Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Since our last post I’ve gotten a couple of interesting responses to our maritime marvel, Seastorm.  His costume--what there is of it and the way it’s cut--seems to have raised a couple of eyebrows among my mates over at Facebook.  Now it’s time to learn some more about how this awesome ocean-goer came to be.  Take a deep breath and let’s jump in...

I think I’ve mentioned in prior posts that I sometimes look outside of comic books for ideas; for example, to film, books, magazines, music--and television.  It is to cable TV that I owe the starting point for the origin of Seastorm.  A while ago, I think it was on Animal Planet, there was a fictionalized “documentary” about the natural history of mermaids.  It was called Mermaids:  The Body Found, and it expounds on something called “the Aquatic Ape Theory”.  This theory--unsubstantiated, to be sure, but incredibly fascinating to think about--contends that at some point in Earth’s natural history a group of pre-human apes that lived near the sea began to gravitate back to the oceans and, over the eons, were naturally selected for a completely aquatic life!  This, then, is the actual origin of what we call mermaids.  According to the fictional account on the show, what humans have seen and mythologized as people who were fish from the waist down was actually a race of beings who were more like dolphins from the waist down.  (And don’t tell me you don’t know dolphins aren’t fish.  Come on, you’re smarter than that.)  The way this theory was presented and illustrated in the show got the engines in the ship of my mind charged up to full power.  Watching this show I couldn’t help but think, I have GOT to find some use for THIS!  And as it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet perfected my own oceanic hero, I naturally looked in the direction of this concept.

What it comes down to is something a bit like the first act of the movie 2001:  A Space Odyssey, except with prehistoric “aquatic apes” instead of land-dwelling primates.  And in place of the mind-stretching Monolith, Earth’s oceans all those millions of years ago became the home of something called a Farwanderer.  

The Farwanderers are among the most mysterious beings in the universe.  They are either completely noncorporeal, or they are noncorporeal life in artificial, semi-organic host forms.  Whatever they are, they are ancient beyond imagining.  They teleport themselves across interstellar space seeking out planets containing only pre-sentient life.  Once they find such a planet, they set about raising the consciousness and directing the evolution of the highest existing life form.  The Farwanderer that came to Earth chose to work on the aquatic apes.

Once in Earth’s oceans, the Farwanderer itself took the form of an immense, whale-like cybernetic organism, kind of a cross between a Grey Whale and the submarine Nautilus.  And as the aquatic apes evolved, losing their legs and developing a lower anatomy resembling that of a dolphin while becoming more human-like from the waist up, they lived under the guidance of the Farwanderer, which gradually enhanced their intelligence.  They created a civilization for themselves in the sea--but not one like what you see in Sub-Mariner and Aquaman stories.  It bothers me to see undersea civilizations in comic books where you can stand up and walk around or use furniture and utensils on the ocean floor as if you were still on land, and drapes and fabrics hang as if they were in air instead of water, and so forth.  I have an understanding with myself that if I have beings who live underwater it’s going to be more natural and logical than that, and it’s not going to work that way.  But I’m getting off track here.  The point is that these beings, whom we’ll call Cetusians for want of a better name, have a civilization in the ocean that is older than any civilization on land and even more advanced than our own.  

The Cetusians are without aggression beyond self-defense and have no interest in dominating nature or the planet.  They have only intelligence and curiosity.  With the help of the Farwanderer, they have learned to project their minds out of the ocean to explore both the far reaches of land and the depths of outer space.  The Farwanderer has shown them planets and parts of the universe that humans have not yet imagined.  And at times the Farwanderer has allowed some of them to take human form and move discreetly, secretly, among our kind to learn about us in person.  There have been humans throughout history who have unknowingly met and been acquainted with Cetusian explorers.  

And this is all very well and good, as you can surmise--until something happens.  What happens is the story to which so much of the Quantum Comics Universe links up:  the origin of the Environauts.  The invasion of the Ardemian Rief Clan threatens both the surface and the oceans of Earth until Lucky Vega, a.k.a. Lucky Star, and his friends repel the aliens.  But in the wake of the danger, the Farwanderer is disturbed.  Advanced as they are, the peaceful and pacifistic Cetusians would have been subjugated by the Rief if they had been discovered.  What if another such threat should arise and this time not even the Environauts could see it off?  Something, the Farwanderer reasons, must be done.  The Cetusians need a protector, but the Farwanderer is not willing to try to change the Cetusians’ nature to produce one.  It wants its proteges in Earth’s oceans to remain as they are.  Fortunately, the Farwanderer has other options.

In its travels, the Farwanderer has had occasion to study--discreetly--those humans who have ventured into the sea.  And sometimes it has come upon scenes of disaster where the sea has claimed human lives.  In its curiosity the Farwanderer has seen fit to collect samples of the DNA of humans who have perished this way, and store them away for study.  So it is that when it decides to create a champion for the Cetusians, the Farwanderer reaches into its store of human genomes and re-creates a human who lost his life in the depths.  It alters the subject and endows him with mighty powers--and creates a being who will be known as Seastorm!

The reconstruction is not perfect.  The Farwanderer’s creation has the now superhumanly empowered body of a human who died at sea, but the memories are badly corrupted and almost gone.  What Seastorm knows is that he is the creation of the Farwanderer and that he is the friend and protector of the Cetusians, the defender of Earth’s oceans, and the wielder of the powers of the sea and the tempest.  (Our last post includes the full rundown of his powers.)  When he tries to remember anything more about himself, he recovers only vague memories of a life on land, and of a name:  Jonas.  As you can tell from the way Seastorm is outfitted, the Farwanderer is not impressed with human taboos about the body.  Jonas shares Wild Jon’s aversion to excess clothing.

Nevertheless, everyone who encounters Seastorm--including the Environauts themselves, with whom he soon crosses paths--is duly impressed with him!  Whatever he’s wearing (or not wearing), this is a guy to be reckoned with.  Defy him at your peril!

Who was Jonas?  Where did he come from?  What was he doing at sea and how did he perish?  Is there anything of his life remaining on land?  Is there anyone alive who would even remember him?  Indeed, how long ago did he even live, and to what part of human history did he belong?  The answer is...I honestly don’t know yet; this is brand new material that will take a while to work itself out.  But I wanted to get it at least to the state I’ve described above because the idea has really taken hold and I wanted it officially worked out in some manner.  What I’ve determined so far is that Jonas was gay and there was a man he loved and lost.  Whether he’s alive now or where he is, remains to be seen.  But it appears that Jonas/Seastorm is going to have one thing in common with the other aquatic heroes before him:  he’s going to be pulled in two different directions, devoted to the sea and the Cetusians and the Farwanderer, but always drawn to life on the land.  And sometimes those two different callings will be in conflict.  (Indeed the way he dresses--or doesn’t dress--is likely to be a conflict in itself!)  All of which makes this pelagic powerhouse another fascinating addition to the Quantum cast.  As Herman Melville wrote:  “There is one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.”

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