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Friday, June 29, 2007

Brave and The Bold #82 - March 1969

sgIt's Comic Friday again, and I thought it'd be fun to talk about another of three Batman/Aquaman team-ups from The Brave and The Bold. Last time I reviewed the team-up in issue #114 so for today I thought I'd go back to the very first time the Sea King got to co-star with the Dark Knight Detective.

The story, "The Sleepwalker From The Sea!" is by Bob Haney and Neal Adams, with the beautiful cover also by Adams, of course. Batman is attempting to apprehend a crook when he is stopped by a "grip like a king crab's bite"(!). Just then, he is shot by said crook and falls into the water, rescued by some helpful sea life. Hmm...

Later on, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne goes on a date with "Model of the Year" Ailsa DuBois. It doesn't go well, so much so that it ends with Ailsa throwing Bruce off a balcony(haven't we all had dates like that? no?). Bruce of course finds this a tad suspicious, so he follows Ailsa back to an apartment, where she meets a mysterious man named "Marius" whom turns out to be...The Ocean Master!

Bruce interrupts all this nefarious goings-on, and Orm then calls in a hypnotized Aquaman to take care of the millionaire playboy. Just as it seems that Aquaman is going to throw Bruce into the ocean, he tells him that he's been faking all this time in an attempt to learn Orm's master plan! Batman doesn't believe him(king crab bite and all), but he changes his mind when Aquaman reveals that Ocean Master is...his brother!

We then get a brief rundown of their relationship, and about how Aquaman has tried over and over to get Orm to reform(hey, that's rhymes!) but he would refuse. When it seems that Aquaman has inadvertantly almost killed an innocent man underwater, Orm uses that to convince Arthur that the "streak of evil" resides in them both, and its only a matter of time until Aquaman kills for good!

This sends poor Arthur into fits of delirium, but Batman enlists Mera and the help of a psychologist to really hypnotize Arthur and bring him out of it! Whew! And that's only in the first sixteen pages!

Anyway, Aquaman and Batman, with help from Aquaman's finny friends, go after Ocean Master and thwart his plan. While Orm is attempting escape, Gotham Police aim a bazooka(!!) at him, but Aquaman stops it and chases after Orm himself. Commissioner Gordon in understandably cheesed off(he's gotta close some cases once in a while), Batman explains to him that he made a deal with Aquaman that he would let him bring Orm to justice since "there are different laws underwater."

Gordon accept this and Batman runs off, ready to have another adventure!

As you can tell from my breathless description, a lot happens in this issue, at a breakneck pace, all drawn in high style by Adams. Adams' Aquaman is classically heroic and regal looking, and he always gave him that lithe but powerful-looking swimmer's body that I've always thought made sense for Aquaman.

And Haney, of course, didn't mind throwing in everything but the kitchen sink in these B&B stories, and it was here where he developed his apparent formula for Aquaman/Batman team-ups: namely, have Aquaman seemingly turn rogue and fight Batman. It happened here, it happened in #114, and as we'll see on the next Comic Friday, it happened one more time in B&B #142, the final Aquaman/Batman pairing.

Hey, if it ain't broke...


Eric said...

This one was reprinted in a six-part Brave and Bold miniseries from, I believe, the early 1990s. I know, because I read this story just a few days ago!

Anonymous said...

This is a great looking, slightly bizarre story. I agree that Neal Adams' Aquaman was terrific, and his Batman was, of course, classic. I read in an interview with Neal a few years ago that Aquaman is one of Neal's favorite characters. The mind boggles with the kind of stories Neal would have done if he had had more chances to work on him....

Anonymous said...

I've got this story reprinted in "Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams, Vol. 1" hardcover. This hardcover has been criticized for not being "true" reprints, since Adams went back and redrew much of the art in the first half of the book. Oddly enough, the second half of the book is taken from the reprints of the original stories in that Brave and Bold mini-series eric mentioned above! They even used the new Pozner/Hamilton Aquaman logo! So there it is, in an archive-type reprint. Weird stuff.

But if this story were done today, it would span a 6-issue arc, and have no real resolution, since it would be building up to a bigger mega-crossover event, which in turn also was building up to a BIGGER mega-crossover event...etc.


Anonymous said...


Nice stuff!

(Chris, preach on brutha! You ain't wrong!)

Neal's stuff was such a revelation at the time! So much, that a lot of us kids thought his art was "weird," compared to the oftimes coloring-book level draftsmanship we were used to!

Now, you can see what an earthquake it was to the biz - supposedly many old-school pros resented him exactly because for pure illustrative ability, he ran rigs about them...

Great sunmmer comics reading weekend, all!

Anonymous said...

(EDIT - that's "rings," of course - not "rigs"! Wasn't making a '70's Trucker joke!)