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Wednesday, January 01, 2014 

Geoff Johns retconned Aquaman's background

While reporting on Jeff Parker taking over the writing chores on Aquaman, USA Today revealed a retcon by Johns vaguely reminiscent of Kieron Gillen's retcon of Iron Man's background:
With previous writer Geoff Johns driving the ship, Arthur Curry had to deal with a Dead King coming back to reclaim the throne of Atlantis, learned he wasn't of the royal lineage he long thought, and discovered the existence of the kingdoms of the Seven Seas.
Oh, so now Aquaman can't be an heir to Atlantis in an age of political correctness. What a joke. Once again, we have retcons being shoved down the readership's throats that disrespect the visions of the original creators like Mort Weisinger. What further proof does anyone need that Johns is not the Golden/Silver Age devotee he kept telling people he was a decade ago?
"Ironically, he's a fish out of water with the Atlanteans because he wasn't raised there," Parker says. "He's caught up as fast as he can, he's a smart guy, but at the same time he always has a little trouble with people because it's not his culture.

"It's literally like if you were raised in a lighthouse in Maine and then later on someone told you you're the king of a country and you have no idea what to do."

[...] Also, the rest of the world feels under threat by the Atlanteans since they are this mysterious force underneath them, and in turn the Atlanteans also feel constantly on the defensive from those up above.

So even though the rule of Atlantis isn't technically his birthright, Aquaman takes the responsibility anyway.
Just as we should've expected. Parker's continuing what Johns started, but he's in over his head. The part about the Sea King - whom they want to deprive of that nickname - taking up the rulership in Atlantis even though, according to their retcon, he's not really an heir to a dynasty, has echos of the Clone Saga in Spider-Man. Even if it's not as mind-boggling as that 1995 fiasco, I still don't buy their pointless retcon.
"Unless I screw up, it should feel like the Arthur you've been reading. What I'm doing really is what Geoff was doing: updating '60s types of stories with modern storytelling approaches. In that sense, we're kind of the same."
Yeah, it's "modern" alright. In truth, it's darker, and altogether meaningless. Changing Aquaman's background so he's no longer of authentic Atlantean heritage adds zero to the story beyond what we knew, and only reduces the imagination of the previous incarnations. What if Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld went through this kind of alteration? That wouldn't work, so why should they think Johns's work is any good?
People probably joke a lot less about Aquaman after Johns spent two years making him cool again, but for Parker, who grew up near the North Carolina coast and enjoyed "beach stuff," the character's always been a favorite.
If he retains Johns's vision, then I dispute their claim, and how does a book that spends much of its time depicting nearly everybody else inside putting its hero down register as "cool"? It's hardly a blockbuster seller either, but obviously, you can't expect them to admit that, and even if they listed the numbers, you couldn't expect them to admit the paltry sums pale horribly beside the grosses for movies and music tapes.

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I have two thoughts: Isn't this similar to what they're having Tony Stark go through by learning he was adopted and not a "real" Stark? And how come Arthur is influenced by his upbringing but Clark Kent isn't? I think they just like telling stories of the "outsider". Oddly just as comic properties are seeking the mainstream.

"Yeah, it's "modern" alright. In truth, it's darker, and altogether meaningless."

No no no, Avid. Modernism, while complicated (sometimes overtly so) actually DOES have a meaning and a truth behind it. It's just that, sometimes, it'd take you weeks and weeks to figure it out and that it often times takes WAY TOO many pains to avoid old tropes and cliches.

The literary movement you're describing is POST-modernism, which sucks monkey butt and is a moral relatavist's wet-dream.

Being an Atlantian is bad, why?

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