The Pirates Of Dark Water #2
Marvel Comics (December, 1991)
“The First Treasure”
TELEPLAY: Kelly Ward, Mark Young, & Flint Dille
ADAPTATION: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
PENCILER: Bruce Zick
INKER: Rick Magyar
COLORIST: Renee Witterstaetter
LETTERER: John Costanza
EDITOR: Rob Tokar
Allomar sacrifices himself to allow Ren and Niddler to escape with the magic compass that will lead them to the 13 Treasures Of Rule. Arriving in a seafaring town, our heroes trick a sailor named Ioz into taking them out in his ship, the Wraith…which they actually all just stole. Sneaking aboard is Tula, a waitress at the tavern who is no stranger to sailing. They don’t have time to worry about their stowaway because they’ve found the first treasure in a very dangerous location and Bloth has found them. They narrowly escape with the jewel as they learn the Wraith can actually float in the air when their sail is positioned just right. However, there are 12 Treasures left to go and Bloth is right behind them. Plus can this group really trust each other?
What they got right: This is not an immediately strong team considering their strangers who just met on a somewhat inhospitable occasion and world. Ioz wants money, Niddler wants to eat, Tula seeks adventures (although as we’ll learn she has another goal too), and Ren is fixated on saving his homeland. We’ll have to see them come together and actually forge a friendship as the miniseries goes on.
What they got wrong: I don’t know why they changed the name from Dark Water to The Pirates Of Dark Water. Ioz is the only actual pirate among the hero crew and they’re the focus, not the actual pirates. The art is closer to the show’s style but there’s still too much darker colors and shading, even for the first five episodes.
Other Notes: If you remember the show you may remember Tula was an ecomancer, someone who could control nature, or at least the stuff on the ground, which seems a bit useless when you’re on the water all the time. This was not introduced in the Fox miniseries but almost immediately in the ABC full series and I didn’t care for the change. Not because it gave Tula powers (even if she didn’t need them) but because they softened her character a bit too much when then did. Tula was just fine the way she was in the miniseries.
Recommendation: The comic is serving as a decent introduction to the series but I recommend tracking down the series instead. It is available on home video.