Sunday, January 27, 2008

Curse of the Crab!

There was something in my comics that did not make me happy this week. In fact, it made me crabby.

It makes Mera crabby.
It also makes Aqualad crabby.

What makes us crabby is...
crabby Aquaman.

This scene is from the most recent issue of Superman/Batman, which I bought simply because it had (fake) Aquaman in it. After all, he's the only Aquaman we currently have.

The culprit is writer Michael Green. Foo on you, Mister Green, using Aquaman as a poor man's Namor, in a story that defies both common sense and previous characterization.

The story defies common sense. Batman and Superman are going about on the quest to sweep up all the kryptonite that fell to Earth when Supergirl arrived. The biggest chunk is in the ocean. Incomprehensibly, prefaced only by some irrelevant palaver about the seas not being spoils, Aquaman (that is, Aquaman Junior, not the real Aquaman) picks a fight with Superman and Batman.

So, the world's largest single chunk of radioactive rock is poisoning the ocean floor and the site of an ancient Atlantean outpost, and Aquaman doesn't want it removed? That's simply moronic. It's not gold or diamonds nor part of some undersea history, it's a dangerous extraterrestrial material. Furthermore, some supervillain is eventually going to come looking for if the World's Finest don't cart it away. And that supervillain will not sit around chatting with Art Junior about it; he'll kill him and carry off whatever he wants. Look, I'm not a huge fan of Art Junior, but he's not a moron, for pity's sake.

Author Green just wanted somebody to actually question Superman and Batman's assumption that the world should be made safe for Superman. I get that. But it's also moronic.

Says Li'l Aquaman: "I will never understand this about you, Superman. It never once occurred to you that the world wouldn't be grateful for a savior." Uh, yeah. Interesting point. But I'm pretty sure if you polled the people of the DCU the general attitude would be, "Yes, on a scale of 1 to 5, I'm glad Superman was around to save us from that meteorite / invading space armada / cabal of crazed supervillains / Jimmy Olsen in a dress."

Green must be thinking of the ungrateful people of the Marvel Universe, who after 50 years still hate and mistrust the people who save their asses once a week. I guess that's also where he got the ideas that it's okay for heroes to attack other heroes, and the absurd idea that this Aquaman, to make some very abstract and not immediately appropriate point, would assault Superman and Batman, risking both of their lives.

Anyway, it's not just people in the DCU who think having a savior might be nice. People in our world love the idea of having a savior, so much so that over 2 billion of them have convinced themselves that a Middle Eastern carpenter who died two thousand years ago was the son of God. Yeah, I'd say people like the idea of having a savior a lot.

You know what makes Aquaman's role in this issue even stupider? Do you remember what the last thing this Aquaman did in his own title before it was cancelled? Saved the world (or at least, most major popular centers from being sunk into the sea). Did he ask anyone whether they wanted a savior? No, thank goodness. He did what heroes do; he saved the day without being asked to.

You know what make it even stupider-er? When's the last time this Aquaman and Superman saw each other? Yes, that would be when Superman risked his own life to save Aquaman (and others) from the Collector. Aquaman seemed pretty darned grateful to have a savior at the time.

This Aquaman has clearly demonstrated he understands both the need to be a savior and the need to have one sometimes. Mr. Green, have ever read this character in anything or were you too focused on making your point to choose an appropriate character for doing so?

It seems that this Aquaman was made crabby simply because that was how people had been using the previous one... .

You know, originally, Aquaman was a fun guy. The kind of guy you could easily picture dancing in the aisle at a supermarket to the musak.

The kind of guy who would defeat Extraterrestrial Sea-Men and the Rainbow Cannons after making fools out of them using a goldfish and aquatelepathic ventriloquism.

It all went wrong when he was demoted from King of the Sea
to King of Atlantis.
I guess that's enough to make anyone crabby. As the King of the Sea, Aquaman got to wander anywhere he wanted (in the sea), making fools out of pirates, saving lives, and teaching much needing lessons, like boating safety, hair care, and how to make a kazoo out of comb.

As King of Atlantis, he was stuck in one decrepit old European town, trapped in a bubble at the bottom of sea, which suffered and attack or an insurrection twice a month, and whose inhabitants were the thickest bunch of pinheaded ingrates outside of Marvel's Manhattan. So contemptible were the Atlanteans, Aquaman couldn't find even one suitable to be his queen, and he had to marry Mera the Mail-Order Bride from Dimension Aqua.

Because of Atlantis, Aquaman slowly but surely became a poor man's Namor rather than the witty, brave, and ingenious monarch of the sea he had been before. Crabbiness has eaten away at him like a cancer and appears for no reason to have infected his junior counterpart as well.

But Atlantis is gone now (pretty much) and the current Aquaman, Artie Junior, has no such ball and chain. Then why is he so crabby, Mr. Green?

Maybe he's figured out that Dan Didio is finally going to let him be killed off so Geoff Johns can bring back the real Aquaman... ?

P.S. In case you're wondering how the real Aquaman would react to such a situation...
He would publicly humiliate himself by losing an international olympic competition to that big-headed purpled-eyed freak, Aqualad, just to keep anyone from getting their hands on the kryptonite. THAT's how the real Aquaman was.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me of when I actually used to watch Adult Swim; I just wish they aired the one where Aquaman got his groove on in front of a Little League game.

Derek said...

I've been wondering about this. Why does Atlantis even need a king? It's supposed to be an ancient civilization, right? Shouldn't they have gotten the hang of self-government by now? Shouldn't they be at least as progressed as the US?

Or maybe the UK is closer to what I mean. Arthur should be more like a fair-haired figurehead. That way, he can be off doing his own thing most of the time and only return to Atlantis on the (rare) occasions when they really need him.

Oh, and thank you, Scipio, for perfectly capturing why I didn't like this comic. It didn't make any sense. I, too, only picked this one up because it had AJ in it (actually, King Shark), and was very disappointed.

Is this series even in-continuity?

Daniel said...

What do you think about the idea of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang bringing back Aquaman?

Reno said...

Superman/Batman stopped making sense years ago (the comic book, I mean). This is one title that I hope DC kills.

SallyP said...

You make a very good point, Scipio. I guess the author is trying to make the point that Superman shouldn't be quite so comfortable, and that perhaps it would be handy to have a way to take him out if he gets mind-controlled or something, but'd think that Aquaman would WANT to have that big ol' chunk of radioactive rock OUT of his backyard. Besides, you know that Batman is keeping a tiny little bit of Kyptonite hidden away...just in case.

It's too Marvel-ish. One of the reasons, I barely read Marvel anymore, is that practically all of my former heroes are unpleasant obnoxious morons. Aquaman's a hero! Let him act like one!


Tori Tyree said...

"What do you think about the idea of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang bringing back Aquaman?"

And permanently relegate Aquaman to self-aware, meta-reference?

NO, thank you.

totaltoyz said...

I just want to congratulate you on having the guts to make the comment you did about people's need for a savior. It seems that, these days, anyone who dares to suggest that everything in the Bible is not undisputed fact is opening themselves up for a world of abuse from the self-righteous (although I doubt many Bible-thumpers read this blog).

Daniel said...

"And permanently relegate Aquaman to self-aware, meta-reference?

NO, thank you."

Who says it would go in that direction?

Scipio said...


"Well, we've talked about Aquaman. If we could bring the level of self-awareness to that character that we did to Team 13, we'd have a top 10 book, no question. He's one of the most recognizable characters in Pop Culture, but for some reason he doesn't work in comics."

Dr. Thirteen as a grand in-joke is one thing. Aquaman is quite another.

Justin said...

Is kryptonite still harmful to non-Kryptonians? Like, not rapid death as it is to Superman, but harmful over an extended period of time? If so, this scene actually makes perfect sense, as the K-radiation has clearly fried Aquaman II's brain beyond recognition.

Actually, could I get some Cliff Chiang on my Aquaman, but hold the Azzarello?