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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Superman/Batman #83 - June 2011


Comics Weekend "Sorcerer Kings Part 3" by Cullen Bunn, Chriscross, and Marc Deering

With Cullen Bunn about to take the reigns on Aquaman, I thought it'd be fun to go back and check out the previous time Mr. Bunn has written the Sea King, albeit an alternate reality version--in the "Sorcerer King" storyline from Superman/Batman #s 81-84!

Aquaman doesn't appear in the first two installments, as they deal with a coven of evil magicians who have changed the past, altering the future for the worse, much worse. A ton of DC characters pop up, including most of Shadowpact, The Creeper, Klarion the Witchboy, even Stanley and His Monster!


In the third part, Batman from the future (who looks sort of like a medieval knight) comes to grab Superman of the present and eventually introduces him to that future's version of the Justice League, which holes up in the giant Darth Vader better known from the Challenge of the Super Friends!

It's here where we meet the Alt Aquaman, who looks like he has seen better days:


This Aquaman is, er, royally pissed at Superman for risking so much "just" to save Lois Lane, which led to an immense tragedy--the death of all of Atlantis, leaving Arthur as its only survivor:

Aquaman does not appear again in the issue, and the story continues into Superman/Batman #84. Aquaman and the rest of the League show up there, with the Sea King ultimately sacrificing himself in a battle with a rogue Firestorm(!). As you might imagine, everything is put back together the way it should be, which (presumably) means these dark, alternate reality never actually happened.

All in all "Sorcerer Kings" is a pretty fun story, and writer Bunn works in a lot of DC arcana and in-jokes to keep everything from getting too heavy. I tend to zone out when stories are magic-heavy, because the rules are always so arbitrary. But the characters involved--including Aquaman--are recognizable, if downtrodden, variations of what we know, and it's cool see them put through their paces. This Aquaman has lost so much he has little time to do anything but be somber, but you can't blame the guy. Artist Chriscross does some equally fine work, making the Sea King look pretty haunted and ghost-like.

Of course, this story doesn't really tell us much about how Bunn will handle Aquaman proper, but this storyline did have a nice mix of magical fooferaw, action, humor, and sharp characterization. Looking forward to seeing what he (and the new art team) has in store for us in Aquaman #41!

(h/t: F.O.A.M.er and Podcaster Extraordinaire Michael Bailey)

Post Script: Between writing this post and today, we have gotten some indication as to what Mr. Bunn has in store for Aquaman, in his own words.


Anonymous said...


I'm a big fan of Cullen Bunn's, and have really enjoyed his work on "The Sixth Gun" (and thought "The Damned" was even better), but ... I find it hard to be enthusiastic about a return to the "heavy is the head" trope, much less a darker tonal shift. It seems to go against what both Johns and Parker had been building with their storylines, which doesn't make any sense at all.

And this is going to sound totally naïve, but, dammit, why can't any characters at DC just be happy?

Anonymous said...

I personally prefer the sea being displayed as a place that's dark and mysterious. I want it to contrast with my warrior king as well though as its a place that he feels he must protect I want reasoning to be shown to why he protects the sea and land that don't completely accept him even if he's respected by both. That's the main theme I care about keeping the protector of two worlds team.

Atlantis was bound to desert Aquaman which should of been foreshadowed in The Dead King Arc.