|First appearance||Aquaman #35 (S/O-1967)|
|Full name||Nuidis Vulko|
|Abilities||Keen Intellect, Diplomacy, and Knowledge of Atlantean History|
Vulko is a long-running Aquaman character that has been a councilor in Atlantis as well as its king. He's a scholar and a friend to Aquaman. His life can be divided into two distinct versions. In the Silver Age, Vulko was king of Atlantis for a long time due to Aquaman's absences. In the Modern Age, he never became king but was a crucial part of the politics of Atlantis.
Vulko is a stout man, and has a very distinctive hairdo that has often been commented upon. He can be pompous, but it is generally an act he puts on to look official.
The Silver Age
Dr Vulko first appeared to reassure Mera that the dome around Atlantis is secure against an attack by Black Manta. Unfortunately, the water inside the dome was not secure, and Black Manta started to boil it to kill the city. Vulko led the effort to first drain the city of water, making Manta's attack ineffective, then using Project X to convert the citizens into air-breathers.
Later, Vulko came up with a way to remove the substance Manta infused into the dome, allowing the citizens to go back to being water-breathers. While Aquaman searched for Mera, the plan was put into effect and the people returned to their former way of life.
When earthquakes threatened the city, Vulko tried to figure out the source of the problem. He learned that they are volcanic in origin and might lift the city to the surface of the ocean. To his surprise, the city's deputy ruler, Narkran, believed that this was the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy that the city will rise and take its place among the kingdoms of the surface world. Vulko assisted in the overthrow of Narkran after he became a mad tyrant, then helped to rebuild the city to withstand the tremors.
Later, Vulko helped Aquaman to return to the world in Mera's ring, and while the experiment were ongoing, was accused of treason by Atlanteans unhappy about becoming water-breathers again.
Vulko slowly took a more active role in Atlantean government, being first the chief scientist and then becoming a trusted advisor and a diplomat. He stayed loyal to Aquaman when the city elected a new king in Aquaman's place, and stayed in the city, but was thrown in prison by Karshon. Vulko was freed by Garth, Tula, and Mupo, and helped led a popular revolt. He then became king, with Aquaman's blessing.
King Vulko had a rough start, as he first had to deal with the death of Aquaman and Mera's son. He was, in fact, the person who had to deliver the news to Mera after she used Vulko's ability to contact her home dimension to try to find a cure.
Vulko later signed a deal with Universal Food Products to cultivate food for the surface, although there were some technical problems. Aquaman disagreed with Vulko and went on a bit of a terrorist spree, for which Vulko attempted to have him arrested, only to discover Aquaman was correct in his suspicions.
Later, Vulko was kidnapped by water-breathing Nazis who infiltrated Atlantis, and rescued by Mera. Vulko also discovered that Mera was suffering from an ailment caused by living in an alternate dimension to her own, but he was not the one who cured her.
Vulko was still king when the royal seal of Atlantis was stolen and the people demanded that he declare war on the surface world. He led the troops into battle towards the American Coast. The war was stopped when Aquaman returned the seal from the keeping of Orm, the Ocean Master. After these events, Aquaman asked to take the throne back, but Vulko felt the reasons that had originally caused Aquaman to abdicate were still in effect.
Next up, Vulko was reported as dead in Aquaman #1 (Jun-89), causing a power vacuum that led to a weak leader who allowed Atlantis to be conquered by outsiders. Peter David later cheekily refers to this "death" in Aquaman: Time & Tide #4.
The Modern Age
In The Legend of Aquaman we are given more of a background for Vulko. He was a political prisoner in Atlantis when young Aquaman first discovers the city. He introduced himself as a former professor of Advanced Culture at the Atlantis Institute and taught Aquaman the language. Inspired by Aquaman, Vulko helped lead the revolution that freed Atlantis from a repressive regime. He also worked to convince Aquaman to become king after Aquaman's heritage was revealed.
The Atlantis Chronicles tell us that Vulko was present at Aquaman's birth, and opposed leaving him to die on Mercy Reef.
In Aquaman #1 (Dec-91), Vulko was miraculously back alive, but no longer king. He was a minister to King Thesily. Injured in the attack by Oumland, for a time he believed Aquaman was still king. He even attacked King Thesily while affected by the fear gas used by Manta. As he recovered, his opinions were ignored by the king and he was eventually thrown off the council entirely. He left Poseidonis to visit and study Tritonis, only to arrive in the middle of a civil war. After helping Aquaman defeat the pretender king, Vulko was welcomed in the city. Vulko presented Aquaman with a copy of the Atlantis Chronicles when Aquaman left the Tritonis.
King Thesily eventually welcomed Vulko back to Poseidonis and reinstated him on the council. When Aquaman first lost his hand, he had Vulko strengthen the harpoon he used to replace it. Vulko also helped Garth to locate Letifos' people and advised him against visiting them. He was one of the scientists trying to discover why the city of Poseidonis was having earthquakes and rising (yes, harkening back to the Silver Age). Vulko was the first to propose that it appeared something was trying to push its way out of the earth under the city.
When Aquaman returned to Poseidonis with Koryak, Vulko immediately took Aquaman's son under his wing. He witnessed Koryak save an Atlantean child and earn the trust of the people. He knew that Koryak allowed king Thesily to die. He was the first member of the council to throw his authority behind Koryak as a leader. Vulko quarreled with Aquaman about leaving the city and following Koryak. Once in Tritonis with Koryak and the exiled Atlanteans, he argued with Iqula to be given access to the sacred tunnels, then followed Koryak in taking the tunnels by force. Vulko noted the illustrations of the history of Atlantis, but wasn't the first to recognize that they shouldn't exist in tunnels sealed before some of those events took place. When Kordax took control of his people, Vulko fell under the thrall as well. He paid the same price as the rest of the people when Kordax died and they were forced by Aquaman make amends to the Tritonians.
Once the people return to Poseidonis, Vulko continues to groom Koryak for kingship, believing that Aquaman has betrayed the city and its people one too many times. He urges Koryak to run for High Councilor against Tempest, and is almost directly responsible for Koryak's exile.
During the parody years, Vulko claims that he was in love with Aquaman's mother. He is also turned into an ape during the JLApe event. Vulko is also the one who performs the wedding ceremony of Tempest and Dolphin, and is the "midwife" who delivers Cerdian.
Vulko continued to be an advisor to Atlantis, and eventually even made good with Aquaman. Vulko was in the city when it was sent into the Obsidian age, and was a slave for 15 years in the past. When the city was returned to the present, Vulko carried out the order to put Aquaman to death on Traitor's Reef and was secretly relieved when Aquaman escaped. He slowly realized how insane the mystic rulers of New Atlantis were, and worked from the inside to overthrow them with the help of a former prisoner now called Man O War. He pretended to have become feeble-minded after a prisoner revolt, and bred jellyfish to the amusement of Hagen and the ruling mystics. When Tempest returned to the city, they were able to overthrow Hagen and restore Mera from a drug-addled state.
Vulko was part of the official embassy that visited Sub Diego after the Atlanteans learned of the disaster, and he took Lorena back to Atlantis and introduced her to Koryak. Aquaman threw Vulko and the embassy out of Sub Diego because they had condemned him to death, and Aquaman never had the chance to forgive Vulko. Vulko was in Atlantis when the Spectre attacked, and was killed. However, his ghost was discovered by the mystics of the Windward Home, and he continues his studies there. He was at the Windward Home and able to give advice and direction to Joseph Curry when he arrived.
Vulko reappeared in the Flashpoint universe as Aquaman's chief scientist, scanning King Brion of Markovia and turning him into a weapon against Europe.