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Friday, November 23, 2007

Adventure Comics #477 - Nov. 1980

sgThe third and penultimate chapter in Aquaman's excellent, final run in Adventure Comics, courtesy J.M. DeMatteis and Dick Giordano, with a cover by Ross Andru and Giordano.

Last time, Aquaman had been forced by a faux Posiedon to attack the citizens of New Venice, to protect his finny friends from harm. Of course, this didn't sit well with the citizens of the town, and as this issue opens, Aquaman is on his way to the Mayor's office to explain and to report that his wife Mera is missing. As he walks through the town, he is jeered at and various members of the town throw things at him.

As he heads up the steps into the Town Hall, it's here we get the "brick sequence" that F.O.A.M. member Vincent Bartilucci counts as one of his all-time favorite Aquaman moments:


...I gotta admit, that is pretty cool.

As Aquaman tries to talk to the Mayor, the Mayor yells at him, still mad at Aquaman for not rescuing his brother, gone missing in an earlier issue of World's Finest(where Aquaman had appeared before this run). The Mayor gets in Aquaman's face, and Aquaman almost loses it, but reins himself in at the last moment.

As he walks home, a small girl befriends him, who is the cousin of Cal Durham, a pawn of a scheme by Black Manta and has now seen the error of his ways, and she leads him to Cal.

Cal then takes Aquaman to see an underwater base being constructed, and just as it seems the Black Manta is behind it, they are attacked by a giant octopus!

Turns out the octopus is a robot, built by Manta! Aquaman and Durham wake up imprisoned by him, and before Durham has a chance to tell Aquaman something, Manta shoots him with a stun-gun, knocking him out.

He then explains to Aquaman that Manta has been amassing an army, made from the "rejects" of the surface world, promising them a better life in Atlantis! As Manta leaves, he informs Aquaman that some missiles he has are aimed at New Venice. Some sort of master plan by Manta? No, Manta is doing it "completely out of spite." Now that's a bad guy!

Meanwhile, back in Atlantis, Mera, who had disappeared earlier, has now just as mysteriously re-appeared! To be continued!
Like the previous installments, this is fun, fast-moving, and exciting. I think the general lack of depth in Aquaman's Rogues Gallery ends up with Black Manta being used a little too much, but that's a minor quibble. The idea of Aquaman's newly-adopted town being blown up just as an act of pique is a classic bad guy plan, and pretty much only Manta(ok, maybe Ocean Master, too) has that kind of anger at Aquaman. Considering that Aquaman's son was murdered by Manta, I'd say he is really pushing his luck with our hero, don't you?

Also like the previous issues, this book also has Starman by Paul Levitz and Steve Ditko, and Plastic Man by Martin Pasko and Joe Staton, making for another fine issue of Adventure Comics!


Anonymous said...

Great, great sequence. The way he doesn't even seem to consciously register the "threat" and how he crushes the brick in one hand lets you know that Aquaman is not a person to be messed with above or below waves.

Anonymous said...

Man, that sounds like a freakin' awesome story. It has just about everything an Aquaman tale SHOULD have. Aquaman struggles with his anger, but CONTROLS it, he is torn between the surface world and the sea, and his villains are shown as dangerous and powerful. That's a great sequence as well, definitely awesome.