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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Aquaman (Vol. 4) #6 - May 1992

sgComics Weekend Hasn't every Aqua Fan always wanted to see this cover? Another winner by Kevin Maguire.

Picking up from last weekend, Aquaman (Vol.4) #5 left off with Black Manta having destroyed Mercy Reef, a spot of great significance to Aquaman, most recently the spot where he buried his son. Manta is on a single-minded mission to destroy everything Arthur holds dear.

Aquaman decides to end this once and for all, and kill Black Manta.

He finds Manta outside the city of Poseidonis, still in rubble from its battle with the surface world country of Oumland. Manta then shoots "a little something" he stole from S.T.A.R. Labs, a headband of some sort that attaches itself to Aquaman's skull and takes control of his body.

Manta then shoots a toxin over the city (borrowed from a "Dr. Crane", a nice touch), causing the citizens to fight each other, one group thinking Aquaman is a hero, the other a menace.

One of them is immune to the toxin, and grabs a giant decorative "A" out of the Aqua Cave, showing it to the crowd, rallying them to his side, reminding them that its Black Manta who is their enemy, not Aquaman. They come out of their fog, and fight Manta's army of warriors. Manta is a tad surprised
Aquaman manages to get the device off his head (taking some scalp along with it) and dive-bombs Manta's ship, telling himself he won't let anything stop him from, once and for all, killing Black Manta. I like this segment, highlighting a superpower Aquaman has that isn't played up all that much: his super-fast reflexes:
Aquaman does what's shown on the cover, and grips his hands around Manta's throat. Unfortunately, Manta is still able to talk and mess with his mind, and when he suggests its Aquaman's fault that Mera left him, it startles Arthur long enough for Manta to stick a shiv in him.

As Black Manta scapes, he reminds everyone what an A-1 jerk he is:
Manta does escape his ship, but Aquaman commands a school of Surgeon Fish to attack his pressurized suit, tearing it, causing Manta to sink to the bottom of the ocean...

Meanwhile, Aquaman is met by his dolphin friend Porm, and Aquaman is paralyzed with sadness, realizing he couldn't even do what he set out to--kill Black Manta. A strange, wild-eyed face fills the final panel, exclaiming "Now you're mine!" To be continued!

You know, considering how much they have in common, its amazing that Aquaman and Batman aren't better friends. They each have a supervillain who killed their son, one who they've shown mercy to but keeps coming back, again and again. You'd think they'd do some sort of Strangers On A Train thing and wrap up each other's problem for good.

One of the nicest things about doing this blog is that its given me the opportunity to go back and read comics that I didn't necessarily like all that much the first time. Reading these again, I find these stories by writer Shaun McLaughlin work a lot better than I remember.

I mean, of course, we all know Aquaman isn't going to kill Black Manta--like the Joker, he's just too good a baddie to get rid of (and unlike Batman, Aquaman can't afford to thin his Rogues Gallery out), but this story works well anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"You'd think they'd do some sort of Strangers On A Train thing and wrap up each other's problem for good."

That's funny. I'm surprised that somebody hasn't written a story like that yet. Not necessarily with these two characters, but you know...with somebody.

Nothing to add here except to say that Maguire's Aquaman looks like a young, blonde Kurt Russell there.