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Friday, July 13, 2007

Adventure Comics #462 - April 1979

sgThis week's Comic Friday selection is one of the more famous issues of Aquaman's home away from home, Adventure Comics.

It seems like every time DC gave Aquaman his own book, DC dug up some other character(The Spectre, Black Orchid, Superboy) to fill the book until the time Aquaman was cancelled(again), and then he would be slotted right back into Adventure. Aquaman + Adventure Comics = BFF!

This issue is famous, however, for its cover feature this time, not Aquaman. This was the issue that DC actually killed off Batman, the Earth-2 version, at least. It was by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton, and remains one of the most beloved stories from my childhood.

But that's not what we're here to talk about! We're here to talk about the Aquaman story, "Executive Action!" by our pal Paul Kupperberg, Don Heck, and Bob Smith. We open with Aquaman attempting to get inside the generator of a nuclear power plant, in an attempt to prove a company known as Universal Food Products is slowly killing Atlantis.

He of course gets in(he is the King of the Seven Seas!), and is met with enough death-traps to stop James Bond. While doing some investigating, he is jumped by two armed goons, one of who shoots Aquaman!

He wakes up in his chambers, surrounded by Mera, Aqualad, and Vulko. He finds out from Vulko that the side effects from the deal with UFP were known ahead of time by Vulko, and he plans to go ahead anyway. Aquaman is no satisfied with that answer, and he returns to the plant. During this sequence, there are two panels of total silence as Aquaman sneaks in, and one panel in particular is masterful in its composition and moodiness, something Don Heck, for all his talent, was not particularly famous for:
Aquaman, moody badass.

Aquaman spies on some UFP executives, and overhears the real plan, one that involves Atlantis, as in The Screwing Over Of. Aquaman handles some more of the armed goons, and uses some of his finny friends to help stop the plant for overheating and exploding. Aquaman tells Vulko that he has been duped and what the real plan is, but Vulko's having none of it--and he orders Aquaman to be arrested! To be continued!

A very solid Aquaman adventure, and its nice to see Aquaman be the one who's right, even though everyone thinks he's just being a hothead. You get to see Aquaman bust some heads, too, so he gets to use brains and brawn--and his finny friends--in just twelve pages!

Additional bonus--even though we only see his head on the front, the back cover features panels highlighting all of Adventure's stars, so we get another Jim Aparo Aquaman drawing! Whoo-hoo!

(BTW--I wanted to find something appropriate to post for Friday the 13th, so I thought this particular comic would be good because A)it does have Deadman in it, and B)It does have a "Death of..." cover!)


Anonymous said...

Sounds really cool, I'd love to see some more pics of this issue, but maybe I'll get my hands on it one day. I'd also love to hear more about that 'death of' storyline!

Anonymous said...

The "Death of Batman" storyline is reprinted in DC's fairly new Justice Society volume 2 tpb.

I got the issue AFTER this. Imagine my surprise to find Batman dead! My mom had to reassure me that this was on Earth Two. This was my second exposure to the concept, after my mom had bought me All-Star #74 (the last issue!) a few months prior.

That Heck panel almost looks like Don Newton from here! Very moody and well done!


Luke said...

>>My mom had to reassure me that this was on Earth Two.

That sentence just amused me, as I try to picture my mother consoling me that it was Earth-2 Batman who died and not Earth-1. Hee.

It's always amazing how much material you could cram into 12 pages! I really think a lot of today's hot comic book scribes would be well served to try to emulate their predecessors a little more. But now I sound like a whiny fanboy, so nyah!

Cool post rob!

Anonymous said...


One of my all-time faves is Alan Brennert's "The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne," illoed in Golden-Age-tribute style by Joe Staton.

It was always neat, back in the 70's / 80's, to see these "purer" versions of Supes (all hail Woody!) & Bats, that I knew from 80pg. Giant reprints.

-Craig W.