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Friday, January 25, 2008

Adventure Comics #442 - Dec. 1975

sgI had such fun talking about Aquaman's lead feature debut in Adventure Comics for last week's Comic Friday that I thought I'd continue on with the series this week.

The cover is by Jim Aparo of course, and even though the image is fairly non-descript, it still manages to make Aquaman look bad-ass. Look at him--he's moving fast, evading a missle and several rounds of ammo. And that angry look on his face tells you he'd about to bust some Surface Dweller heads.

The story inside is titled "H For Holocaust", by Paul Levitz and Aparo. Like I mentioned last week, Aparo was exceptionally good at movie poster-like splash pages, so I thought we'd check out this issue's as well
Hmm...not bad. Not as dynamic as last issue's, but still pretty good.

We open with a sleepy cargo ship being taken over by a gang of armed terrorists, Luckily one of the crew presses the emergency button, unbeknowst to his kidnappers.

We then cut to Aquaman, who is discussing with Mera about whether trying to be a superhero and King of Atlantis is too much strain. But no time for introspection, because General Horgan from NATO is on the line!

Horgan informs Aquaman of the kidnapping, and that the ship is headed for a terrorist training camp in Africa. Since the ship contains radioactive material, NATO has decided that the lesser of two evils is to blow up the ship before they allow the terrorists to get a hold of any of it. The missile will hit the ship in twenty-eight minutes...right when the ship will be over land that Atlantis controls and is filled with sea life!

Aquaman heads out to catch the missle, commanding two sea eagles to pull him into the sky, where he drops himself onto the missile! He hotwires it a bit, forcing it to land harmlessly into the water without exploding.

Meanwhile, we cut away to a subplot concerning some of the ruling council of Atlantis, who are quickly growing tired of the lack of respect the Surface World shows them...and they begin to wonder aloud if they need new leadership.

But back to the problem at hand--NATO isn't thrilled at what Aquaman did, and they decide that they can launch a second missile in an hour and a half--but they decide to give "that Fish-Man" some of that time to try and apprehend the terrorists himself.

It's here that Aparo brings out the "shot clock" and we get to see the minutes of the hour go by. I especially love this page, and the long panel where we see Aquaman both above and below the water
Aquaman has some flying fish help him land aboard. He sneaks in, and starts taking on the bad guys, one by one. While wrestling one of them, another shoots at him, but Aquaman picks up a spare machine gun and hurls it at the guy, knocking him out(and probably a few teeth). With less than two minutes to spare, Aquaman informs NATO the ship is safe and secure!

Speaking of losing teeth, Mera informs Aquaman that the Plan B--to evacuate the people from the area in danger--had hardly begun, so thank Neptune Aquaman succeeded. He reponds "I'm going to go back to their headquarters with them, and give a certain hair-trigger general a piece of my mind--and maybe my fist!" Uh-oh!

So ends another briskly moving, exciting tale. Aquaman is dynamic, tough, and his abilities concerning his finny friends are used cleverly and effectively. Two for two!

In other Aquaman comic news, Arthur Joseph (Aquaman II? III? I never have figured that out) makes an appearance in the newest issue of Superman/Batman(a tip o' the fin to Jon of
All Things Fun, who pulled this issue for me, knowing I'd want it--thanks Jon!).

Basically, Supes and Bats are rounding up all the kryptonite in the world, the biggest chunk residing underwater. They go to retrieve it, but are stopped by AJ, for reasons we later find out are perfectly sensible (though I had problems with how we get there).

Gotta give the kid credit, though--he voluntarily gets in a scruff with Superman. He's got guts, if not a lot of brains!


Anonymous said...

Man, that H for Holocaust sounds like a GREAT story! It has all the elements that make Arthur a great character.

I'm going to have to remember that story.

Anonymous said...

The Aparo art is amazing...I need to get this issue in my collection!