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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Aquaman (Vol.5) #3 - Feb. 1994

sgComics Weekend We were in the middle of talking about Aquaman: Time and Tide when we got interrupted by the New York Comic Con, so let's get back to it!

This third issue opens with the comely Inupiat girl Kako, as she's about to get mauled by an angry polar bear. Luckily, young Orin suddenly arrives and battles the bear to the death. Orin survives of course, but with severe, near-fatal wounds.

We then flash-forward to Aquaman in present day, recording the events of his life. He takes a gander at the deep scar under his hairline that has been there ever since the battle with the polar bear, a nice touch.

Back to the past, where we see Kako's grandfather encountering a rude, loud-mouthed example of the ever-encroaching White Man, and he doesn't like what he sees.

So he's none too thrilled when he comes home, and finds one in his home! Kako has taken the young blond man in to tend to his wounds. As Orin lay unconscious, he has a sort of dream where he finds himself in the ocean, face to face a with a mysterious, otherworldly woman, who offers him a choice to repent for killing the polar bear--either "pay with one dear to you, or take my hand and give yourself over to me."

Orin wakes up from this disturbing vision, and finds himself an uneasy guest in this Inupiat family's home. At the same time, that same loud-mouthed white man, Orm, is involved in bitter emotional turmoil with his mother and father, who are part of Kako's family.

Orin gets better, and as we see here, he and Kako get very close
Orin wakes up to find Kako gone, and nearly cut to ribbons. As Orin waits by her bedside, he re-encounters this strange demonic woman, who wants to claim Kako's soul as her price.

But this is the eventual King of the Seven Seas we're talking about here, and he uses his developing powers to turn this Medusa-like evil horde of eels back on her, and he can then "rescue" Kako. This demon tells Orin that she will be following him the rest of his life, to make sure he pays for his effrontery.

Kako wakes up, and Orin tells her family about his dream. Kako's grandfather is stricken, and tells him that he has been tangling with Nuliajuk, the mother of sea beasts. Now that Orin has offended her, Grandfather believes, all their lives will be cursed! The stress causes him to have a massive heart attack, and he dies.

Kako's grandmother is tired of all the misery this white man has brought to their home, and drives him out. Six months later, when Orin returned...he found them gone, as if they were never there. To be continued!

I thought it was interesting that DC had enough faith in this series to have entire issue like this where, except for a handful of flash-forward panels, Aquaman doesn't appear in costume at all. Not that there isn't any action in this book (of several different kinds), but usually you don't see origin stories as "pure" as the way this one is told.

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