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Saturday, September 20, 2008

DC Challenge #3 - Jan. 1986

sgComics Weekend After finishing up a long run of Aquaman-centric comics, like we did in the last few weeks with our talk about his mid-70s Adventure Comics run, I like to take a break and examine some of Arthur's guest-appearances or cameos in other books.

So today we're talking about DC Challenge (or is that DC Challenge!?), the unusual round-robin min-series that ran for twelve issues in 1985 and 1986, which each issue done by a different creative team, trying their best to wrap up the previous issue's cliffhangers, move the story forward, and leave the next issue's creative team a whole new bunch of dangling plot threads.

From what I remember, DC Challenge wasn't that big a success, either critically or in sales, but I enjoyed the series quite a bit and thought it was exactly what it was meant to be--a lot of fun, featuring lots of different characters from the far-flung corners of the DC universe.

This third issue is by Doug Moench, Carmine Infantino, and Bob Smith, and they were left with, among other stories, a cliffhanger of Aquaman stranded in the desert, with the hour he can survive without water almost up
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As a kid, I never tried much to figure out who the murderer or culprit was in mystery movies, or books, and preferred to just let the story play out.

But this was different--this was Aquaman, near death, with the minutes of his life ticking away! It got me very concerned, and I tried mightily between issues 2 and 3 how he was going to get out of this. I was stumped.

But Doug Monech, always an ingenious writer, gave Aquaman a perfectly simple yet gruesome way out:
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...eww! Never let it be said that Aquaman doesn't get the job done.

Having escaped certain death, Aquaman finds his way to an oasis, in the more ways than one--first, he finds a pool of refreshing water, and when he returns to the surface he sees some friendly faces:
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The issue continues on with its other plot lines, concerning Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Jonah Hex, B'Wana Beast(!), and winds its way back to Aquaman, just in time to leave him in another jam:
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Uh-oh!

The story is of course to be continued, and we'll see next Saturday how Aquaman (and writer Paul Levitz) gets out of this one!

3 comments:

Andy Luckett said...

Wow, Aquaman is hard-core! He pulled a "Conan the Barbarian" move!

I really like it when writers think creatively about heroes' powers and find new ways to get them out of trouble.

I've never read this series (or really found many of the issues at all) but I think based on this post I'll put it on my ever-growing list of "comics to read in the future".

BentonGrey said...

Ohh yeah! Aquaman is such a BA! This reminds me of the time in JLA: Classified where he makes it through a forest fire by rehydrating himself with blood. That's what more writers need to learn about Arthur, he may not be the strongest, fastest, or toughest Leaguer, but he is absolutely the hardest to stop.

Frank Lee Delano said...

There must be something in the water. While I was out of town, I bought every issue of Challenge with Martian Manhunter in it. Then I come home to find both you and Scipio at the Absorbascon referencing it.