Knowing of my newfound interest in Aquaman, one of the Absorbascommenters was kind enough to lend me the entire Peter David run of Aquaman, which I had not read before.
And I will never, ever forgive him for it.
Most of the issues I read while I was in a public place, like a restaurant or a park. People kept coming over to me, asking, "Are--are you okay? Did something happen to your head? Do you need me to call a doctor?"
All I could do was stare at them and mutter, "No. No, I am not okay. Peter David lives. And is free, free to write. Don't -- don't you understand?" Most people didn't understand and wandered away, disgusted with the failure of deinstitutionalization as a public policy. But one woman understood; she just stood there, crying and crying...
For those of you who escaped Peter David's Aquaman, here's what happens -- in every issue:
- Aquaman suffers a bizarre physical transformation, disturbing his friends and subjects, and serving as a metaphor for his dramatic emotional change of the month!
- Two women have a catfight over a male member of the cast!
- Someone plots to overthrow the king!
- A Previously Unmentioned but nevertheless Extremely Important mystical element or entity threatens Atlantis, challenges Aquaman's authority, and mindcontrols a member of the cast with whom they have a Previously Unmentioned but nevertheless Extremely Important connection!
- Every castmember gets to make a snarky, sarcastic, or flip comment at a highly inappropriate point in the action (just like on "Buffy"; it must be cool!) !
- The People change their mind about Aquaman!
- Aquaman discovers that his powers are much greater than previously thought!
- Someone close to Arthur (oh, excuse me .... "Orin") worries that he's losing it, and someone else close to him denies it!
- Sea mammals evince high drama and/or low comedy!
- Another mystical element in Aquaman's background or source of his power is revealed!
- Aquaman demands respect!
- A guest star learns respect for Aquaman and teaches us to respect him, too!
- Something shaped like a skull appears and threatens everyone!
- Two members of the supporting cast have an argument or fight!
- The Atlanteans demonstrate that they are highly advanced and completely backward at the same time!
- Aquaman argues with a member of the supporting cast!
- Arthur becomes even more kingly than in the previous issue and comes to accept it again as his burden slash destiny!
- Every castmember gets to make a childish pun!
The main reason I read this ... "stuff"... was to find out why everyone thinks Koryak is a jerk. Now I know -- everyone Peter David writes is a jerk. I find it hard to blame Koryak for that.
Don't get me wrong; I really enjoyed Peter David's Young Justice. But adolescent angst, childlish puns, and whistling past the graveyard humor works fine when your protagonists are all children. It wasn't until I read Peter David's Aquaman that I realized that's how he writes everyone.
I don't mean to upset anyone with these criticisms, but, you know, dreck is dreck. I know that Peter David's Aquaman is Aquaman for a lot of younger readers and that those are the comic books that interested them in the character. But if I'm willing to look at the comic books that interested me in characters when I was young and admit that, yes, they could be pretty darned stupid, then why can't other people admit that, too?