Reign of the Supermen #107: Wundarr the Aquarian

Source: (1st) Adventure into Fear #17 (1973)
Type: AnalogThe second of Marvel's Superman analogs is Wundarr the Aquarian. Though he's never worn a classic superhero costume with cape and shield, nor even has Superman's powers, but it's not hard to figure out what writer Steve Gerber was up to when you look at his origin story (straight out of Wiki):

"On a distant planet called Dakkam [Daxam?], a scientist named Hektu comes to believe that the sun going nova would destroy his world [the danger to Krypton came from within, but it was just as distant and just as doomed]. In a last effort to save his family, he and his wife, Soja, have an infant son named Wundarr [Wundarr... Wonder... not far from Super], whom they plan to save from their world's destruction [a reference to Moses? NO! To Kal-El]. They place him aboard a ship that is able to maintain his life support as long as necessary [and not a second more!], and then launch him into outer space. Hektu and Soja later make flight and are captured and executed by the Internal Security Force to prevent them from alarming the populace [not as stoically brave as Jor-El and Lara, then]. It is later found out that Hektu's apocalyptic prediction is incorrect, and that he sent his son away for nothing [TWIST!!! Oh delicious irony!!!]

"In July, 1951, Wundarr's ship is caught by Earth's gravitational pull, and passes through a layer of cosmic rays [the Fantastic Four connection] before entering Earth's atmosphere and crashing in a Florida swamp [not quite Kansas, but a case could be made for it rurality]. An elderly couple known only as Maw and Paw [COME ON!!!!] observe the crash from their car. Paw considers checking out the crash site, but Maw insists that it might contain Martians or Communists and demands that he ignore it [a second twist!]; thus, Wundarr remains in his ship for a number of years, growing to physical maturity, though retaining the mind of a child [just about the worst idea ever... I've read (and reviewed) a number of Marvel Two-in-Ones in which Wundarr features as the Thing's sidekick, and the fact he's a moron is annoying in the highest degree]. Twenty years later, Wundarr is released, and the first creature he sees is Man-Thing, which he is convinced is his mother. He learns very quickly of his amazing strength and bests Man-Thing in battle. Man-Thing's continued attempts to be left alone result in Wundarr eventually deciding that Man-Thing is not his mother [SEE WHAT I MEAN?].

"With his great leaping ability [not unlike the Golden Age Superman's], he eventually reaches Hydro-Base, [...] Wundarr's leaps bring him down in New York City, where he encounters Ben Grimm walking home from a screening of Five Fingers of Death [AKA King Boxer WOO-HOO!]. [...]" And then it gets away from the Superman legend.

Well, unless you count his transformation into the Aquarian, a Jesus stand-in (see beard above) not unlike Superman's characterization in Superman Returns. But we don't like to talk about that...


Craig Oxbrow said...

I have a UK reprint of the issue where he becomes AQUARIAN. It's in black and white. Was his hair really purple? That actually makes it worse.

Robert said...

Actually, that sounds closer to normalman's origin. Is he coming?

Siskoid said...

Craig: I believe that is comic book for "auburn".

Robert: At some point!

Anonymous said...

Here's a real quibble about nothing! The placing of Smallville in Kansas is a strictly post-Crisis convention; prior to that, it wasn't clear where Smallville was, but it could easily have been in Maryland or Pennsylvania. One didn't see an endless plain of farms around Smallville; one was more likely to find fruit orchards, caves, and rivers.

So Aquarian's arriving in Florida was off, but having him arrive in Kansas would actually have been even more out-of-place.

Siskoid said...

You're right of course. The original Smallville was a sort of everytown, like the Simpsons' Springfield, or the towns seen in Dial H for Hero or Haney's Teen Titans.

Anonymous said...

Hey I just realized: Steve Gerber created both Wundarr the Aquarian and Thundarr the Barbarian.

Siskoid said...

Which is why I kept writing Wundarr the Barbarian and having to correct myself.


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