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Friday, July 20, 2007

Aquaman (Vol.6) #52- February 1999

sgNormally I'd be reviewing the newest issue of Aquaman:Sword of Atlantis in this week's Comic Friday slot, but a funeral and an unexpected trip to the emergency room(spread over two different people, neither one of me, thank god) gobbled up our entire Thursday like a giant whale goes through an ocean full of shrimp. So I never made it to the comic store--I beg my audience's forgiveness for the lack of a timely review.

So I thought I'd talk about a fairly obscure, yet wonderful, issue of Aquaman(volume six!). The story is called "Same As It Never Was" and is by Erik Larsen, Eric Battle, Ray McCarthy, Bill Sienkiewicz, and...Jim Aparo.

The story is split up into two halves, one running on the top part of the page, the other the bottom--portraying parallel moments in Aquaman's life, and the old, classic Aquaman segment is drawn by none other than Aparo, with inks by Sienkiewicz(an odd combo, I know, but it actually sorta works).

The Aparo segment features Aquaman, having just met Mera, showing off Atlantis to her, and at the bottom, we find the current Aquaman having to endure watching Mera get wooed by Noble, "King of the Lurkers." In both stories, they are attacked by a myserious Lava Creature.

In the former, we see how Aquaman and Aqualad used their wits to help rescue Mera, who has been absconded with by the Lava Creature. It's cute and charming, and Aparo's return to the character is a joy to behold.

In the latter, Mera is also kidnapped, and while Noble is willing to cut his losses and escape, Aquaman goes back and attempts to resuce her, Noble joining in at the last possible moment. Unfortunately, when Arthur reaches Mera, she half-unconciously calls out for Noble, which hits Aquaman like a kick to the gut(we've all felt that at one time or another, haven't we?). More Lava Creatures show up, and this part of the story is continued into the next issue.

The story--both tracks--are fun to read and involving, but obviously the thing that makes this issue special is Jim Aparo's return to drawing Aquaman, the last time he ever did to my knowledge. The fact that the story Aparo is drawing is also sweet, as we watch Arthur and Mera in happier times, makes it resonate all the more. You remember how much you miss the old, happy Aquaman, who was King of the Seven Seas and had a wonderful, magical wife, a baby, and a kid sidekick.

Not sure whose idea this issue was, but it was a good--no, great--one, and I'm glad the late great Jim Aparo got one last chance to apply his magic to Aquaman.



Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea this issue existed! Great review!

The Aparo/Sienkiewicz combo was one that the Bat-books usually used whenever Aparo would do a fill-in or special story. I don't know if DC thought Aparo needed a harder edge, a more modern kick or what, but while it worked, I felt all of Bill's scratchy black lines were obscuring some good clean Aparo artwork.

It's one of those "I kind of like it, but not here" things for me.

I'm going to have to track this issue down. Sounds like a real winner!

Hope everything is calming down after your rough last few days!


chunky B said...

Sorry to here about the recent events of the past few days, I hope everything is fine now and settling down.

Great Review, Rob!

I'm going to the comic store to find this issue!

Anonymous said...

I remember getting this issue back in the day thinking, "Wow, Aquaman used to be a great character." Just looking at him with the hairband on the cover makes me wince. Blech!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, as silly as BLL Aquaman looks now, BLL with his little sea-shell headband looks even dopier. This is better than an orange shirt and green tights? How?