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Friday, February 08, 2008

Aquaman (Vol.1) #43 - Feb. 1969

sgI thought I'd give Adventure Comics a break and talk about something from the classic "SAG" era of Aquaman for this week's Comic Friday.

The cover is by Nick Cardy, featuring the Sea King in another one of those classic death-trap scenarios--being crushed beneath the foot of a giant is bad enough, but to be pressed on jagged rocks as well? Suffering starfish!

The story inside is titled "To Win is To Lose!", by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. It picks up from the previous issue; Black Manta has been defeated(again) and the citizens of Atlantis are celebrating.

All is not well though, since Aqualad has been suffering from partial amnesia. Tula(aka Aquagirl) goes to see him, but discovers him to be...gone!

Next is one of those fantastic splash pages that Aparo was so good at. They set the tone for the story, and were so well composed that they work as little movie posters
As Aqualad searches for a colony called the Sorcerers(who were defeated by Aquaman, but Garth doesn't remember that), he stumbles across a group of purple-skinned beings. They approach Garth and he attempts to fight them off, but they knock him out and put him in a net.

Meanwhile, Aquaman, still searching for the missing Mera(again continued from previous issues), finds his way into a partially hidden cave where the water is eerily calm. The pressures in there are so intense they briefly knock him out, and when he comes to, he finds himself in a land of giants!

Aquaman comes across a surface world explorer named Phil Darson, who explains to Aquaman that these giants--who seem to look as frozen as statues--actually have such a different metabolism that they move very, very slowly, so it only appears they are immobile. From comments Darson makes, Aquaman wonders if he wasn't involved in Mera's disappearance...

Back to Aqualad, as he has been dumped by these mysterious kidnappers into some sort of arena to fight for the amusement of this colony of people. Aqualad manages to hold his own--against even the biggest of the purple guys, who is armed with a giant scythe--but after he does, a group of them come in and overpower him, carting him out of the arena.

Turns out this colony is on its last legs, having been attacked to near extinction by a creature known only as The Bugala. These people are looking for a powerful champion from the outside world to help them defeat the monster, and they think Aqualad just might be that champion!
Will Aqualad become these people's defender? Will Aquaman be able to find him, as well as Mera? To be continued!

As are all the SAG issues, this one is a lot of fun and moves at a breakneck pace. Aquaman's undersea world is filled with so many crazy aliens, giants, and other creatures that its amazing Skeates could keep track of it all, but he did.

And Aparo's work is of course top-notch, as always. I'm running out of superlatives!

Trivia: The letters page features a missive from some young comics fan named Mark Evanier, as did about ten thousand other DC titles at the time.

Since Aqualad plays such a central role in the above issue of Aquaman, I thought it's a perfect time to mention that he also takes the lead in the newest issue of DC's fun Teen Titans: Year One mini-series, out this week.

I've enjoyed the two issues so far--the artwork is by Karl Kerschl, Serge Lapointe, and Steph Peru and is pretty darn nifty, and I like the different look for Aqualad they came up with, even if it is a little grotesque. I like the story, too, though I kinda feel like Bob Haney could've fit everything that's happened in these first two issues into the first ten pages of one of his old Titans stories.

An added bonus with this issue is that features a quick appearance by the Sea King himself! Sure, he's under the influence of some nefarious force causing him(and Batman, Green Arrow, and Flash) to go rogue, but what the heck, it's still nice to see classic Aquaman in a DC comic again:


Diabolu Frank said...

I don't mind the new Aqualad look. Garth was always emo, so it suits, aside from removing the "purple-eyed freak" irony from his origin.

Anonymous said...

I gotta disagree. I find the current TT look for Garth to be hideous. I'm still reading it, but I wish he wasn't quite so abnormal looking.

Doug said...

Karl Kerschl is doing a whale of a job on this series. Rob nailed it down best - it's "fun".

rob! said...

maybe they could've dialed down a bit(i know that Laura really hates it, as done Vince) but i dunno, it just doesn't bother me all that much.

Scurvy said...

It doesn't bother me much. I just chock it up to his "awkward lurchy phase" all boys go through.

I love the way Aquaman looks in this, especially in issue 1, and I really dig the fact that they made Garth's shirt scaly!

Damian said...

That Aparo splash page is a bee-ooty.

As for TT,It looks great, that's for sure. From what I've seen anyway, which is... this.

Of course I'm a sucker for giant squid wrapped around submarine.

I'd also be interested in a story involving Garth setting off and starting his own band.

Lad sets fire?