Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Back-Issue Spotlight: Aquaman: Time and Tide#3

Hey peeps!

Well I don't know about you guys, but I'm psyched as hell for tonight's shows.
Tonight's supposed to be the last episode of American Horror Story: Asylum, and I can't wait to see how it all ends, wrapping up everybody else's stories. So far we've seen the finale fates of Dr. Arden, The original Bloody-face, Dr. Thredson, and of course everyone's favorite poor, possessed nun, Sister Mary Eunice. Sister Jude's locked up at Briarcliff, and now in solitary, waiting to die.
Oh, and reporter Lana Winters finally escaped and permanently ended Dr. Thredson's threat, and published that successful expose/book on Briarcliff she was always planning on doing. But apparently, there's even more.

Tonight, we see her final fate, the fates of Kit and Grace, especially since they now have a child together, and were planning on moving in to his old home, when.........guess who's already there? His presumed dead wife Alma, with his child.

Oh this is going to be good, damn good! Can't wait;)

And another show's coming back; yes thank god, Arrow's back to wrap up it's season as well. The last time we saw Ollie, he was recovering from the brutal fight he had with the Dark Archer, who turned out to be Tommy Merlyn's dad. Which is a twist in comic continuity since Tommy was the famed assassin, not his dad. Nice twist there.

So I can't wait to see what's down the line now, and how the season's going to end.

Oh, by the way; it appears there's going to be a new show called Amazon that's supposed to be based on or about Wonder Woman. And it'll most likely cross-over into Arrow's show. Hmm.

Today's back-issue on spotlight is Aquaman: Time and Tide#3 from February 1994.

If you haven't already read or know about this mini-series, it was really, really well done. Peter David really seemed to have a knack for writing Aquaman, and always wrote him in an intelligent manner. This came out right before the main ongoing series that David would later write, so this mini was really the testing ground to see if there would be enough fan support to keep this book in the black. And it did obviously.

And I also can't say enough about the art team of Kirk Jarvinen and Brad Vancata. They provided a very solid and suitable art style to the book, that seemed to really go along well with the story being told. I wonder where the hell they are though, since I don't/can't recall any of them doing any other mainstream or indie book after this. Huh.

The jist of this mini, was Aquaman was retelling/writing down in his journal, key moments from his past. They were flashbacks of past memories that seemed to later define and shape how his life would later turn out. And yes, not all of them were happy ones.

Case in point this issue, called 'Snowball in Hell."

Gotta' love an opening that has some chick being chased down by a polar bear right?
Apparently we're tuning in on a domestic disturbance in progress between a young Eskimo girl, an angry(and probably hungry)polar bear, and a young Aquaman.
 Of course all's well that ends well, with young Arthur finally snapping the bear's neck to end the thing. And that was after much repeated stabbing to the bear.
(How cool would it have been for Aquaman to tap into his command of sea-life, bring back to life through telepathy and necromancy all of the dead fish and penguins in the polar bear's stomach, only for them to bust out and help kill him? Of course that would be heading into Vertigo territory really quickly;)

I gotta' say, looking at Arthur in ripped jean shorts like that makes me think of Ka-Zar circa 1997. He too had ripped jean shorts and long, flowing blond hair. Hmm.

Another thing to point out, is those fins on the backs of Arthur's legs. Yeah, I thought maybe it was a coloring error, but no. Those are real fins attached to his calves. Ewww.

In true heroic fashion, Arthur passes out due to the fight, and is taken back to the girl's Eskimo village.
Her name is Kako, and Arthur quickly realizes he's wondered into a totally different world, with a totally different set of rules. These are Eskimo Indians, and they are currently in conflict between the ways of the past, and the ways of the new generation now. Basically tradition vs. progression; the old ways are to fish in man-made boats and use old technology and life in igloos, while the young and new generation, want to live in modern houses, and use current technology to hunt and fish. It's a constant struggle in all walks of life, and unbeknownst to Arthur, his coming to the village tips the scales in favor of the young as we'll later see.

But first, Arthur has other problems. Namely an old sea hag/witch named Nuliajuk. She's apparently a very big deal in the realm of the sea, where she commands all the beasts and creatures of the oceans.

While in a feverish dream, Nuliajuk comes to Arthur to warn him that he's going to pay for killing the polar bear, and that unless he gives himself to her now, he'll pay a hell of a price. Of course Arthur says fuck that! and wakes up.

From there get a glimpse into the daily life of Kako's family. One person seems to stick out in particular; a guy named Orm, who from the first introduction of him, seems to be a product of an affair. Oh, and he's white....mostly. With dark hair and a beard. I'm guessing he's supposed to be the Ocean Master, but before he ever took that identity. Which of course also makes him Arthur's half-brother. We'll see him a bit later.

Arthur attempts to teach Kako how to play baseball, and in the process gets some nookie. No lie folks. I love the following dialogue:

"Artoor who is always warm. Warm me."

Gotta' love that shit right?

Now while Kako and Arthur are getting it on, they're totally oblivious to the fact that they have a spectator; Orm. Who's still pissed off after the argument he had with his mother. Again old vs. young here.

Orm stabs a sleeping Kako(except it happens off-panel) and Arthur wakes up to see the outcome.

He takes her back to her home, where he and the family wait and monitor her condition. It's here that Arthur doses off and returns back to the realm of Nuliajuk. He fights her to save the life of Kako, which he does after a nice battle, he of course wins. Again, not just about the hero vs. villain, but mainly the old vs. the young. Nuliajuk represents the old myths, while Arthur represents the new, as is mentioned in this bit of dialogue:
"You're a creature of old mythology, fingerless sea hag. I am of the new mythology, the power of new imaginings is mine."

And really it's not just about Arthur's ascension in the hierarchy of the realms of the sea, but also about the Silver Age rising up after the end of the Golden Age. You know, if that makes sense at all to you guys;)

But as is Arthur's continual bad luck goes, he was warned of there being a price he would have pay, and pay he does. He might have saved Kako's life, but in a pivotal moment, after hearing how Aquaman saved his granddaughter's life, Kako's grandfather has a heart attack/stroke, and dies instantly. Wow.

He basically panicked because he thought Nuliajuk would attack his people because of Aquaman's actions, and thus he dies.
Arthur's forced to leave, but comes back 6 months later. Only to find Kako and her family are gone, lost to him forever.

Peter David would later pick up on this particular story thread, when it's revealed that Kako became pregnant with his son, a son named Koryak. He'd later show up in the ongoing series, where he stuck around until his death during Infinite Crisis.

All in all this is a damn good mini if you're an Aquaman fan, Peter David fan, or both. I lucked out last week to find the 1st issue in a back-issue box, thus completing the set. Again, I highly recommend either hunting these issues, or look for it in trade online. It's a overall story the tells of the past through flashbacks and journal entries, and is a real treat to read.


Omega Agent1 said...

Koryak was a good character and added flavor to Aquaman's story. it seems to me though that most Aquaman writers are so concerned with Aquaman that the supporting cast gets lost.

We all know what happens to the main character when the arch nemisis isn't big enough and the supporting cast is weak. The protagonist becomes a joke.

This was some nice backstory that you just gave us. Aquaman's screwed everything in the ocean and has done his wife all kinds of wrong. Geoff Johns had the perfect love triange set up and dropped the damn ball.

Aquaman is a real dude. A good man that has made some bad mistakes. Until Blackest night Mera wasn't nothing. Now I think if something interesting doesn't happen in a minute she's going to go back to being a bland character. All the tough acting for no reason is getting boring.

Dale Bagwell said...

I figure you can safely file the whole Koryak and Kako things away in the "It's been rebooted and no longer applies" folder. I just don't see that particular story element coming back since it doesn't jive with Johns' vision of the story he wants to tell with Aquaman. I myself don't see a problem revisiting this time period and making it canon in the rebooted universe, but that's how it rolls.

I think it adds a lot more in the way of establishing Aquaman's character, especially in his early years, as opposed to the forced notion that he was hanging out with a JL-like group lie The Others before there ever was a JL. Just doesn't work for me.

And you're right on the point about Mera, outside of maybe Peter David, Mera wasn't doing much at all until Johns rehabilitated her, so kudos to him on that. But what has she really done lately?

It'll be interesting to see what another writer's take on that whole situation is when it comes time to replace Johns. Unless it'll be a Johns-clone, then expect more of the same.

Rebooted or not, it doesn't take away from me, how awesomely well done this story is.

Omega Agent1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Omega Agent1 said...

I'm with you on that, good is good rebooted or not. And if it's good it will be fed to my long box. Might even get a nostalgic appearance on a good moon.

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