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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Aquaman (Vol.1) #36 - Dec. 1967

sgComics Weekend Aquaman vs...The Awesome Threesome!

For this week's Comic Weekend, we're heading all the way back to the late 60s, when Aquaman was arguably as popular as he ever has been.

Just look at the cover (a beauty, by Nick Cardy)--"The King of the Sea is now King of TV!" (Too bad the Aquaman pilot didn't sell, otherwise DC could've used that blurb again for Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis)

This issue's story is "What Seeks the Awesome Threesome" by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy, starting off with your standard very-exciting, poster-like splash page (with the old-school Aquaman logo, oddly enough):
At the "Expo 21st Century", a sort of DC Comics-style World's Fair, throngs of people line up to see one particular exhibit: the Atlantean Pavilion, the stars of which are Aquaman and his AquaFamily:
Aquaman and the rest perform some tricks involving the King of the Sea's finny friends, to much amazement and applause. Afterwards, they all decide to check out the rest of the Expo (including ice cream and a local rock band).

Meanwhile, three bizarre beings are headed towards the Pavilion, and they're clearly up to no good:
The three beings--Torpedo Man, Claw, and Magneto(!), attack the pavilion, smashing it. They then convert into more human-like beings and walk right onto land and start attacking the people!

Aquaman and Aqualad show up, and start to bust some metallic heads. This sequence features this particularly exciting page:
After knocking out Aquaman and Aqualad, they finish destroying another exhibit at the Expo, a "Gyro-Moleculizer". But why would they want to destroy that and then vanish?

Aquaman learns the answer when, after waking up and reuniting with Mera, he hears a loud rumble inside the exhibit. They all run inside, and see something even more surprising:
The alien starts to attack and smash the Gyro-Monorail, almost killing some innocent people in the process.

After the combined efforts of Aquaman, Aqualad, and Mera temporarily stop the alien, it heads for the water. Once underwater, it hops aboard a giant squid, and heads for Atlantis.

As Aquaman and Aqualad chase it, they are stopped by the Awesome Threesome (self-named, clearly). But this time, Aquaman is ready for them, and he calls in a huge group of his finny friends, who attack the trio, while Aquaman and Aqualad continue to give chase.

They see the alien lift its arm, holding some sort of gadget. A beam of light shines down from a flying saucer, picking the alien up and inside it. What's going on here?

Aquaman and Aqualad return to find a smashed up Torpedo Man, floating helplessly in the water. Turns out this alien was a convict, serving a prison sentence on Earth. His sentence was up, and the aliens sent mental commands to the Threesome to help free the alien.

As Torpedo Man drifts further and further into the ocean depths, our heroes return to the expo, where they are adored by the surface dwellers:
...the ever-lovin' end!

As usual, Bob Haney crams in enough plot in this one story for three or four modern comics. The man must have had ideas come to him so fast he could barely get them all down.

Its interesting to see how much DC tried to put almost all its big time heroes into the same basic format--the hero, surrounded by a team of super-powered associates and partners, a base of operations, with a rotating rogues gallery. The Awesome Threesome reminds me a lot of Batman's Terrible Trio, even if one of them stole his name from The X-Men.


Anonymous said...

Man, that sounds like a pretty good story. Once again, this is a tale that I've heard of, but your summary makes it a great deal more lucid. The Awesome Threesome are just SCREAMING for someone to give them a bit of an image update, make the robots look a bit more streamlined and interesting, and bring them back as threats to the sea king!

Unknown said...

I loved the Filmation Aquaman cartoons and the 'Awesome Threesome' in their one and a half appearances were among my favorite Aqua-baddies.

I was thrilled to find that unlike some of the cartoon foes, they were from the comics (it wasn't until later that I found it was the other way around), and I searched for this comic for some time. When I found it I wasn't that impressed - save the art and color.

I wonder why DC didn't bring other cartoon foes to the comics?

And like bentongrey, I would love to see these guys return revamped for today. Wikipedia, always a source to mistrust, says Torpedo appeared in Villains United. Anyone have any insight on this?

rob! said...

"Wikipedia, always a source to mistrust"

that made me laugh. that should be their tag line!