let's take a moment to appreciate the fantastic cover by Walt Simonson. Aquaman and Simonson seem like a perfect pair, but no one's ever put them together on anything more than a one-off cover. That needs to be rectified!

Okay, anyway, last issue ended with Aquaman, still stuck in the purgatory-like dimension by The Others, face-to-face with his father, the god Atlan:
Atlan says he can transport his son out of this dimension--at a price, though: he promises Aquaman will "embark on the greatest adventure of your life."

But, once on the other side, Arthur Jr. begins to age rapidly: having been born in the other dimension, he's been aging at a different rate. Mera cannot let this happen, so she tosses her "son" back into the vortex, preparing to follow him. Aquaman tries to stop her by snagging her with his hook, but the portal closes, sending the hook into a wall, where a bolt of energy flows up it, zapping Aquaman into unconsciousness:
Meanwhile, a crystal chamber somewhere nearby opens, and out from it is some sort of female creature who knows all this is Atlan's doing. Before too long, she is discovered by Aquaman and Dolphin, and considers them intruders and morphs into a monstrous, sharp-tooth creature that calls itself Tiamat.

Tiamat grabs Dolphin and begins to squeeze the life out of her, but Aquaman jumps into the fray:
During this fight, the sea quakes that have been rocking Atlantis continue, and as Aquaman defeats Tiamat from the inside (after she/it swallows him, he pokes his way out via his hook), the domed city begins to rise, until it breaks the surface of the water!

Meanwhile, in a cavern beneath Tritonis, Vulko and Koryak are met by a surprise
To be continued!

As we can see here, Peter David is intertwining the current Aquaman storyline with his Atlantis Chronicles series from a few years earlier. There's a part of me that wishes he had left the two separate--the Atlantis Chronicles reads so differently from superhero comics that I think it reduces a little what made that series so special.

At the same time, it does increase Aquaman's stature as a character, giving him a back story that goes back literally thousands of years, making him seem more than just a costumed superhero, of which there are so many.

Speaking of superheroes, be back here in a few hours to see Aquaman tussle with...the Justice League!


Richard said...

Little known fact about Walt Simonson: in the late Sixties, during his college years, he was part of the crew of an oceanographic survey vessel mapping Hudson Canyon in the Continental Shelf off NYC. He did an autobiographical strip about the experience several decades later. I've always wanted to ask him about this, because during these events it's possible he crossed paths with people I knew, but I've never had the chance.

Anyway, the reason I mention it now is that I've long thought the best artist for an Aquaman book would be someone who was genuinely into ocean science and marine biology; someone who really lavished care and attention on depicting his "finny friends" and conveyed how alien and fascinating the depths really are. I don't know that he'd have been interested...but your observation about that cover and the above factoid make me wonder what might have been.

Wings1295 said...

I think having Kordax appear was just what everyone was waiting for, at the time. He was such a great villainous character in The Chronicles that he would be a great foe for Aquaman.

Wings1295 said...

And hey, why not use some of the great Atlantean background David had already established. Give the whole thing some depth.

Like a sequel, you can always enjoy the original for what it is. Further stuff just expands on it.

Russell said...

I just never liked Califiore's art...

I WOULD love to see Walt Simonson's take on Aquaman, though. His DR.FATE is still the classic look to me.

rob! said...


I never knew that about Simonson; and I agree, I think it can't but help having someone interested in oceanography working on a character like Aquaman.

Joe--I'm conflicted. Part of me like connecting Aquaman more directly to the AC story, part of me likes it because that series is so different from regular superhero comics.

Russell--I would have LOVED to have seen a Simonson run on Aquaman similar to the one he did for Thor--he really gave that character a shot in the arm right when he needed it--adding characters, excitement, and humor to the franchise.