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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Aquaman (Vol.5) #4 - March 1994

sgComics Weekend The gripping conclusion to Aquaman: Time and Tide!

We open in the recent past, with the villainous Ocean Master having Aquaman and Aqualad in a typical super-villain death trap, facing certain doom!

At this point, Aquaman gets to chronicling about Orm, the angry grandson of the family that took Orin in so many years ago.

Aquaman flashes back to the Good Old Days, when he was King of Atlantis, with a beautiful queen, a son, a young sidekick, and a city of devoted subjects.

It's as he presents his new son to his subjects that this mysteriously-dressed man confronts Arthur, and demands to fight him for the kingship of Atlantis. Aquaman makes quick work of him, and this "Ocean Master" is proven to be nothing of the kind. Instead of putting him to death for the attempted assassination of the King, Arthur shows mercy and lets him leave, with his tail between his legs. Mera, Aqualad, and Vulko are none too certain of their King's decision.

Soon after, Atlantis is attacked by a wave of torpedoes, and when Aquaman and Aqualad find their way into the sub launching them, they see the culprit is in fact...the Ocean Master!

It's here we wind our way back to the beginning, where Orm tells them why he has it out for Aquaman so bad. He then mentions how his Mother would tell him that his Father wasn't really his Father, that she was seduced by some sort of "undersea wizard."

As Aquaman is relating this tale in his journal, it dawns on him here that this is the prophecy he has been told, that two brothers, born of different mothers, would struggle for Atlantis. And this will lead to either Atlantis rejoining the Surface World...or be forever destroyed!

Back to the past, where Aquaman frees himself, pastes Ocean Master one, and then his sub is wrecked by Mera
...I love their chemistry here, in that last panel. I woulda skipped lots of JLA meetings, too.

They find that Ocean Master has escaped, but left his own henchmen to drown. Mera wonders what kind of monster is this man, which leads us back to the present, where Aquaman has to deal with the nightmarish reality that this murderous man is his brother. To be continued in the new, ongoing Aquaman series.

Probably my favorite issue of the four, since Peter David weaves in a lot of previous Aquaman history with his new, revised origin. I'm still not sold on redoing it all over like this, but it does have its virtues, and like many of the Aquaman comics of the time, it reads better to me now then it did before.

And obviously it was a hit with the readers, since the series sold well enough to right to a new ongoing book, which would eventually become the longest-running Aquaman solo title in the character's history.

The splash and opening few pages are lots of fun, where we get to see the Aquaman we all remember from the Haney/Cardy days:
I've never been a slavish devotee of continuity, but at the same time I don't think its right for a new writer and/or editor to just completely ignore all that has come before. That said, these pages with Aquaman and his colorful, happy family, makes me wish we could just have this Aquaman back again.

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