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Remember When There Was A Whole Other Aquaman?

In Left Unresolved, I spotlight storylines that have been, well, left unresolved.

This one might be a bit of a stretch for "unresolved," but I really wanted to write about how this character just dropped off the face of the planet and I couldn't think of any other columns where he would fit (I thought about "If I Pass This Way Again," which I use for short-lived plot points and characters that get dropped right away, but this character was technically around for a few years, so that doesn't really seem to fit as "short-lived," so "Left Unresolved" it is!

In 2006, DC did this bit called "One Year Later" following Infinite Crisis where they sent every book, well, you know, one year into the future. Aquaman's series was re-named Aquaman, Sword of Atlantis (with Kurt Busiek and Butch Guice taking over as the new creative team), and the book now starred a brand-new, younger version of Aquaman.

The first issue, Aquaman, Sword of Atlantis #40, opens with a young naked man swimming through the ocean until he is directed by some sort of magical voice in his head to go save King Shark, who is being attacked by an underwater tribe who appear to be trying to enslave him. The young man fights them off and then he meets the Dweller in the Depths, a mysterious magical being who directs him to a cave where the young man finds a costume and a sword and he comes out as Aquaman...

When the Dweller then asks Athur his story, he tells it, about how he was genetically designed to be able to live in the ocean and how his tank broke during a storm and that is how he ended up here...

That origin, of course, is basically the original Golden Age origin for the original Aquaman. The Arthur Joseph Curry bit is to differentiate him from the original Aquaman, also named Arthur Curry.

The Dweller then tells young Arthur the prophecy of Arthur's future...

However, in a clever bit, the Dweller is clearly just telling Arthur the PAST, the past of the original Aquaman (who the Dweller later turns out to be). The Dweller is just messed up in the head.

Busiek's plan for the series was a clever one. He wanted to start fresh, free from old Aquaman continuity and then basically just tell sword and sorcery stories, only underwater. Busiek had recently rebooted Conan for Dark Horse and done a marvelous job at it, so the idea made a ton of sense.

Busiek, though, left the book after just ten issues, and then Tad Williams took over for the final eight issues of the series.

In the final issue (by Tad Williams and Shawn McManus), we learn the REAL truth, which is that Aquaman's blood helped young Arthur Joseph Curry live, but then he died but his father got a piece of Aquaman's magic water hand and it brought Arthur Joseph back to life with a bit of the original Aquaman's soul...

Arthur Joseph is freaked out by that story and so renounces his old heritage and his name, insisting on being called Joseph now, but he will continue on as Aquaman, even though that was the final issue of the series...

There are still YEARS to account for!

Page 2: What next?

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