event published by Marvel Comics
and running through the summer annuals for in 1989. The comics involved in this series were Silver Surfer Annual #2
, Iron Man Annual #2
, X-men Annual #13
, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23
, Punisher Annual #2
, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9
, Daredevil Annual #4
, Avengers Annual #18
, New Mutants Annual #5
, X-Factor Annual #4
, Web of Spider-Man Annual #5
, West Coast Avengers Annual #4
, Thor Annual #14
, and Fantastic Four Annual #22
The comics annual was a yearly event that usually involved a larger than usual story that did not generally fall into the normal continuity of the story. For years, comics readers have been treated to a large over-priced comic that contained a story about Spider-Man battling a street thug named Ace (who looked an awful lot like Prince), a pitch battle between the Avengers and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, or the wild shenanigans of the Justice League during the Booster Gold/Blue Beetle phase as they traveled from embassy to embassy. But in the late 80's, Marvel in its blind avarice decided that it would be a great idea to have all of their annuals linked by a common thread, a huge adventure that touched the lives of all of the heroes of that world. In other words, a crossover event that would force people reading a few comics to buy the annuals of all of the other comics in an attempt to bring some context to the annuals of their usual comics. The first such event was in 1988 and was called the Evolutionary War. It worked so well for them that they tried again in 1989 with the Atlantis Attacks! storyline.
Atlantis Attacks! brings together a number of different Marvel undersea elements that had been created over the years. Chief among these elements are the Atlanteans, the Lemurians, the Deviants and the Serpent Crown. The basic storyline involves a plot by the Deviant priest Ghaur and the Lemurian leader Llyra to summon the ancient god Set to the Earth. To this end, they are going to try and recreate the Serpent Crown. Their plot involves a number of disparent and elements and they or their agents come into conflict with a number of Earth's heroes.
The overall story arch is weak, making the individual story elements even weaker. Early in the storyline, Namor the Submariner, is seemingly killed, giving the series the illusion of having some bite to it and that there were going to be far reaching changes in it. Of course by the middle of the series, a mysterious figure is lurking in the backgrounds, aiding our heroes and we all know it is Namor, so it sort of removes the power of his supposed death. The types of threats are varied according to the power of the hero whose annual the story appears in. The Avengers are pitted against the entire Atlantean fleet as the land and attack Mahattan, but the Punisher is fighting drug dealers who are selling a designer drug that turns its users into reptile men. Probably the weakest of all of the annuals (and there is fierce competition for that honor) was the New Mutants annual, that involved the Atlanteans stealing a horn that would awaken and control a sea monster. Those that steal the horn bear a passing resemblence to the members of the New Mutants, so they are attacked by the Marvel Universe's newest super group, Namorita and the Atlantean mutants known as S.U.R.F. The lameness of S.U.R.F. was not helped by the fact that this was during the Rob Liefeld run on the New Mutants.
Throughout the series, Ghaur appears and places the mark of Set upon different female heroines. This plot line is later used in the some of the final chapters of the series as these women are taken control of and dubbed the brides of Set. They work for Ghaur against their fellow heroes in an attempt to bring Set back to Earth. They somewhat succeed, but it is only through the efforts of some boondoggle plot element in the Thor Annual, Set is destroyed by a god slayer creature called Demogorge the God Eater which Thor merges with. The final chapter has the Avengers and Fantastic Four rescuing the brides of Set from an undersea base and when they are about to be killed by a huge energy cannon, the Submariner reveals his lack of being dead and saves them all.