Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Greatest Missed Opportunities: Sub Diego


The shorthand of it all was rather brilliant.

Floating panda.

We were introduced to it through a floating... panda!

San Diego had fallen into the ocean and to emphasize the fantastic scope of it all, writer Will Pfeiffer shocked me into the fantastic.

Moments before, a city very much rooted in what we knew as reality, became irrevocably changed by a writer thinking it, "DC."

Victims of a powerful earthquake, San Diegoans suddenly were at the ocean's mercy, asking God to not let them die this way. Soon, the reality of it all set in. God did not let them go. The ocean wouldn't let them go, in fact, it embraced them.

Ordinary men & women suddenly found themselves thrust into a new world.

A world in which they, literally, breathed in the ocean.

Into this horror crept the realization that many of them were trapped into this with no warning and utmost in their minds, no way around this foreign land of floating pandas and curious fish.

That was until a lone man, born into this world, became their greatest ally, displaying why he was called, "king."

This city became the new domain of a hero, The King of The Seven Seas, Aquaman.

They panicked, they howled, they fought to get to the surface and he let the ocean do his bidding. The sharks kept the ones who tried to escape inside the ocean. The whales stopped dogs too wrapped in being dogs (not listening) from killing themselves. On the surface, the humans did what they could, tossing what animals they could back into the ocean.

Below, the king took their pain unto himself and delivered them news he'd heard himself many times before... they could never go home.

And with that, the ocean took their tears as surely as it had everything else.

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This was Sub Diego.

This world was the stuff DC Comics were made of. A world into which Aquaman as king and character could thrive. A world where one ordinary San Diego girl becomes extraordinary, displaying the ability to breathe both above and below.

Sub Diego gave us Lorena Marquez, the current ( and IMHO, best) Aquagirl.

Sub Diego gave us an Aquaman at his very best, fighting to give the banished a sense of normalcy in a world without precedent.

This was a world without wizards and magical legacies set upon blonde haired children. This was world where mystical healing hands made of water were incorporated into the tapestry yet took a backseat to the needs of a new democracy suddenly beset with drugs.

It was a city. It was what DC did best.

The city became a character.

The city showed promise.

The city had stories to tell.

During 52: World War III, in what seemed to me, an afterthought, the stories were, I kid you not, "wished" away.

The story of Sub Diego ended as it began.

With tragedy... only minus the brilliance of a floating panda .

5 comments:

The Fortress Keeper said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

The Pfeiffer/Arcudi run of Aquaman was probably my favorite since that cool four-issue mini in the 80s where Aquaman wore the blue outfit.

Sub Diego was a GREAT idea, and I think it even could have played an interesting role in the Sword of Aquaman series had Busiek and/or Williams had the opportunity to do much with it.

I'm not quite sure why the concept was mostly undone, to be honest.

Jon said...

Sub Diego was the reason I tried an Aquaman comic, and I loved it. A real shame the one year later thing had to happen, just as we had an interesting "Black Manta as politician" thing building, which suddenly had to be abruptly wrapped up.

Doug said...

I enjoyed Sub Diego too. The Alan Davis covers added yet more greatness to a fun read.

A shame that it's gone…

Captain Qwert Jr said...

AN awesome idea, that in a single stroke solved the 'Man of Two Worlds' dilemma, of characters like Aquaman.

But I also think you pointed one it's dangers in the phrase :"...suddenly beset with drugs."

In other worlds, instead of rising to the challenge of such an awesome imaginative concept, they could, and sometimes did, use it as an opportunity to lower the book to their unimaginative level. Aquaman fighting drug dealers in an alley. That just sucks.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

At least the "Black Manta as Mayor" ended well.

Black Manta...had his face eaten off...by a giant magical shark man.

C'mon, that's freakin' sweet.