Last week I posted what I had intended to be a series of posts based on a game I play sometimes with a few of my writer friends--essentially "If they'd ever let me write" such and such a character, here's what I'd do. Last week I took one of my favorite classic characters, Martian Manhunter, and proposed an ongoing series for him. I had every intention of posting Part 2 sooner, but oddly enough, I got some news that required my more immediate attention:
We've announced that the second book involving the Indestructibles is in the works, and we're hoping for a late Fall launch. So basically I've spent this past week at the computer hammering out the first quarter of the the book. It's been fun seeing what these young heroes get up to after their first adventure. More to follow on this in the weeks to come.
But since I can't reveal much about the story of the Indestructibles Book 2 (No Spoilers!) I'll go ahead an post episode two of "If they let me write..." This week's subject is: Aquaman. That's right. A fan favorite who is often a laughing stock, Aquaman deserves his turn in the sun, and here is how I'd do it.
If they let me write Aquaman for TV
Atlanteans are eco-terrorists.
Humanity is destroying their kingdom. Their planet. They are preparing to go to war, an alien and unstoppable culture which has been the slumbering giant of earth's superpowers for thousands of years. Like something out of a Lovecraft story, strange men are rising up out of the sea, sinking warships, murdering fishing vessels.
An aircraft carrier is torn wholesale beneath the waves on a Wednesday morning. Not a single human being aboard the craft is ever seen again. And all of its ordinance has been taken.
The next day, three nuclear submarines disappear without a trace.
Oil rigs are attacked in the night. The contents of their drilling gone. Their workers nailed to walls with coral-like knives. Written on the side of one massive oil tank: "The sea is ours."
Manning a lighthouse for his dying father, Arthur Curry does not yet know he is the only who can stop this from happening.
At night, Arthur dreams of the sea. He sees through the eyes of dolphins as they ride the wakes of ships. He feels the cold waters of deep trenches where sharks stalk prey.
When he hears whalesongs, he understands the words.
Arthur thinks he's losing his mind. He tells no one of these dreams.
One night, a dream wakes him. He had been seeing through the eyes of a sea lion, dancing in the currents. A vast maw of teeth rose into his vision. He felt a thousand stings as those teeth tore into his body. He felt the sea lion dying. It wakes Arthur from his sleep. He walks down to the water, careful not to awaken his father. He sits in the sand, staring out at the sea.
And he wonders if he is still dreaming when a woman rises from the waves, her skin pearly white, her face so similar to his own. She knows his name.
"Arthur, my son. You are unique in this world, and we need you. We need you before it's too late for all of us."
Basic premise: war is coming between the Atlanteans and the surface dwellers. The Altanteans plan to use our own weapons against us. Between oil spills, nuclear accidents, overfishing, and global warming, we have all but destroyed their world and they see extermination as the only option.
Arthur Curry (we never call him Aquaman) is the only living half-breed between man and Atlantean, an ill-planned love affair between a sailor and a princess of Atlantis who fell in love with the sky. He can breath air and water; is incredibly strong; is nearly bulletproof and heals at a remarkable rate. He will live hundreds of years if the world doesn't kill him first. He doesn't control sea life in the classic sense but he can jump into their bodies (like wargs from Game of Thrones, really), taking temporary control of any beast in the ocean.
It will be his job to bring both worlds together before there's nothing left for either of them. Opposing him are the hardliners on both sides, and by his side is a young Atlantean named Mera and a lunatic who calls himself King Shark, who is both friend and enemy...
Season 1: focuses on Arthur's dual nature and the fact that neither culture wants him. He was raised on the surface and feels some loyalty to protect them. Through his heroism, he earns the begrudging respect of the Atlanteans and is able to broker a temporary peace...
Season 2: Shattered by Ocean Lord, who ascends the Throne of Atlantis and targets the surface for war once again. In a medieval challenge for control, Arthur must battle his birthright and become King of Atlantis. He does this, defeating his half-brother, just in time to...
Season 3: See himself betrayed by the surface. A cabal of corporations and government agencies work to remove the Atlanteans from the equation entirely. Arthur sees all of his work torn apart by greed and ignorance. He heads his Atlanteans against these surface dwelling threats, but when they are defeated...
Season 4: He finds himself disappointed with both sides of his nature. With a small group of companions, Arthur heads deeper into the ocean to find himself and perhaps a way to unite both sides of the conflict, or to never return and let the two sides destroy each other.
Throughout the series costumed enemies will be rare. Threats will be larger in scale, as he has to work against the mundane but dangerous surface dwellers and the brutal yet elegant intrigue of Atlantis. In the end Arthur is a simple man who is thrust into the role of king and savior, a role he never wears well.
So what do you think--does Aquaman deserve a shot? Or better yet... is there room in the Indestructibles world for its own Atlantean adventures?
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.