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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Teen Titans Spotlight #18 - Jan. 1988

sgComics Weekend Aqualad teams up with his former mentor in this issue of Teen Titans Spotlight!

This issue of Teen Titans Spotlight stretches the format quite a bit, in that this issue is pretty much an Aquaman and Aqualad story, and could've run in an Aquaman solo series, had there been one at the time.

As the cover indicates, this was one of the approximately ten thousand Millennium tie-in books, featuring ancillary stories involving the main baddies of the series, the Manhunters.

This issue's story is "Sea Change" by our pal Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, with art by Art Thibert, and it opens with Aqualad in the grips of a giant squid, who is not only ignoring Garth's mental commands, but seems completely oblivious to them!

As the squid starts to crush Garth into paste, (preparing its dinner, presumably), he is rescued by an old friend

Not a minute after Aquaman gets the squid to ease up, Garth gets mad at Arthur because he perceives his old mentor as humoring him, when Garth insists he could've eventually freed himself, if given another minute.

Garth tells Arthur that his mental powers have started going haywire ever since he was held prisoner by Mento (a nice tag-back to the previous issue of TTS, that we talked about yesterday), but their discussion is interrupted when they notice massive throngs of fish all hurriedly headed in one direction.

Suddenly they are hit by an explosion, and when they investigate, they see something they didn't expect:
Inside these mechanical jellyfish are Manhunters, and Aquaman clues Garth in on some of the events that took place in Millennium #1. One of the jellyfish then blast our heroes with electricity, knocking them out.

The Manhunters then proceed with their mission, which involves them digging into the sea floor with high-powered lasers.

Aquaman and Aqualad eventually wake up, and see what the Manhunters are after--a spaceship that has been buried under tons of undersea rubble! The Manhunters get it free, and use their jellyfish to start carrying it away. Aquaman then whips out the old "finny friends" bit:
While Arthur uses the fish to slow the Manhunters down, the two of them swoop in and start busting some mechanical heads.

They are met by some specially-designed Manhunters, like one with crab-like pincers, and another with scary, shark-like teeth. Luckily Aquaman and Aqualad defeat them as well.

Aquaman asks Garth if he notices the brief flashes of an alien mind that he experienced when in contact with the jellyfish. Garth says yes, and Aquaman surmises that these jellyfish are at least partly real living creatures, and susceptible to the Sea King's mental commands!

He tries this, but finds his mental powers are being blocked, and then thrown back at him, like feedback! This stuns Aquaman, and he lets out a painful scream.

Aqualad is now being attacked by the re-grouped Manhunters, and he decides to go for broke--he grabs the one of the jellyfish's tentacles, causing their tremendous power to "break" the mental block Garth has been experiencing!

While this is enormously painful, it works, and Garth commands some killer whales to attack the Manhunters, as well as taking control of the jellyfish:

Aquaman then wakes up, hands him off to a friendly octopus, and then finishes off the Manhunters.

The Manhunters don't take defeat well, and they blow themselves up! Sore losers, those Manhunters.

Aquaman returns, and guesses that the massive explosion the Manhunters buried themselves in was to hide what they were doing, but they resign themselves to never knowing what.

But they are in possession of the recovered spaceship, which they take topside to deliver to some of the other heroes involved in this escapade. Aquaman realizes that Garth beat the Manhunters, rescued the jellyfish, captured the saucer, and regained his powers!

He says: "I'm proud of you, Garth!" Garth replies: "I'm proud of me, too!" The end.

A fun issue, and it works on its own without having to read all the Millennium books, which is nice. Thibert provides solid superhero art, reminiscent a bit of Mike Grell's work on the character back in
Adventure Comics.


Anonymous said...

I liked this issue. During a totally DRY spell for Aquaman (sorry!) this was like a breath of fresh...water? I do and always did have a question, though: since when did Aqualad have mental control of sea creatures?? I don't think I ever saw him have this power, and I don't think I ever saw it again. So really, the whole point of the story was wrong?

Anonymous said...

I believe he exhibited some control during the Silver Age, but he was never anywhere near as strong as Aquaman. His was more of a communication, while Arthur's was a true control. I could be wrong about that, however. This sounds like a great story, and a whole lot better than any of the rest of the Millennium dreck that they put out. I like that they end up with the two heroes putting aside the baggage, and just being HEROIC.