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Friday, March 07, 2008

Action Comics #520 - June 1981

sgThis week's Comic Friday features the last Aquaman installment written (plotted, really) by J.M. DeMatteis, which started in Adventure Comics drawn by Dick Giordano and moved to the back of Action Comics and then drawn by Don Heck.

Over the course of this series, DeMatteis hit nearly every major theme in the Aquaman universe, and made time for stuff involving Mera, Atlantis, Aquaman's origin, and most of Aquaman's rogues gallery. Aqualad was the only major part of the team that never made an appearance.

(Before we get to the story at hand, one aside...wow, that is one revealing dress Lois is wearing there on the cover by Ross Andru. Why are you in such a hurry, Superman?)

Anyway, the Aquaman installment is titled, fittingly, "The End!", featuring a dynamic splash page by Heck
Aquaman and Poseidon(who was revealed to be Aquaman's father--sort of--last issue) find their way to Atlanna and Ocean Master, and Poseidon is blasted by a bolt of energy as they get close. Poseidon is temporarily stunned, but they press on.

When they get there, they find them both surrounded by Aquaman's worst nightmare...all his enemies there, together(or robot duplicates of, at least)
(from left to right: Marine Marauder, Fisherman, Black Manta, Seaquake, Scavenger, Starro, Captain Demo, and the Shark)

Aquaman manages to fight some of them off(luckily they, being robots, are not quite as menacing as the real deals), but he gets sucker-punched by Ocean Master. Just as he's about to blast Aquaman, Atlanna's sister, Atlena appears!

She reveals to her sister that Aquaman is not, in fact, the ultimate savior of Atlantis and that all this hatred is pointless! She begs Atlanna to stop, who is heartbroken over feeling that she has hurt her sister.

Atlanna asks Aquaman and Orm to mend their rift as their parents dying wish. She grabs Poseidon's hand and, touching the inter-dimensional transporter machine everyone was searching for, explodes it, destroying themselves. Orm is heartbroken but Aquaman tries to tell him that "they were gone a long time ago, Orm...a long, long time ago!" The end.

Like I said about the previous issue, this one felt a little rushed to me, as if DC wanted to hand off the feature ASAP to someone else so they crammed a lot in just eight pages. Bringing back Aquaman's parents is a huge, game-changing idea, and it needed more than a few pages to be fully explored. (Bob Rozakis would do a good job on Aquaman following this, but of course the tone of the series became very different under his tenure)

But, in total, DeMatteis' run on Aquaman was top-notch, and since its basically one long story, would make for an excellent collected edition. It'll be fun to see it all together if/when they get around to doing it in the Showcase books.

Classic Aquaman makes another appearance in this week's Teen Titans: Year One mini-series. As drawn by Karl Kerschl, Serge Lapointe, and Steph Peru, I think he looks pretty nifty.

On a completely unrelated note, I've done my first "Guest Blogger" piece over at my pal Pierre's excellent Frankensteinia blog.

So if you just can't get enough of my thoughts on obscure bits of comic book arcana(and who can?), go check it out
here. Thanks!


Adama said...

I know this is juvenile, but my first thought on that cover was "Err, Aquaman, you've got some runs in your tights, there. You might want to get those fixed before they reach more delicate areas..."

Hatter J said...

I meant to post this the last time you covered the Action Comics spots, but yeah, I agree. I have never liked Don Hecks Aquaman. I was never too fond of his Huntress either.

I also think that the version of Aquaman in the Titans year 1 is pretty stinkin' cool--especially that shot from the first issue where he's atop Storm.