AQUAMAN #37, DC Comics, October 1997
Remember Genesis? It's the crossover event with the Godwave? Where every superpower ever is attributed to the Source or somesuch? The one written and drawn by John Byrne and promptly forgotten about because, well, that particular revelation really wasn't needed? Ah, NOW you remember. The details are fuzzy, but you remember. (I might as well have been talking to myself there.)
Anyway, the one memorable tie-in, for me, was Aquaman #37 by Peter David, with art by Calafiore and Palmiotti, in which an army of Parademons attack Atlantis. Genesis had all these New Gods running around and attacking Earth for our secret stash of super-powers. Or something. It's not important. What IS important is that this is one of those stories that shows you a different point of view, in this case, that of a Parademon.
In the opening scenes, we see just how Parademons are made. It's like anything. They come out of the factory, and sometimes, you get a defective one.
Didn't like his flying "form", that one. But our POV character is also defective. Meet 3g4. He's the shy one. And after Boom Tubing to Earth and falling out of the sky and onto a reef, he meets Aquaman.
The Parademon doesn't know how to interpret any of this, and since Poseidonis is under attack, Aquaman leaves. 3g4 follows and, getting the call to attack, does so. But then he stops and asks "why"? And he makes a choice. He jumps his supervisor, one named Topkick.
"3g4 has thought. He has existed. And then, a heartbeat later... he exists no more." You're from Apokolips, bitch. No one here gets to think! And that's it really. Cue portentous death scene.
What we have here is the story of the first sentient Parademon. A brief life, but a real life. The comic has the expected Aqua Soap Opera and fight scenes, but Peter David went a little beyond those expectations and threw in an existentialist science fiction concept and made us feel for the numberless, mindless hordes inhabiting all the other tie-in books. Genesis is gone and forgotten, but this story is still with me.Further reading: If you like "nameless soldier" stories, may I also recommended Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) #8? The story is called "Henchman" by Len Wein, with art by Paris Cullins and Dell Barras.