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Friday, September 28, 2007

DC Super-Stars #7 - Sept. 1976

sgI've been wanting to get to this book for Comic Friday for a while now, so now's a good a time as any--Aquaman as star of DC Super-Stars, their omnibus title which ran for eighteen issues from 1976 to 1978.

Comics like DCSS were sort of a lost art for a long time, though occasionally you'll see DC do one again and Marvel seems to going back to them more regularly--both companies realizing the mountain of material they have lying around, a lot of which current comics fans have never seen.

After an exciting cover and splash page by Jim Aparo, the first story reprinted is "Between Two Dooms!" by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy, from Aquaman #35. This story is the first appearance of Black Manta, which we talked about

Next is a fun two-page feature called "Diabolical Demons of the Depths", featuring little profiles of Aquaman's most feasome foes:
to supersize)

...I think this spread helps underscore the difficulties Aquaman has had as a solo star--his relatively weak Rogues Gallery. Sure, Orm and Manta are classic bad guys, but past those two it starts getting a little thin(though if Tad Williams can bring back the Human Flying Fish and make him work, for Neptune's sake, then there's always hope).

The second story is "Some Call It Noise!", an Aqualad/Aquagirl solo story by Steve Skeates and Cardy, from Teen Titans #30. Get to see Garth and Tula go to a rock concert! (Thank god it wasn't one of Bruce Springsteen's three-hour plus shows, otherwise they'd have died in the attempt. And don't tell me they could've just bought bottles of water. A 6oz. bottle of AquaFina at a concert costs about seven bucks, and those two wouldn't have enough money to keep themselves alive. Hmm, I think I've gotten slightly off point...)

Anyway, it's a fun story, and Aqualad gets to save the day, and Cardy's rendition of Tula is about as adorable as Betty or Veronica:
sg(...man, did Nick Cardy know how to stage a scene. Even this little throwaway establishing shot is a masterpiece of depth and layout.)

To finish off the issue, there's a one-page "AquaMail" page, giving some background info on the Sea King, like where he first appeared, his powers, and such.

A fine primer for the character featuring two fun stories, all the members of the AquaFamily, and fine work by mssrs. Haney, Skeates, Cardy, and Aparo.


Rick L. Phillips said...

Wow! That was a pretty good review. This is the first time I have read a review that has made me want to read a reprint book.

Anonymous said...

I had this comic book leaning up on my dresser top for about a year, I liked the cover illustration so much. Man, that is one of the most dynamic covers I have ever seen. My only quibble is that the dolphin looks a *tad* too small to be carrying both of them, but, what the hey, right?

Plaidstallions said...

That cover is fantastic, I'd buy that if I ever ran into it.

Diabolu Frank said...

Well anyway, Williams brought Flying Fish back. Working...?

rob! said...

no, i say "working" because, lets face it, a villain named THE HUMAN FLYING FISH who wears a yellow and purple and white striped costume is not gonna be fearsome, no matter who writes him.

but i thought bringing him back as a goofy, logo-bedecked hack for hire was a neat idea--a way to bring an old villain back without resorting to making him "edgy" or "dark"(*yawn*).

i dont want to see "the new, dark Human Flying Fish" who has razor-sharp teeth or some crap like that, thank you very much.

rob! said...

>>Wow! That was a pretty good review. This is the first time I have read a review that has made me want to read a reprint book.<<

thanks, rick. thats a real compliment.

i wish DC did these sorts of books again--simple little primers for their characters. i'd say theyre even more necessary since most of heroes histories are so convoluted now.

Diabolu Frank said...

Oh no, I agree about not wanting "H.F.F." to be the acronym for a lethal cyborg predator of the seas. My thinking is that with a character that inane, you have to play him for laughs, where Williams played him straight. Thus, the "Sword of Atlantis" got owned by the Flippin' Flyin' Fish. This, in my estimation, is not working for anyone. I mean crimeney, A.J. was nearly stabbed to death by Ocean Master, was saved from certain death at Black Manta's hands by King Shark, and I don't even want to know what happened with the Fisherman. It's no wonder Not Aquaman got cancelled...