Cresting a wave of recent news that the new Aquaman sequel will bring back Patrick Wilson's turbulent Ocean Master character, DC Comics has forecast its next villain-fueled one-shot with the regal underwater baddie King Orm — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive peek at the watery interiors.
Written by Dan Watters and drowned in gorgeous art by Miguel Mendonca and Ivan Plascencia, Ocean Master: Year of the Villain #1 arrives Dec. 11 and continues DC's year-long focus on Apex Lex bestowing godlike powers on a wide range of DCU characters, including Sinestro, the Riddler, Black Adam, the Joker, and many more.
Lex Luthor’s spiritual awakenings as to Mankind's greater potential is driving this crossover event set in the aftermath of Dark Nights Metal, centering on Lex preaching his enlightened message across the villain-verse and gathering a more formidable Legion of Doom.
The plotline resumes as evil waters have receded and Orm Marius loses nearly everything following the epic events of “Drowned Earth” — his crown, his love, and most of all his freedom. Now, in the conflicted battle between the depths of justice and doom, Ocean Master struggles to find his place again. So don’t count him out of the game yet, as Orm is poised to prove exactly what makes him the one and only King of the Seven Seas when he encounters a new power that changes the tide forever!
Watters was thrilled to dip into this Ocean Master project because he is "so damn much fun."
"Orm is petulant, self-entitled, and murderous, while also being extremely baroque and sentimental," Watters explains to SYFY WIRE. "He loves and hates so very deeply and is willing to do such terrible things in the name of either.
"We start with Orm brought down, degraded, and alienated from Atlantis," he notes. "We see the home he found on land, where he’ll be forced to forge a new place for himself in the world. And he will do so via all the aforementioned petulance and self-entitlement. I wanted to see Orm at his very lowest, and his highest, so we’re giving him everything he’s ever wanted and seeing how that compels him to act. I would put my money on ‘still like a horrible sod.’"
Mendonca's goal via his artwork was to depict Orm looking very powerful but also show his emotional and sometimes vulnerable side.
"This was something that I felt I should nail to make the character feel real," he tells SYFY WIRE. "For me, it's the base of the character, and if it doesn't work, everything else comes tumbling down. So I've put great effort into making the emotional pages feel intense and genuine. Also, I tried to give a mystical appearance to the places Orm visits, influenced of course by the fantastic descriptions in Dan's script. Ivan Plascencia's beautiful colors also accentuate these scenes.
"I think Orm has deserved a book like this for a long time," Mendonca adds. "Besides his villainous side that works so well as an Aquaman foe, you can actually find some humanity behind the curtain of his evil doings. I hope Aquaman fans will identify with his internal fight, his struggle between doing what he feels is his duty as an Atlantean King and protecting his family. This makes him a really compelling, powerful, and at many times, underrated character."
Dive into our exclusive look at DC Comics' Year of the Villain: Ocean Master #1, matched with an eruptive cover by Francesco Mattina, in the full gallery below, then tell us if King Orm deserves a place at the villains' table ahead of his re-emergence in Aquaman 2.