Gather around, my fellow Unspokenites, and let me tell you a tale! A tale of one of the coolest, yet frequently forgotten, characters in all of the Aquaman mythos! I speak of course of King Noble, ruler of the underdwelling people, the Lurkers. When I last left you, Aquaman and Noble had gotten into a fierce fight. A fight that Aquaman ultimately won. But when the sea king attempted to make the defeated Noble swear allegiance to him, the surrounding Lurkers pulled their weapons and took aim at the King of Atlantis!
Aquaman mentally commands Mera to strike now and strike hard! Mera musters all of her might and commands the very water within the Lurker ships to expand, exploding several vessels in their armada! Next, Tempest is let loose on the unsuspecting Lurker soldiers! First he tries to freeze the water around their bodies, but this does little as these creatures are used to the frigid depths of the ocean! He then changes strategy and blasts flame from his hands at them! That has the desired effect! This attack defeats several of the Lurker warriors! (And people thought Aqualad was lame. Well, the little boy has grown up to become a badass! It’s gotta be the facial tattoo. It makes Mike Tyson look stupid, but on Tempest, it just works!)
Finally, Aquaman gives the command for the Atlantean army to attack the Lurker soldiers! While the battle commences, King Noble gives a rallying speech to his people. There will be no surrender. (This part really reminded me of “Braveheart”. Minus Mel Gibson’s superior acting skills. You know, back when he had an acting career?) Noble turns and orders one of his people’s large war machines to open fire upon an Atlantean structure! The mighty spire collapses from the blast! Sharpened rubble propels downwards, toward a petrified Atlantean child! Surprisingly, Noble pulls the youth to safety at the last moment!
This action doesn’t go unnoticed. Mera, witnessing the whole thing, questions Noble. Why would one who brings war to Atlantis, save an Atlantean? He merely replies that the young one was innocent in all of this and does not deserve to become a victim in this fight. Mera, obviously shocked by this, attempts to reply. This is however cut short as a mentally-commanded whale slams into the King of the Lurkers with all of its tremendous bulk! Aquaman orders Mera to flee to safety, thanking her for this “distraction”. She opens her mouth to protest just as an enraged King Noble bursts back onto the scene! He roars about cowardice and deception! (I’ve gotta agree with the King here. Talk about a cheap move! Waiting until Aquaman was busy elsewhere in order to show off to his woman! How distasteful!)
King Noble hurls himself at Aquaman with unfathomable ferocity! The two udersea kings seem to shake the very foundations of the city around them as they trade mighty blows! That is until Aquaman makes the mistake of calling himself the king of all that resides below the water! Noble had not heard this boast until this very moment! He is now noticeably even more angry! How dare this man claim to be a king of something that he himself has ruled underneath of for the entirety of his life? He turns with a look of unbridled fury! (It’s really on now, folks! Aquaman’s in for the fight of a lifetime! And I mean a fight more difficult to win than the fight to tame that wild, long hair while it’s sopping wet!)
The fight continues. It rages from one end of the kingdom to the other! Neither of them holding anything back! Finally, while King Noble is distracted by a living wall of commanded fish, Aquaman leads the fight to his bed chambers. When Noble comes crashing through the wall, he finds his opponent armed with a new, seemingly cybernetic, golden hand! (Groovy! Did you youngins out there get that “Army of Darkness” quote? Let’s pretend you did so I don’t weep over how ancient I’ve become. Deal?) The King of Atlantis strikes the King of the Lurkers with such force, that he actually momentarily stuns him! He then uses this opportunity to begin forcing Noble towards the surface world above!
Mera ponders out loud, what could the Sea King’s ultimate goal be? Tempest answers that it appears as though his mentor means to see how Noble handles a serious case of the bends! Noble howls in pain as he clutches his skull, in agony from the sudden change in pressure! It’s then that Aquaman stops. Instead of killing this powerful enemy, he talks sense into him! They both obviously care a great deal for their respective people, but this pointless fight needs to end. Noble seems utterly shocked as his foe lowers him back to Atlantis. (Awww! Makes you feel warm all over, doesn’t it? Unless someone just peed in all of this water…..)
A short time passes. Both kings shake hands. Aquaman declares that not only will Noble continue to lead the Lurkers, he is making him his right hand! Shocked but touched by this sign of respect and friendship, he accepts. Well, that’s it. Who’s to say that comic books can’t have a happy ending? And I’m sure that the two undersea kings’ friendship will be a strong and lasting thing for years to come. In fact, let’s peek ahead at a cover of Aquaman just a few months later……
So, does he just talk to fish? Sadly, that’s all that enters most people’s minds when they think of Aquaman. The guy rules nearly three fourths of the planet, can rip open a tank with his bare hands, and has skin that’s tough enough to withstand the intense pressure of the lowest depths of the oceanic floor! All of this, and you’re all concerned with his power to telepathically communicate with aquatic lifeforms?! For shame! Anywho, that being said, this article isn’t really even about Aquaman. It’s about a rival to his throne that most fans have all but forgotten. This is the tale of King Noble…..
Our story begins with a celebration. The King of Atlantis not only celebrates the day of his birth, but the recent completion of his rebuilt cities. Many come to rejoice in the glory of the new undersea kingdom as well as Aquaman’s birthday. Yes. It is most certainly a day of happiness. But not all are as pleased. Sinister eyes flash with anger in the darkest depths. (Uh-oh. Looks like someone doesn’t like loud parties. I can relate at my age. Damn kids and their hippity hop music!)
With a kingly speech, Aquaman proclaims the new Atlantis officially complete! That’s when the explosions begin! The mighty domes that cover the cities explode into shards, raining down upon the amassed people below! The king looks to the source of this destruction and his gaze is met by the emergence of a heavily-armored and well-armed army of attackers! (Man, Princess Ariel’s dad’s gonna be really peeved!)
This is far from Aquaman’s first rodeo. The ruler in him immediately takes over. He goes into king/superhero mode and begins giving orders to his loyal compatriots on how to best retaliate against this savage onslaught. He then turns his attention to protecting his people. When this is attended to, he demands an audience with the leader of this terrorist group. He doesn’t have long to wait. The leader fearlessly approaches! (It’s on like Donkey Kong! That reference is a bit dated. Umm. It’s on like Call of Duty! There! I’m hip.)
The gray-skinned man says that he is known as King Noble and that the Atlanteans are not wanted in what is their domain. Aquaman replies in anger that this has been the home to his people for time untold. Noble merely says that his people, the Lurkers, have existed beneath this place since before the Atlanteans’ arrival here and that the recent encroachment upon their land has incurred their wrath. Shocked by this, Aquaman demonstrates how the very creatures of the deep obey his very thoughts. Is this not a sign that not only he, but his people were meant for this place? Noble answers with a fist to the King of Atlantis’ face! (Yeah. Way to prove your point, Arthur. I can get a house cat to come to me, but I’d hardly say that I’m destined to be Lord of the Cats! Or should I? Hmmm…..)
The mighty blow staggers Aquaman! But he has fought more battles in his life than he could possibly count. Recovering quickly, he fires his harpoon hand at Noble! The cable attached almost ensnares the King of the Lurkers, but he grabs hold quickly and, with a powerful yank, snaps the cable! (Aquaman had better watch out! Next Noble may just punch a hole into the aquatic superhero’s metal bra just for kicks!) Aquaman turns and swims towards a nearby power station. Seemingly having boxed himself in, Noble swims at him like a torpedo, ready for the kill! At the last moment, Aquaman moves, causing Noble to crash into the complex equipment! He is electrified into unconsciousness! Aquaman then grabs the fallen king by his hair and demands that he swear aligence to him! The Lurkers have other ideas as they ready their weapons in defense of their downed ruler!
Greetings and salutations, Denizens of the Unspoken Universe! The Symbifan is back in the hizzy! (That’s my failed attempt at humor. Don’t worry. There’s more to come.) I thought I’d return to the Marvel Universe for this article. But not the Marvel Universe you know and love. No. For this particular article, I dare to ask the question…….”What if?”
This story begins as most tales of alternate realities begin, with the Watcher! The Watcher is a cosmic being blessed/cursed to bear witness to important events in the history of the Marvel Universe, yet he can never intervene, no matter how much he is compelled to. (So he’s pretty much a godlike peeping tom with excuses as to why he can’t step up like a real man. Oh! Burn!) But the Watcher not only sees one universe, he sees all of them from his hidden perch atop the Earth’s moon. It seems that in most cases, history can and will change drastically as the result of one single changed event. Like so…..
In the Marvel Universe we know a frail, yet patriotic, young man from Brooklyn, Steve Rogers, would become the only super soldier when the scientist who created the unique serum, Dr. Erskine, was shot to death by a German spy. But things in this universe went down slightly different as Rogers was fast enough to push his creator to safety, causing the bullet to miss its intended target! This moment would change this universe forevermore. (You ever try to say “super soldier serum” five times fast? It’s impossible! Did you try it just now? Ha! Made you do stuff!)
The U.S. government would now go on to create severel more super soldiers with Rogers, AKA Captain America, and a young Nick Fury leading them. Before long, World War II was at an end, with America being the ultimate victor of the conflict. The war over, Rogers and Fury began their long journey home. However, their ship was attacked by some remaining Nazi U-boats. Only Steve would survive to return to the States. (Seems a bit shifty to me. Hmmm.)
Steve Rogers would return as the biggest hero in American history. He would go on to create more super soldiers to serve in his world police force, S.H.I.E.L.D. His popularity grew until he was even elected as President for an unheard of three consecutive terms. It all seemed like the beginning of a fantastic new era for America. But all was not as it seemed. President Rogers had a twisted idea of “human perfection”. His ideas of a “master race” mirrored Nazi beliefs as his men began to exterminate not only those that he saw as potential superhuman threats to his dream, but citizens that were deemed as “undesirables”! (Like people that don’t reply when you say, “Excuse me.” Ugh! That really toasts my buns!)
One of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most feared soldiers/hunters was a man named Frank Castle. He wears devastatingly powerful armor, created by a man named Tony Stark. With it, hes been dubbed the Iron Man. It’s during his mission to execute the famed Sub-Mariner in the North Atlantic that a startling discovery is made…..a block of ice that seemed to contain the frozen body of Captain America! (Cap just seems to be destined to enter the new world with horrible brain freeze no matter what!)
Iron Man uses Namor’s confusion to his advantage, stunning him with several repulsor blasts. He then hauls The Sub-Mariner and the frozen man onto a waiting S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft. Namor is placed within a containment cell while a quickly-melting Captain America is laid out on a slab. Castle gets involved in a heated conversation with the two super soldier pilots, making him completely unaware that the man dressed in red, white, and blue has opened his eyes! (It’s on now! Yeah! Go, Cap! Sorry. I got a little too hyped there. It’s all of the caffeine admittedly.)
Captain America’s time frozen in ice has done little in slowing his fighting prowess! He quickly not only disarms and defeats the soldiers, but Iron Man as well! He then quickly frees the aquatic prisoner. They move in on Castle. Cap is quickly brought up to speed on the recent state of his beloved country and that it seems as though he is the cause of all of this horror by Namor. Castle states that he was only following orders as Cap is his childhood hero. Rogers then asks if this is the America that Frank truly wants to fight for. His reply is to incinerate the two super soldiers! Namor flies into a frenzy! This man can hardly be trusted! Captain America separates the two and states that they all have a common goal here. If this war is to be won, they will all need to work together. Both men agree and the Avengers are born! (Frank Castle with Iron Man armor is the stuff of nightmares. Just sayin’.)
The trio commandeer the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft and use the computer systems aboard to search for others with extraordinary skills to aid them in their cause. This search takes them to the vast wilderness of the world’s 51st. state, Canada. They exit the ship and it doesn’t take long before they find the one they’re looking for, a mysterious man from Cap’s past that goes by the name, Logan. Logan wastes zero time for pleasantries, but instead attacks! As he fights, his body goes through a strange metamorphosis, sprouting long, white hair all over a huge, monstrous form! (Hey! My hair’s turned white too. I want super strength to go along with it! Of course, my hair’s the side-effect of raising two teenagers.)
The Avengers throw everything at the rampaging beast, but to no avail! Logan roars that he’ll destroy anyone who works with a monster like Steve Rogers! That’s when Cap finally says that he’s the real Captain America and that if he joins them, there will be no shortage of super soldiers to maim and kill. And just like that, Logan replies that he is now known as the Hulk and that he’ll join them. (That didn’t take long. I don’t want to say that Wolverine’s a psycho, but maybe some medication wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.)
Unfortunately, the Avengers would arrive too late to recruit their next man. Hank Pym and his wife had been murdered. Their bodies still lie on the floor. But before they can take their leave, Iron Man catches a burglar as he’s breaking into the house! The burglar says that his name is Sam Wilson and that he detests having to steal in order to live. But in this country, a black man’s lucky not to be sent to a death camp, let alone get honest work. Captain America is then struck with inspiration. He hands Wilson one of Pym’s costumes and pills that Pym was going to use to alter his size. Sam takes these items and becomes the mighty Giant Man! (What’s that you say? Where’s Scott Lang to take up the mantle, like in the Ant-Man movies? Isn’t Pym supposed to be an old man? Read a comic, people! Damn!)
(I omitted a part here involving Magneto that I felt served no purpose to the present story. I am not, nor have I ever been, a mutant-hater. That is all.) The team uses Castle’s security clearance to gain access to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. But as they rush by, they witnesses great power humming within a nearby room. Looking in, they see a man with long, blonde hair and body armor, shackled with energy cuffs! The super soldiers are seemingly attempting to drain not only him, but the power from a large hammer held firmly in his grip! Cap and his allies spring into action, fighting off the soldiers and freeing the prisoner! He claims that he is the Norse god, Thor, and he will help them.
While more super soldiers enter the room, Iron Man shouts that Cap needs to find the room that holds the super soldier serum and destroy it. With the heroes covering his escape, he follows Castle’s directions to navigate the humongous helicarrier. He finds many soldiers along the way, but always he triumphs and moves ever onward. Soon, he finds the lock to the correct door. He scans his fingerprints. The device confirms that he is the President of the United States and opens. Inside, even Captain America must gasp. Standing there is none other than his un-aged creator, Dr. Erskine! (Crap! I want some of that de-aging serum! I pop more than Rice Crispies when I stand up!)
Cap approaches the older man. To his surprise, the good doctor is beyond pleased to see him. He comments how proud he is of him and his good work. How his serum helped in saving America. That’s when the forlorn superhero turns on a wall of television screens. The several news channels report on the horror that the United States has truly become. And at the center of it all, President Steve Rogers. Dr. Erskine then drops to his knees and sobs. He had been blissfully unaware of the outside world for decades. This sad moment is interrupted however by the sudden appearance of President “Steve Rogers” with a loaded gun! (That’s heartbreaking. Decades with no t.v.? How can he be expected to keep up with the such educational programs like DC’s Peacemaker, starring John Cena? Those monsters!)
Captain America doesn’t have to wait long for an explanation on just who his doppelganger is. He is none other than the Red Skull! The Skull was thought dead near the end of World War II, but he had his top scientist place his mind into a cloned body of Rogers! He then ordered Nazi U-boats to fire upon Cap and Nick Fury’s ship, trading places with the real Captain America in the confusion! The rest, as they say, is history. (Don’t you just love when the villain explains their entire master plan? It’s idiotic in practice, but us readers enjoy the explanation. Villains: Catching up slow comic fans since forever. Amen.) The Red Skull then tells a distraught Dr. Erskine that he’s no longer needed. The Skull has figured out the super soldier serum for himself!
The Red Skull aims the handgun directly at Cap’s face! But Erskine moves suddenly in front of the hero, taking a bullet to the chest! A bullet that perhaps should have hit its target so very long ago. (As Metallica might say, “Sad But True”. What? I already admitted earlier that I was old!) Enraged, Captain America throws himself at his evil double! The two scuffle until the true patriotic super soldier picks up the cloned madman and hurles him into a power generator! The body convulses and sizzles until it falls lifeless to the floor! But the threat has not yet ended. Cap returns to his allies. The battle continues to rage between super soldiers and the Avengers!
More and more heavily-armed super soldiers continue to flood into the room! The heroes know in their hearts that they won’t survive this fight. But, like true warriors, they’ll go down fighting! That’s when Captain America calls out a battle cry that seems to empower his loyal comrades, “Avengers assemble!”
Time passes as time does, and America slowly begins to become what it was meant to be, a home for people of all races and religions to come together as one people. And though the heroes that fought to make this dream a working reality once again perished during that epic battle so long ago, the people will never forget their sacrifice.
Well, that’s it. With this story now concluded, this very tired Symbifan is gonna go to bed. Later, alligators! After awhile, Loki Crocodiles! Lol! Until next time.