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Friday, July 06, 2007

Brave and The Bold #142 - Aug. 1978

sgFor today's Comic Friday, we finish off Aquaman's appearances in The Brave and The Bold(the Batman issues, at least) with this, his third and final team-up. "Enigma of the Death-Ship" is written by Bob Haney(as were all of the Batman/Aquaman team-ups) and drawn by Jim Aparo.

We open up with a killer of a splash page, as we see Batman fighting Aquaman, with Arthur commanding Mera, holding a harpoon gun, to "Shoot, Mera...I command you!" What the?!?

Batman is chasing down your standard issue Gotham City Lowlife, trying to find out info on a drug ring. The thug gives it up(they always do), and when Batman arrives at the boss's hideout, he finds it deserted and cleaned-out. A clue leads him to a sunken boat, and while he's checking that out he is attacked by a group of scuba divers, which are no problem, then by a giant, monster-ish grouper, who is.

While fighting off the grouper, the scuba squad attacks again, though this time Batman is saved by Aquaman! He grabs one of them by the leg, using him to hit the other ones(ouch!), and then Aquaman forces Bats to the surface, threatening "Stay away from that wreck, Batman! Clear off...or I'll be forced to deal with you more drastically!"

While he, Bats, and Mera have it out, we find the evil scuba guys have taken over Batman's boat(I wonder if any of them bothered to check and see that its registered to Millionaire Playboy Bruce Wayne?) and they start shooting at Aquaman. That really pisses off our hero, who jumps onto the boat, dispensing martime justice with "No one defiles the seas! Not while I live!!"

During all this, Batman sneaks back down to the sunken boat, and finds an old safe, which he brings to the surface(man, Bats is strong in these Haney stories!). While Aquaman and Bats are fighting it out, the sunken boat blows up, and they crash onto the beach. Batman punches Aquaman to the ground(see? strong!) and demands an explanation.

It turns out that, after a cursory reading of the sunken boat's log, Aquaman believed his father, who was the lighthouse keeper the night the boat went down, was responsible due to his carelessness, and he just couldn't bear his memory dirtied. Um, that's not that heroic, Arthur...

Anyway, Bats reveals upon further reading that it was a stowaway with a cache of stolen drugs on the boat that caused the wreck, not Tom Curry! Aquaman is relieved, and all is forgiven via a handshake. Sure, 'cause its not like Batman ever holds a grudge or anything...

Bats keeps reading and finds out that the drug-smuggling stowaway was, in fact..."No...not him!", which leads us into the next issue, gues-starring...The Creeper! Ah, Bob Haney knew how to guarantee a thirty-five cent sale, didn't he?

A fine issue, full of drama and beautifully executed by Jim Aparo, of course. Good thing these three issues were so far apart in B&B's run since, as we see, Haney had a clear formula for when Aquaman teamed-up with Batman: have them beat the crap out of each other, then reconcile at the end. I guess we can be glad he never wrote JLA!


Rick L. Phillips said...

That would be funny to see. Always needing to put Superman between Aquaman and Batman during JLA meetings so they don't kill each other. But in those days Batman was not the type to hold a grudge. Ever since Frank Miller and the Grim and Gritty days he does and I hate that. But I don't hold a grudge against Frank Miller.

Anonymous said...

"Arthur Curry, Sr?"

Surely, you mean Tom Curry, Rob!

I really enjoyed this story when I was a kid. I always felt that Tom Curry should have been a more "visible" presence in the Aquaman series and I love any story that makes mention of Arthur's human father. Now, obviously, Tom was deceased by the time Aquaman's adventuring career hit the big time but a flashback every couple of issues would have been nice. Maybe a few panels of the elder Curry imparting a bit of maritime wisdom to his son that in some way reflects on the current story in progress. Tom could have been a more interesting version of Pa Kent what with his naval background and all.

In my opinion, one of the few missteps of the Pozner / Hamiton mini was in justifying Orm's hatred of Arthur by saying that, yes, Tom Curry did indeed play favorites with his two sons. Didn't like it. Not one bit.

As for your assertion that Aquaman's battle to preserve his father's memory is unheroic, I guess I must reluctantly agree. But it seemed fairly realistic when I read it as an 11 years old. The problem, I think, is that Tom Curry is such a cypher. If we had been treated to more glimpses into the relationship 'tween father and
son(s), we'd like Tom and maybe give Arthur more slack in defending his dad's memory.

After all, if Superman acted "unheroically" in defense of Jonathan Kent OR Jor-El, I think we'd give him the benefit of the doubt. No?

rob! said...

oops, youre right about the name--duly corrected!

as for the other stuff--i dunno, i liked the angle of Orm not feeling loved by his father. it doesnt mean Tom was a bad guy, and his lack of love for Orm doesnt justify him becoming, you know, A SUPERVILLAIN!

as for Aquaman not being heroic--again, i dunno. Aquaman cold-cocking Batman just to keep what he thought was the truth from getting it out IS understandable, but hardly maintaining the standards of the Justice League! sometimes the truth hurts, Arthur--deal with it!

-Keller said...

What a great Aparo cover! Man do I miss Jimbo.

K.B. said...

great issue. Aparo on Aquaman and Bats is a one 2 punch.