I went and bought these the day they came out(the perfect end to a nice day), and popped them in immediately.
They are every bit as fun as I remember--thirty-six episodes, full of excitement and adventure under the sea. They are a near perfect distillation of the Aquaman comic that had been so popular under the creative direction of Bob Haney and Nick Cardy.
Strangely, only a few of Aquaman's comic book villains show up here--Black Manta of course, as well as The Fisherman and The Terrible Trio(Magneto--guess you can't copyright the name--Torpedo, and Claw), so we have Aquaman taking on a lot aliens who wanna take over Atlantis. But that's pretty meaningless--these cartoons weren't meant for overgrown fanboys to obsess over; they were meant to entertain kids in high style, and that they do.
The set also comes with a neat documentary, "Aquaman: The Sovereign of the Seas" which features people like Mark Waid, Dan Didio, and Michael Uslan waxing philosophic about what makes Aquaman cool, unique, and mythic. It's great to see a segment like this devoted just to Aquaman, with lots of comic panels put on screen in deep, rich color. Yeah, its too short, but I think I still would've felt that way even if it had been three hours long!
Waid posits an interesting theory, that Aquaman appearing in the Super Friends was actually a step back for the character, since he went from being a headliner to a co-star, and when put alongside heavyweights like Superman, he got short-changed.
I don't know if I totally buy that, since it wasn't like this show got cancelled and replaced by Super Friends, and to me any TV appearance by Aquaman is better than none at all. Nevertheless, an interesting observation. Not being around when these shows first aired, I can't speak to the impact they had when they debuted--judging from some of the testimonials in the doc, it was quite an impact indeed.
Interesting note: This and the Super Powers DVD set that came out the same day have been advertised on television with thirty-second spots, a wonderfully surprising outlay of cash on Warner Bros.' part. I don't see that many TV boxed sets advertised on TV, so I think it's just awesome Aquaman is getting a little extra attention. It's about time!