Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1989 – Atlantis Attacks!

In the summer of 1989, Marvel applied a similar premise to the Evolutionary War and rolled out the Atlantis Attacks annual crossover. This crossover event surpassed the previous year’s effort running through 14 annuals and calling on the talents of at least 10 writers and a horde of artists. Unfortunately, the combined talents of Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, and John Byrne weren’t enough to save this event.

The overall story line suffered as each annual’s quality varies greatly. The plot was stretched too thin to incorporate a wide variety of heroes, from urban vigilantes, like Spider-Man, Punisher, and Daredevil, to cosmic crusaders, like Thor and the Silver Surfer.

Ghaur, the priest king of an ancient race that worshiped the elder god Set, put a deadly plan into motion that would see the return of his banished god. He collected pieces of an artifact called the Serpent Crown that would allow Set to return to the Earth. Ghaur allied himself with Attuma the warlord of the underwater realm of Atlantis and launched a full-scale attack on the surface world. The heroes repelled the invasion and realized what Ghaur planned to do. They interrupted Ghaur’s attempt to summon Set and drove the elder god of evil back into banishment.

Marvel historian Peter Sanderson weeded through twenty years of Marvel history and put together a 14-part summary of Set’s origins and the legacy of the Serpent Crown. Unlike the Evolutionary War, these annuals had short features tied-in to the ongoing series. Most of these features are forgettable, but a few stood out featuring art by Bo Hampton, Whilce Portacio, and John Byrne.

By the end of the series, Marvel realized how unmanageable the ambitious effort truly was and broke up the next year’s annual event into several mini-crossovers.

Atlantis Attacks ran through the following annuals:
- Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23
- Avengers Annual #18
- Avengers West Coast Annual #4
- Daredevil Annual #4
-Fantastic Four Annual #22
- Iron Man Annual #10
- New Mutants Annual #5
- Punisher Annual #2
- Silver Surfer Annual #2
-Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #7
-The Mighty Thor Annual #14
-Uncanny X-Men Annual #13
-Web of Spider-Man Annual #5
-X-Factor Annual #4

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