Three issues of the new "more Arthur" Aquaman have come and gone. The book is interesting, but not exactly compelling. The challenging maze between character development and senseless battle which every writer must negotiate is especially visible here, as Veitch seems to want to explore Aquaman's new life, supporting cast, and connection to the Arthurian mythos while, at the same time, hit a high action quota. The resulting compromise seems to boil down to, "Aquaman gets in interesting conversation, interrupted by sea monster."
There are some interesting elements though, which bear further notice. The most obvious Arthurian reference is the Lady of the Lake, who is the dominant female supporting character in the story. I do not know if Veitch is intending to reconcile the various Ladies of the Lake in Mallory or the Lancelot-Grail cycle with the particular Lady he has chosen, but it may be worth noting that when we first met the Lady in Aquaman #1, she appeared to have several "handmaidens" of similar appearance and powers. Which would allow Veitch to cover his bases by stating that, for example, it wasn't *this* Lady of the Lake who got her head chopped off by Balin after asking Arthur for Balin's summary execution. That could have been one of her "handmaidens."
In the past, Aquaman's artificial hand/hook has had something of an Excalibur connotation. This was maintained in #1 of the new series, but since then the new hand -- which is made of water -- is more like the Grail than Excalibur. It heals the injured or insane, grants visions, banishes evil magic, and transports Arthur to the Lake. However, next issue Aquaman manages to "break" the thing when he uses it as a weapon, which seems to be to be a reference to Boorman's attempt to wed the Sword in the Stone and Excalibur blades by using one sword which breaks and then is repaired (by the Lady of the Lake).
Veitch's Aquaman does not lie. When put in a difficult spot, he may prevaricate or withhold info, but he tells the truth, even when people do not believe him. I point this out because some writers, Peter David for example, worked hard to make Aquaman more ruthless and more of an anti-hero. Veitch seems to be getting rid of a lot of that, which again brings this Arthur closer to his legendary namesake. Along similar lines, he got a haircut this issue and is working on new clothes ... all things which help rescue him from the 'savage' appearance previous writers had given him, and which was most at odds with the notion of a chivalric, morally principled, king.
Guienevere themes are difficult to find, but present. Sweeney, the female law enforcement officer who now accepts Arthur's identity, did refer to herself humorously as "Queen Guinevere," which I assumes foreshadows a romantic subplot, but no reader of Aquaman can fail to note that Arthur already has a Queen named Mera. Mera appears to be a captive of evil advisors in Atlantis, who are ruling in her stead. It remains to be seen how this plot will develop, but I half expect a spin on the "False Guienevere" plotline. After all, the Evil Twin is a comic trope as well as a Romantic one.
Still no sign of Merlin, the Round Table, Lancelot, or Camelot, unless you count Vulko and the Lighthouse. Personally, I don't. I think Veitch is on Aquaman for the long haul, and he's spreading out his plot development over many issues ... so he has plenty of room for those big sea monsters.
From: "mtorreg2001 <mtorregrossa@...>" <mtorregrossa@...>
Sent: 03/03/03 08:32 PM
Subject: [arthurian_comixlist] Update and news
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