Monday, January 12, 2009

Surf and Turf #4 (9/08)

The Lord of Time has faced his ultimate defeat at the hands of the Justice League-- his power and very essence divided into parts and sent by our heroes to lands far, yet familiar. The Lord of Time directs the last flickering of his consciousness backward through the timestream, hoping to alter the events leading to his end. So far it has failed to halt the inevitable, merely supplying the heroes an opportunity to frustrate it in entirely new ways.

J'Onn J'Onzz is pulling his portion of Time through space to the graveyard that is his homeworld, Mars. Suddenly, the sands of Mars run ever backward, revealing an epoch when the world and the Martian people yet lived. J'Onzz is aware of what Time is up to, so he telepathically contacts his friend, and the hero at the flashpoint of this mess, Aquaman.

Even in reverse time, Aquaman has already dealt with the Lord enough over this first Surf & Turf story arc to be wary of his ways, but is unable to halt the chronal backlash that comes with J'Onzz's contact. Like J'Onn, Arthur too is transported to his own past, his own family, on the eve of its destruction at the hands of Black Manta. In Atlantis and upon Mars, both our heroes are faced with a decision-- can they alter their own tragic pasts, and if so, is it worth the horrors that may be visited on others by their absence?

Imbued with chronal energy, these questions are answered, in a sense. Aquaman's son Arthur Jr. lives, as his mother Mera twists him with her own growing madness, thanks to the pollution of Earth's waters. Artie becomes a "Mordu" to his father's "King Arthur," placing the Sea King in a position where he must slay his own son to defend Atlantis... a thing which he cannot do.

J'Onn gathers his wife and child, fleeing their home before H'Ronmeer's Plague can be visited upon them. While they hide, Mars yet burns. Further, with no one to halt the onslaught of J'Onzz evil brother, Malefic accesses the Phantom Zone to lead an army of White Martians in sadistic conquest of the Sol System.

In an instant, the visions leave our heroes, both resolved to allow time to progress as they know it. However, neither has faith in the other's ability to stay the course, and the pair reverse roles. Now, Aquaman wanders through the ruins of Mars, surrounded by death, while the Manhunter looks on invisibly as an innocent child slowly suffocates.

On Mars, Arthur rips into the red sands with his gloved hands and all the power behind them, burying his portion of Time deep into this alien planet. With grim resolve, so too does the immaterial Manhunter stow the heart of Time in the labyrinthine depths of Marianas Trench. J'Onzz must then guide Arthur in the use of his Martian starship for Aquaman's return to Earth, allowing the pair time to console one another, while the Lord of Time continues to plot and dissipate...

As it turned out, I never did put together a "Manhunter from Mars #450" anniversary post, and will pass on #500 as well. I reserve the right to explore that territory on some future date, but after the holidays and an "overpowering" week under the weather, it won't be anytime soon. Instead, I offer a sort of repost at this five-hundred mark, though this is its first appearance at the Idol-Head of Diabolu.

Since the "first issue" on May 10, 2007, Rob at the Aquaman Shrine has produced an occasional series of fan fiction team-up art pieces. In the vein of the Brave and the Bold or Marvel Team-Up, Surf and Turf allows Aquaman to join other heroes in a variety of adventures yet to be published here on Earth-Prime. From his first pairing with the Flash to a collection of the entire JLA for the final battle, Aquaman staved off a "Crisis In Atlantis."

I wasn't yet reading the Aquaman Shrine when Surf and Turf began, but had hopped on board for the second and third "issue" posting. There, Rob explained,
"Back when I was putting the first one together, the imagined storyline for the book was that each of the first six issues would feature the Sea King teaming up with each original member of the JLA, culminating in the seventh issue where he officially rejoins the team.

So I continued in this vein with the covers for issues 2 and 3, in a story that could only be called "Crisis in Atlantis." Also, I came up with a retroactive explanation for why I have different DC Comics "bullet" logos in the background--in some way, the storyline involves Aquaman and the others to travel through time to different eras in DC's publishing history, graphically represented by the logos DC was using at the time.

As it happened, I'd launched the Idol-Head of Diabolu just three days prior to that post, on September 1, 2007. I commented, "Looking forward to the Martian Manhunter "issue," seeing as I finally started a blog (largely inspired by this one) to replace my old website... Might I suggest Kevin Maguire for that crossover, as he draws both characters fantastically and is almost famous enough to rate the company? If not, George Perez seems an obvious choice..."

Rob gifted me a link and traffic from the Shrine, then graced everybody with the Martian Manhunter and Superman "issues" on November 19, 2007...
"We continue our storyline involving the Lord of Time or something, and Aquaman and various original JLAers have to go to various different eras to stop him from messing with the time stream."

Rob didn't offer more story than that, allowing the images to speak for themselves. Feeling inspired, a whipped up my own fanboy plot and left it as a comment. Nothing came of it, and the Crisis ended with a seventh issue on New Year's Eve 2007. It wasn't until nearly a year later, when Rob restarted the series, that I thought to ask his permission to spotlight his work on Surf and Turf #4 with my piece here at the Idol-Head. Also, my 100th post was on December 7, 2007, which was celebrated with the thrown together John Jones: Manhunter From Mars #100 (Sept.-Oct. 1968). I don't believe my Manhunter from Mars posts were directly inspired by Surf & Turf, but that team-up plot was the first Martian Manhunter fan fiction I've ever written/published to my recollection.

And so, 500 posts into the Idol-Head of Diabolu, and 100 posts since my last Manhunter from Mars, this was the slightly edited "reprint" of my first J'Onn J'Onzz fan fiction. You can have your own virtual Surf and Turf Trade Paperback Collection by following this link to all the tagged editions to date.


Bookgal said...

That's a fine piece of storytelling there.

Been a LONG time since I have done Fanfiction, although I do occasionally dig up the old stuff for fun. I didn't get interested in J'onn until after my own FF days were done....had I known about him as a teen I'm sure I would have written quite a bit myself. LOL

Dixon said...

Nice work on this story, Frank, and on so imaginatively contributing to Rob's super-fun Surf & Turf series. That's a powerful plot! Now I really want to get my hands on this imaginary comic series!

Diabolu Frank said...

Thanks! I haven't done one of these in a while, and this one was whipped up on the spot a year ago, so I'm just glad no one was hurt.