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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Adventures in The DC Universe #15 - June 1998

sgComics Weekend Aquaman returns to Adventures in the DC Universe!

This issue was Aquaman's second, and last, solo outing in the fun, all-too-short-lived omnibus title. It was aimed primarily at kids (featuring, for the most part, John Delaney's cartoony art).

I thought the book did a pretty good job at that--the stories were fun, fast-paced, and for the most part had the heroes being brave and virtuous, without all the emotional turmoil that goes on in the regular titles.

Anyway, the first story stars Captain Marvel (or Shazam!, as Marvel's lawyers insist) in a story called "Out of the Dark Cloud"--but that's for the awesome Marvel Family blog, we're here to talk about Aquaman!

Aquaman stars in "Battle Royal" by Steve Vance, Delaney, and Dave Cooper. We find Aquaman bored out of his long-tressed skull as he deals with the soul-crushing minutiae of running an empire:
Aquaman gets so bored he takes off, leaving Vulko to handle all the technical stuff. Thanks, pal.

He aimlessly wanders the seas, and feels subtly drawn to a dark cavern he happens by. He wanders in, which sucks him into a vortex, and he comes out the other side, only to see a gang of lizard-like creatures attacking a castle.

He assesses the situation, but hesitates before jumping in fists first:
He gets blasted through the wall of the castle, where he meets a princess who seems to know him, as she calls him "Arthur." Turns out she summoned him here to defend her, since the knights he saw fighting off the intruders are just empty suits animated by magic. Magic?

Turns out this woman is Viviane, aka The Lady of the Lake. She talks of a sacred trust that must be bestowed...until she is interrupted:

sgYep, it's Morgan Le Fay, who claims ownership of the sword.

What sword?, Aquaman wonders--oh, it's just Excalibur!

He reaches for the sword, only to be stopped by the lizard men. They are shocked to learn he can talk--Morgan told them "fleshy ones only grunted."

Aquaman convinces these guys they're being manipulated by Morgan, who pleasantly beg off and decide this is between them. Nice fellas!

While Morgan fights with Viviane, Aquaman grabs Excalibur, which he uses to fight off her magic powers. He then grabs onto her using his grappling hook hand, and she shape-shifts into a crow, flying out of the water and dumping Aquaman on land.

It's here he meets none other than King Arthur, who comments that he is happy to hear his subject's petty complaints, because that means his people have time for them, and not worrying about war, famine, and death.

Aquaman realizes the error of his ways, but hangs around long enough to see Viviane hand Arthur the mighty Excalibur. Vivaine then sends Aquaman back to his own time, and this time, Arthur is happy to be the King. The end.

A really fun tale, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And even though this was around Aquaman's angriest phase, here he's dynamic, thoughtful, and fun. I think I could've read an entire Aquaman series by Vance and Delaney if they had all been this good.

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