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Dr. Starbuck was created by Nick Cardy and Bob Haney.

Major Story Arcs


Doctor Starbuck, for reasons unknown, held great disdain for life as a common surface dweller, and dreamed of a life beneath the waves. To that end, he worked out a process to extract oxygen from sea water, using osmotic filter membranes inserted into the lungs. Dr. Starbuck tested his invention on a large sea eagle, he called "Krakka", and a gorilla called "Boduhr". When both creatures had spent three hours breathing normally under water, Dr. Starbuck implanted the membranes into his own lungs, and turned his back on the surface world forever.

A chance encounter with Aquaman and Aqualad provided Dr. Starbuck with an opportunity to save the lives of the two heroes, after they had been buried in a coral mountain avalanche. The grateful Sea King allowed Dr. Starbuck, and his aquatic animal servants entry into Atlantis, a boon never before granted to any surface dweller. At the conclusion of a brief tour of the underwater city, Aquaman bestowed upon Dr. Starbuck honorary Atlantean citizen status, then took him on as his chief advisor. Dr. Starbuck saw great opportunity in his newfound position. When Aquaman and Aqualad were called away on a rescue mission, Dr. Starbuck instructed his gorilla servant, Boduhr, to ambush the two heroes. The attack was carried out in such a way that Aquaman and Aqualad ended up falling into the inescapable Dungeon Depths, a deep water pit used by the Atlanteans for imprisoning criminals. The disappearance of the two heroes prompts Queen Mera to abandon her throne, so that she may search for her husband, and his young companion. Mera places her infant son on the Atlantean throne to rule in her stead. She then elevates Dr. Starbuck's status to Regent, so that he may make the day-to-day decisions regarding the rule of Atlantis, in her son's name. With the city under his charge, Dr. Starbuck makes sure that Mera, too, is incapacitated, drugging her and locking her away.

Not long after, in his capacity as Regent, Dr. Starbuck sends a contingent of Atlantens to the surface, led by his pets, Boduhr and Krakka, to attack the desalinization plant at Point Hope. When the Atlanteans question his reasoning for the attack, he informs them that the desalinization process not only removes salt from the sea, but also minerals and nutrients vital to Atlantean farmers. Dr. Starbuck insists that he is only taking action, in the name of the infant ruler of Atlantis, that will preserve the well-being and security of the citizens of Atlantis. The Atlanteans seem placated by this rationalization. Soon enough, they undertake another attack on the surface world, at the behest of Dr. Starbuck. This time they assist Boduhr and Krakka in attacking a nuclear submarine. The submarine manages to escape the attack relatively unscathed. Dr. Starbuck is furious at the the Atlanteans failure. He sends them out again to sink any docked Navy ships.

Dr. Starbuck's continued attacks on the surface world bring the wrath of the US Navy down on Atlantis. A situation only exacerbated by his taking of Navy divers as prisoners. When one such diver turns out to be Aquaman in disguise, Dr. Starbuck attempts to paint the monarch as a traitor to his realm, declaring him in league with the Naval forces arrayed against Atlantis. Just as Dr. Starbuck is about to put Aquaman to death, Aquaman's infant son, intervenes on his behalf, saving his father's life. This single act seems to open the Atlanteans eyes, and they immediately seize Dr. Starbuck, while once again pledging their allegiance to Aquaman. Dr. Starbuck is turned over to the Naval authorities, and, to date, has never been seen again.

Dr. Starbuck while a clever opportunist, was nonetheless, a madman. Though never stated implicitly, it seems quite likely that he, himself, engineered the rock slide that put Aquaman and Aqualad's lives in jeopardy. His ready appearance at the scene of such a "random" event is certainly cause for suspicion. While Dr. Starbuck could not possibly have anticipated his placement as, first, advisor, then regent, in the Atlantean court, his focus was always on gaining entry to Atlantis, which he garnered by "saving" Aquaman's life. Atlantis was, seemingly, always planned as the platform from which Dr. Starbuck would launch his aggressive agenda at the surface world. It's telling that Dr. Starbuck, upon first entering the ocean, with his newfound ability to breath water, referred to the seas in a possessive fashion. This hints at his underlying megalomania, which would surface, again and again, as his rule of Atlantis continued. In the end, his dementia may have reached a level wherein he truly believed that he understood the infant ruler's baby talk, and acted at it's direction. More likely, though, is that he constantly invoked the infant ruler's name, in order to keep the yoke on the Atlanteans, who slavishly held fast to the belief that the royal family of Atlantis still guided their actions.

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