Issue by Issue – Man From Atlantis #1

Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artists – Tom Sutton, Frank Robbins
Inker – Sonny Trinidad, The Tribe
Colours – Janice Cohen
Letters – Joe Rosen, John Costanza

In this first issue of Man From Atlantis released in 1978, there are two stories, the first of which not only sends Mark Harris on an adventure under the sea but details his origin as well. It is even more interesting that writer Bill Mantlo ties the two together as an ancient ship is found deep beneath the waves and looks to be Atlantean in origin. For Mark, he is more than curious as this could very well lead him to his people should any remain for he has never met anymore like him, as far as he remembers that is. Having amnesia after being found unconscious, he is soon revived thanks to the efforts of Dr. Elizabeth Merrill though his memory would be the one casualty of whatever happened to him. Mantlo lays out everything that the newly-dubbed Mark Harris has been through during his time with Elizabeth and Mantlo then holds the attention of the reader by painting it with an air of mystery, those hints of Atlantis beckoning an explanation that has yet to come. Soon a villain makes himself known, a pirate looking to get a little treasure who then decides that a ‘man-fish’ might bring in even more money leading to a battle like none seen before. When all is said and done, Mark comes out on top, not that there were any doubt as to the outcome and he saves his friends in the process. This first story introduces everything one needs to know about the lead, the supporting cast and just what it is the book is about with Mantlo doing a great job of it. Joining the author is Tom Sutton and Sonny Trinidad who do a fantastic job of bringing it to life and it is hopeful that they remain with the title as it moves forward. A second story also by Mantlo and drawn by Frank Robbins finds Mark out at sea once more and enjoying the merriment of a school of dolphins. Mark decides to join them for a swim but things take a turn when a blue whale shows up, one sporting wounds of old and now being hunted by a madman. The dolphins are frantic and the whale is scared for it knows that its time might be coming to an end when they are chased over a barrier reef where they become trapped, Mark knows that he is going to have to do something before tragedy strikes. Mantlo gives readers a bit of the villain’s past, that he was a child when his father hunted the whale and that things did not go according to plan on said expedition. The child would be maimed and yet survive, growing up to be this strange, robotic Captain Ahab that has one thing and only one thing on his mind. His madness is frightening but Mark will not be deterred, he will save the whale and in the end, though it was sad in a way, he did just that. Altogether, this double-sized first issue would fire on all cylinders and introduce readers to this new world and this new hero, whether they watched the show or not and leave a satisfying feeling with those who would read it and leave them wanting more. An excellent start.

4 out of 5

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