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Friday, December 07, 2007

DC Special #28 - July 1977

sgIt's Comic Friday again, and time for some Earth-Shattering Disasters!!

This is a fun collection of three tales starring Batman, The Legion of Super-Heroes, and the King of the Seven Seas, Aquaman!

The Batman tale is entitled "And The Town Came Tumbling Down" by Bob Rozakis, John Calnan, and my old Kubert instructor Tex Blaisdell, and the Legion tale is "The City That Stopped...Dead!" by Paul Levitz, Arvell Jones, and Bob Layton.

But of course it's the Aquaman tale we're here to talk about, and it's a cool one: "A Creature of Death and Darkness!" written by Gerry Conway with art by the late, great Don Newton(drawing Aquaman for the first time) and Dan Adkins.

Since this Aquaman tale doesn't really reference any current storylines(this issue was released just as Aquaman was going from Adventure Comics back into his own title again), we can assume this was some sort of inventory tale, or at the very least specifically written to appear in an anthology.

It opens with Aquaman beating the kelp out of some modern-age pirates as they try to take over a cargo ship. He makes quick work of them and notices the pirates are carrying some sort of weird chemical cannon.

As he attempts to rescue the cargo ship's crew(a whole has been punched into their ship and it begins quickly sinking), a weird dark, viscous cloud comes up from the depths and capsizes the ship. Aquaman wants to investigate it but decides to take the sea men to safety first.

He consults with the Navy and they tell him the cloud is a gian patch of oil that has somehow come alive due to radiation(are we sure Stan Lee didn't write this?)!

Aquaman enlists the help of save whales to help create a giant wave to steer the cloud, but it crashes down upon them, killing them! Aquaman is enraged and he tries to use his mental powers on the cloud, which nearly kills him. The Navy says that the cloud is getting dangerously close to a Hawaiian island, and they tell Aquaman the only way to stop it from killing more people is to drop an A-Bomb on it!

Aquaman of course won't stand for this, and digs up the chemical cannon that he came across on the pirate's ship, and aims it at the cloud, which kills it! Aquaman explains to the Navy brass that he used basic science and figured out that oil producers use a corrosive acid to control oil slicks, and that the cannon would do the same job in a pinch!

The Navy men thank Aquaman for helping them out, but he reminds them his goal was to protect the ocean, at all costs.

It's a fun little tale, told at a breakneck pace and Don Newton does a superb first job on the Sea King. His Aquaman is regal, dynamic, and imposing:
sg...Aquaman could've done a lot worse than to have Newton become his regular artist, taking over for Jim Aparo a few issues into his solo title's return.


Scurvy said...

Sounds like a fun tale. I like the picture of himself standing like a rock whilst the others cower in fear behind him.

"Mama I'm gonna be sick"

"It's eating our ship..

Great lines. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree. I never cared for Don Newton's style...he seemed okay with Batman's dark and gritty look, but I never thought it was any good for Aquaman, Capt Marvel, or Infinity, Inc. It just seemed too static and dry for my taste. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never heard Newton's style described as static. His art seemed like a more comic-booky Burne Hogarth to me. His anatomy and body posture were second to none. HIs use of shadow rivaled Wally Wood. I do think his style was a bit of an ill-fit for Captain Marvel (although he was apparently Newtons' favorite character) due to its dark nature, but he rocked everything else he touched.

Just my opinion, and not challenging your entitlement to your own, Russel!


Anonymous said...

Maybe "static" isn't the right word. I just mean...like, look at the sample panel today. Those guys in the background don't look like they're moving or even about to move, especially the guy under Arthur's left arm. I guess to each his own, but Newton was never my cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

Man, that is one dynamite cover! You just KNOW the tales inside have got to be exciting! Speaking of, the story itself sounds pretty awesome. I'd like a chance to read it.

Anonymous said...

I must confess that when I picked up Aquaman #60 almost three decades ago and saw that Aparo had left the title, I was sorely disappointed. Oh, I enjoyed Don Newton's work on Batman and Captain Marvel - although it seems I'm in the minority on the latter - but Aquaman NEEDED to be by Aparo or it just wasn't Aquaman. Within a few issues, I began to appreciate the wonderful things that Newton brought to the feature. Just in time for the series to be cancelled again!

Anonymous said...

"...Newton's style ... seemed like a more comic-booky Burne Hogarth to me. His anatomy and body posture were second to none. HIs use of shadow rivaled Wally Wood..."

Have to go with Chris, here; staring with his amazing PHANTOM run at Charlton.

"... I do think his style was a bit of an ill-fit for Captain Marvel (although he was apparently Newtons' favorite character) due to its dark nature..."

I seem to recall reading that Newton WANTED to ape Beck's vision, but DC wanted what we got.
I've seen samples of "Don as C.C." that proved he could do it.

Happy Holidays,
-Craig W.

K.B. said...

This Aparo cover blew me away when i was young. I hated that the interiors never lived up to the potential of his dynamic cover.