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Friday, September 14, 2007

Aquaman (Vol.1) #61 - May 1978

sgWe've been talking about a lot of modern Aquaman comics for the last few Comic Fridays, so it's time to hop on the Cosmic Treadmill and go all the way back to 1978, when Aquaman had been given his own comic again, right before DC imploded, House-of-Usher-style.

The story is "The Armageddon Conspiracy"(man, remember when comics had story titles like that?) by David Michelinie, the late great Don Newton, and Bob McLeod, and as you can see guest-stars Batman! Since the issue was not written by Bob Haney, we can't guarantee a scene where Aquaman and Bats beat the crap out of each other. But let's see...

The story is continued from the previous issue (oops, sorry 'bout that) and we pick up with Batman and Aquaman trapped in a giant titanium net with Kobra's goons about to...whatever Kobra's goons do.

Anyway, Batman has something in his utility belt that cuts the net, and Aquaman starts busting heads once their freed, even using some electric eels to fry up some Kobra Goon Meat. Szzzzzzt!

They head back to the
JLA satellite, where Green Lantern is on monitor duty. After some investigating, they determine that Kobra is looking to get his hands on a ship full of Hydrocarbons that, when not handled correctly, could cause destruction bigger than a Hydrogen bomb. The three of them track down Kobra's ship and as GL does a frontal assault, Bats and Aquaman sneak in to where Kobra is holding a group of world leaders captive, telling them they better get the rest of the world to recognize that he is running the show from now on.

Bats and Aquaman confront Kobra, and as Bats starts to hand out a good butt-kicking, Kobra pulls a switch releasing hundreds of underwater pods, filled with the hydrocarbons and headed for the surface. Aquaman gets Lantern to nab as many of them as he can, but there are too many, so Aquaman commands His Finny Friends to attack Kobra's underwater pod-dispensing machine(patent pending).

Unfortunately, Kobra planned for that, and his machine fries a whole bunch of the fish! This would normally be the moment Aquaman would separate the Bad Guy from his head, but there's no time so he and Bats jump into the water, attacking the machine directly, where they succeed in breaking it.

Kobra's command of his invisible ship is temporairily lost when one of his captives gets the drop on him, and it crashes into the ocean. As Kobra tries to flee, Aquaman catches up and starts slamming him around, commanding a nearby octopus to grab Kobra and hold him down while he rescues the hostages.

But Kobra uses some gadget in his costume and uses some sort of concusssive grenade to escape. This pisses off Batman mightily, calling the Sea King to the carpet:"Good Lord, man, do you realize what you've done?" As Aquaman swims away, Batman yells out "Come back here, mister! I'm not through!"

Aquaman blows him off(guts!) saying he doesn't feel like getting flak for saving the hostage's lives over keeping an eye on Kobra. Considering how many times The Joker has gotten away from Batman...heroes who live in glass Batcaves, Bruce...

A fun issue, and I'm glad to see that even with the appearance of Batman and Green Lantern, it was Aquaman who led the plot, and Kobra is another good villain for him. Anyone bent on World Domination is going to be noticed by the guy that's in charge of 70% of it.

Don Newton's artwork is, of course, just great, his natural fluidity a perfect fit for Aquaman's underwater setting. It's cool to see him work on two of the characters he's most known for at the same time. On the letters page, we are informed that this is David Michelinie's last issue as writer, being replaced by an as-yet-unnamed scribe. Of course, that turned out to be some guy named Kupperberg.


Anonymous said...


Love that Newton!

And Michelinie was really something different at the time; his UNKNOWN SOLDIER run, like Wein's BATMAN and Fleischer's SPECTRE, really raised the script bar in the Bronze Age.

Great weekend, all!
-Craig W.

Rick L. Phillips said...

SOunds like an awsome story. WIth Batman and GL this could have been an issue of the JLA.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to go back and re-read that issue, because I don't remember it being anywhere near as cool as you make it sound! :-) On a side note, the Batman-Aquaman-Green Lantern trio was my favorite mini-group of JLAers. They just seemed to compliment each other like nobody's business.

chunky B said...

Batman's got Scuba Gear! It's got to be a great comic!

Diabolu Frank said...

1) Martian Manhunter + Batman = comrades. Martian Manhunter + Aquaman = friends w/trust issues. Aquman + Batman = swordfight, even if they didn't come to blows this time.

2) The two characters Jim Aparo was among the best to ever draw appear together in a book Aparo had just been drawing, but not this issue? Travesty!

3) I never knew Don Newton drew Aquaman. Great artist, but my gut tells me I wouldn't dig it. Any merch/scans to refute?

4)...and where is the Bat-Shark Repellant?

Anonymous said...

>and where is the Bat-Shark Repellant?<

"... Some ... days ... you ... just ... CAN'T ... get ... rid ... of ... a ... SHARK ..."

Anonymous said...

Haha, man, sounds like a cool issue!