Review by Frank Plowright
It’s probably no longer relevant, but Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was based on an early 1990s computer game, accounting for game designers Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein’s writing credits alongside William Messner-Loebs.
A likeness of Harrison Ford is seemingly allowed on Dave Dorman’s cover, but wasn’t on the agenda when Dan Barry draw Fate of Atlantis. He designs a credible replacement in the brown suit and ubiquitous 1930s hat, with the same cheery charm. Barry’s long career drawing newspaper strips is evident in the polished storytelling, and the natural way of bringing people to life and moving them about. They’re placed in fully rendered environments accompanied by meticulous period detail, which applies whether it’s a 1930s American city or an ancient Mayan temple. Barry needed to research plenty of other locations in a pre-internet era to follow Indy’s globetrotting.
From the second chapter Barry also co-plots, and as searching for the ancient lost continent of Atlantis is just the type of mission to get the pulse of an adventurous archaeologist racing, Indy becomes involved when asked to identify a key by a foreign visitor to his college class. He does better than identifying it, as he possesses the artefact it opens, at least as the story starts. He’s rapidly involved in a world of Nazis with guns, a tour around the world and a race against time.
Fate of Atlantis doesn’t depart very far from the cinema adventure template, and that’s the way we surely want it. Indy is accompanied by a glamorous mystical archaeologist, the Nazis present a constant threat, and there’s even a scene of Indy using a whip to good effect. The multiple locations hunting for clues presumably follow the original game pattern, and by the final chapter everything seems to be falling into place. True to the spirit of the films, though, not everything is done and dusted.
While Marvel’s earlier Indiana Jones series featured viable plots, the art only rarely matched their ambition, but this is the real deal, thrilling from start to finish and including everything you’d want from an Indiana Jones story. In 2008 Fate of Atlantis was combined with two other stories in the first Indiana Jones Omnibus.