Who's Arion?

Who's This? The Sorcerer Lord of Atlantis.
The facts: Like a lot of DC's fantasy stars, Arion got his start in the back of Warlord (in his case, issue 55 to 62, a good 8 months) before springing into his own series spanning 35 issues and a Special. He was a sorcerer who protected the ancient, then land-bound kingdom of Atlantis 50,000 years ago, and was created by Paul Kupperberg and Jan Duursema. In the early 90s, a six-issue mini-series dubbed Arion the Immortal had the character survive to the present-day, but not much came of it, and he appeared sparingly on through Infinite Crisis. Oh, and in the post-Crisis continuity, he was notoriously made Power Girl's grandfather, trading her Kryptonian forebears for Atlantean ones.
How you could have heard of him: In Rebirth, he shows up in Blue Beetle as a villain-god driven mad by the Scarab, because of course he does.
Example story: Warlord #55 (March 1982) "Atlantis!" by Paul Kupperberg and Jan Duursema
This time around, I wanted to see the promise of the character and his world from their very first appearance. Was it all there from the get-go?

First page, and already I understand the series better.
This is an Atlantis that's facing an encroaching Ice Age. Other antediluvian cultures are becoming refugees (which explains the various ethnicities that are part of the series, like Lady Chian and Wynnde) or else trying to take the city by force, which includes outmatched cavemen. Outmatched, but only because of Arion's sorcery. Otherwise, they're tough warriors and large in number. Given human populations 45,000 years ago, that must mean there aren't a TON of people in Atlantis. So Arion launches his cool crystal-star logo at them whenever they get too rowdy (without a doubt the most iconic thing Duursema has created for the series).

But something's been happening to Arion, because his magic weakens him with every spell like never before. His mentor Calculha is dead and gone, there are no answers. Doesn't excuse his rude behavior to Lady Chian though.
Oh, truth bombs! But Arion is too far up his own butt to see the lady doth love him! Next stop: King D'Tilluh, who asks him to read the Oracle of Choloh to see what can be done about the day's troubles. Instead, the spirit of Calculha visits him and speaks of a destiny. Arion goes off to rest, but as he does, the city is once more assailed... this time by dinosaurs!
The Atlanteans had Jurassic Parks, and I can't fault them for that. Now that civilization is crumbling, the anachronistic beasts have gotten out. I love a good dinosaur brawl. (Also note that on this page we find out Atlantis has advanced technology, but the power source is magic!) Arion goes after them, but his magic fails him and he gets nose-bumped by a T-Rex and falls. The guards start blasting the bigger thunder lizards, but Arion gets charged by a big raptor type. No worries, dude is a full-service fantasy hero, like Elric.
Sword don't talk, though. So that's the first chapter ended, and based on this, had I been a Warlord reader at the time, I think I would have looked forward to the next chapters. I was, as a teenager, quite interested in sword and sorcery (because of my D&D hobby), but never found my joy in sword and sorcery COMICS, only novels and RPGs. It's possible I never had the chance to get in on the ground floor with any of DC's books, and they seemed a little opaque to me in the few issues I bought off the stands in the mid-80s. Looking at it with fresher but older eyes, Arion's Atlantis has a lot of potential, though starting your story with the hero's loss of power feels a little counter-intuitive. As a modern reader, the purple prose IS something of a hurdle, however.

Who's Next? Gotham's porous mental institution.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine