Sunday, June 26, 2011

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (May, 2006)

There was a storm. A research lab fell partially into the sea. A young blond man awoke disoriented in the ocean. A voice inside his head called him to help the wounded Nanaue, King Shark and son of the god of sharks. Nanaue had been speared through the sternum a year earlier during the Infinite Crisis, and the blow had never healed right. That's why he struggled against a band of Aurati raiders, so that even the comparatively slow and awkward help of the boy named Curry was enough to turn the tide. The kid's game was weak, with lines like "You want a... piece of me, guys? Take your best shot!" He was your basic Peter Parker analog, but in swim trunks.

Arthur Curry led Nanaue to the Dweller of the Depths, a semi-amphibian humanoid with strange powers. The Dweller gave Arthur an amulet that would allow him to communicate with the creatures of the sea, and had him don an armor that resembled Aquaman's old costume. The Dweller had healing hands, but they could not help with Nanaue's old war wound. Nanaue didn't appreciate Arthur reminding him of the guy that skewered him, but he got over it. The Dweller though the boy was Aquaman, also named Orin. The kid corrected that Arthur Joseph Curry was his only name, and he was no super-hero.

The son of oceanobiologist Dr. Philip Curry, Arthur Joseph was born three months prematurely at a research lab in Avalon Cay roughly twenty-three years earlier. Philip used his knowledge of marine adaptability and amphibian evolution to save the child of his dead wife, but the boy would have to live the rest of his life breathing through gills underwater. The boy grew up in a tank at the Curry-Jonas Oceanographic Center at Avalon Cay with very few outside trips. "Most of what I've seen, I guess, I've seen on television."

The Dweller of the Depths explained the prophesy he knew, which more closely resembled that of the Silver Age Aquaman born of Atlantean and lighthouse keeper, who married an otherworldly queen to help him rule his kingdom. The Dweller predicted the death of a child, and other doings that were in fact from Aquaman's past, not Arthur Joseph's future. Curry rightly thought the Dweller nuts, but what he didn't know was the Dweller actually was a transformed and slightly addled Orin. Still, Arthur and Nanaue let the guy feed them a meal.

"Once and Future" was by Kurt Buisek and Butch Guice. I was in the minority that was really enjoying John Arcudi's run on Aquaman, and my liking Busiek's work is an exception to the rule. Busiek had helped restart the Conan franchise at Dark Horse, and tried the same formula on Aquaman, to bland result. It's Luke Skywalker, Old Ben Kenobi, and a Han/Chewie hybrid, but underwater in loincloths. Arthur Joseph's dialogue is straight out of the Bronze Age, all the backstory is a snooze, and Jackson Guice is really lousy at drawing undersea action. Instead of multidimensional combat, dudes just stand on rocks against dark blue backgrounds and throw punches. Yawn. I especially like how they gave A.J. nice long hair that somehow lays flat in the ocean depths, but I guess if gravity affects fights, why not 'dos that have been passe since the early '90s? The coloring by Dan Brown is also super drab, which I guess suits the art and subject matter, but still feels like an entire movie shot through the same blue filter.

Brave New World

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2010 The Vixen by BeeBoyNYC

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2010 The Vixen by BeeBoyNYC

Sorry for phoning it in lately, Vixen fans. I'm on a summer schedule that's kicking my butt, so it may be a bit longer for something substantial. Aquaman will be getting the treatment for the next few weeks, instead...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2010 Detective Comics #380 Twin Pocket Folder Style #3008DC

I wasn't a big fan of Wall*Mart just from a customer experience standpoint, and after seeing The High Cost of a Low Price, I feel really sleazy when I cave and shop there. Still, they're usually open 24 hours a day, and have a grocery store, so I try to stay alert for blog chum when I do find myself there. I scored a nice batch of DC folders on my last visit, and at just fifty cents a pop, I decided to pick up some that I passed on the first time for variety's sake.

Irv Novick's 1968 Batman and Robin cover is probably the best crop job I've seen on one of these folders yet. The enormous twelve cent cover price and Comics Code Authority seal are cut out of the top right corner and filled in with solid black (along with a small crease in the curtain.) You lose an inch or so of costume at the bottom and a trim at the top, but the changes are so minor I didn't even bother posting the cover here for comparison. In fact, the claustrophobic framing and vastly superior printing on the folder make me like this presentation of the art better. That said, this is the oldest cover I've encounter in this series by far, and part of the appeal is its randomness and dubious appeal to the younger demographic. Even the mystery girl is only, from what I gathered at GCD, Ginny Jenkins (better known as "WHO?")

I recycled this back cover scan from a previous post.The Innovative Designs logo is a dark purple on the actual folder, and the interior pockets are simply black. I'm really glad the company decided to jazz up the look with their 2011 offerings.

Folders & Fodder

Monday, June 6, 2011

Post-Pointal Discussion: Aquaman and the Justice League

I've always had a soft spot for Aquaman, seeing as he's one of the great iconic super-heroes, but never receives his due. That seems to be changing, thanks to the efforts of Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and now Jim Lee with the launch of a new Justice League. This marks the first time in nearly twenty years that a universally recognizable Sea King has served with the group in whose books he's made more appearances than any other, save his decades in Adventure Comics. If rumors are true, it also marks the first time the monarch has actually led the team in ages. It seems like a natural fit, except of course that Aquaman is a horrible leader.

When Aquaman was first created, he was a good-natured cowboy patrolling the range, an American with powers born of the marriage of modern and ancient science. He did his part during World War II, and managed to hang on through the fallow 1950s, a rare accomplishment among super-heroes. Since he was still around at the dawn of the Silver Age, he was drafted into the very first Justice League line-up, and served consistently for eighteen straight years. I figure he earned 1979 off. During those years, Aquaman's legend grew massively, through his adoption of the young protege Aqualad, learning he was in fact Atlantean royalty, his marriage to the other-dimensional queen Mera, the nigh-unprecedented birth of a son to a super-hero, and a successful cartoon series. Unfortunately, Aquaman was among the most humbled of super-heroes, infamous for his uselessness on the long running Super Friends cartoon, the unavenged murder of his son, an acrimonious relationship with his adopted ward and kingdom, the dissolution of his marriage, and repeated cancellations. It's no wonder Aquaman held on to the one good thing he had, his super-team, but perhaps he held on a bit too tightly.

After numerous Satellite Era Leaguers failed to show up in the face of an invasion from Mars, Aquaman disbanded the team in disgust, and restaffed it with a widely ridiculed, underpowered collection of misfits (see sidebar icons.) Not only did Aquaman render the Justice League laughingstocks, but he commanded them through the force of telepathy in an unethical manner against such thoroughly ridiculous "menaces" as The Cadre of silly stereotypes, the Fiddling Ruskie, and Hobo Amazo. No wait, scratch that last one. Aquaman actually went AWOL to search for his wife, having come to his senses with regard to a) redheads are hot and b) he'd royally screwed the pooch on this new JLA thing, with even these nobodies ready to turn on him. Aquaman and Mera did show up to help stop AmazEskimo, but then promptly resigned to work on his marriage. Please remember, the reason Aquaman drove off Green Arrow, Black Canary and Firestorm, who had helped stop the Martians, was because he only wanted Leaguers willing to give their all to the team. His all was all of a year (or less, actually.)

The Sea King wasn't such a hypocrite that he lacked shame for what he had done. Like many of his fellow Silver Age friends, Aquaman isolated himself from the DC Universe for the rest of the '80s, appearing in several mini-series and specials, attempting to catch some heat from Post-Crisis revisionism. When Aquaman rejoined the League in 1992, he served quietly in their European branch for only a year, deferring to Green Lantern's stewardship. How humiliating must that have been?

Aquaman dove headfirst into the '90s, growing a beard and mullet, replacing a hand with a harpoon, and swaggering as best as he could with fins on his calves. For a while there, he was outright hostile the other super-heroes. However, when Grant Morrison decided to reform the Beatles, the Magnificent Seven JLA founders, Aquaman was all in. He appeared in almost as many issues of JLA as there were editions of his first solo series, and they had to kill the guy off in "Our Worlds At War" to cut him loose. Even then, his swift return to life and a spin-off solo series formed the basis of a JLA story arc.

Aquaman has gone through a lot of problems in recent years, including becoming an amnesiac mutant, being replaced by an idiot kid with a sword, being killed by a z-lister, becoming a zombie, and playing a role in the death of Aqualad. Atlantis (Mera included) had their fill of their king years ago, repeatedly trying to kill or replace him before the entire empire was finally destroyed while he stood powerless. Aquaman also failed to save most of his supporting cast, leaving him at present with Mera (she came back around,) Aquagirl (the second, by way of poisoning,) and Aqualad (II.) Aquaman's relations with the Justice League also remain strained, past brawls with Hawkman and Martian Manhunter coming to mind, plus a stillborn flirtation with Wonder Woman and chilly acquaintanceships with most of the rest. Frankly, J'Onn J'Onzz is one of the few guys that even tries to be Aquaman's pal, and the Sea King has immolated him repeatedly for his kindness.

All this having been said, I look forward to seeing where leadership of the reunited Justice League goes. Mera's back in the picture, and has already tried to impale Wonder Woman with a trident. Batman's not likely to listen to any orders. Green Lantern's never seemed to have much use for Arthur. Superman and the Flash get along as best they can. Cyborg, man, watch out for the dude, given how he treated Steel the Indestructible Man. There is so much more potential with Aquaman at the fore over the World's Finest duo, because he's way bossier and prone to unscrupulous crap, plus there's no guarantee anyone will follow directions. That could get very interesting...

...and the Justice League

Friday, June 3, 2011

2007 The Vixen as Rosario Dawson by Jamie Rimmer

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well here is rosario dawson as dc comics and current member of jla vixen-i love this character and i love dawson, so why would that not work/:)

this is quite old