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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aquaman (Vol.1) #55 - Feb. 1971

sgComics Weekend Aquaman travels to a sub-atomic world!

Aquaman as a title had an extraordinary run of covers, all by Nick Cardy, featuring the Sea King in situations that you just knew he was not going to be able to get out of, and this issue is no exception. Here's my fifteen cents, Mr. News-Vendor Sir!

This issue opens with Aquaman and Mera talking to Vulko, who are in the middle of some sort of plan involving a huge computer.

Aquaman stands on a platform, over a small ruby ring. Both he and Mera are told to concentrate, and "think about only one thing."

Aquaman gives the signal, Vulko flips a switch, and Aquaman starts to transform, getting smaller and smaller, until
(I normally don't post two full pages of a comic in a row, but I wanted to get that fun panel of the JLA in here--you never got to see Jim Aparo draw the whole team, so this is a treat)

Just having arrived back in this sub-atomic world, Aquaman runs into some trouble--yucky, icky trouble:
Aquaman manages to avoid the creature's grasp, and then he gets a sort of mental transmission from Mera, instructing him where to go.

He finds his way to a colony of futuristic-looking buildings, and when he gets close, he is attacked by a group of tiny beings baring weapons. He manages to punch his way through some of them, but is outnumbered and knocked out.

Meanwhile, back in Atlantis, Aqualad is watching a small gathering of his fellow citizens, who are listening to a would-be political leader give an angry speech blaming Aquaman and Vulko for their troubles. Aqualad is concerned, and leaves to tell Aquaman.

Back in the alternate dimension, the beings who attacked Aquaman are carrying him somewhere. He wakes up, but plays possum until the right moment when some of them have wandered off, and then he fights back, breaking free:
Aquaman, now that he has found the woman he came to rescue, is shocked to learn that she doesn't want to leave. Even though she is being forced to work for these beings, she has decided to stay where she is.

She gives Aquaman the bum's rush and tells him to go, warning him that these same beings will be arriving soon. And she's right:
...I love how different Aparo makes each panel, that second one being an especially cool example. Nice use of zip-a-tone.

Aquaman tries to fight them off, having no real reason for the conflict, when Mera draws him back to their dimension, many hours ahead of schedule.

But Aquaman is okay with that, since, as he tells them, his whole mission was for naught anyway. Aqualad shows up and tells him what's been going on in the meantime:
I love that half-page ad for the next issue! Very fun!

You'd think that's the end of the issue, but, oddly enough, there's another whole story, titled "Computer Trap!" that follows:
Aquaman learns, via the computer's mind probe, that it was built many centuries ago by a civilization to help develop the society.

But it did too good a job, and eventually the computer learned how to control the citizens' minds, and put them to work. It controlled everyone except the young people, who grew tired of living under a machine's rule, and took off to find a better way of living.

With the remains citizens aging and no new people to take their place, eventually the city went dead:
...Great Neptune, do I love Aparo's design for the computer.

The computer is now reaching out to people outside of the colony, in an effort to repopulate. Aquaman is helpless to move due to its mind control, but he strains and communicates with a passing electric eel, which enters the cave and short-circuits the computer's hold on the Sea King.

Now free, Aquaman calls in more finny friends:
Aquaman makes a mental note to tell everyone in Atlantis to steel clear of this area, and specifically Atlantis' scientists, since "There's a lesson to be learned here somewhere!"

But for right now, Aquaman is merely relieved...

What an odd little story! More of a think piece with Aquaman dragged into it, but still fun to read nonetheless. Man, the ocean is full of dangerous stuff...

This penultimate issue of Aquaman features two pages of letters, ending with editor Dick Giordano telling us to look for an Aquaman Annual, "scheduled for release in 1971."



Anonymous said...

Hmm, an interesting issue with Aquaman heading to that subatomic world, but it seems like a missed opportunity to me. We should have gotten another Aquaman/Atom teamup! I love that one panel of Arthur plowing through those creatures, where he is taking a shot to the face, and it doesn't even slow him down! That art is just beyond fantastic. We need an artist like that on a new Aquaman mag...just think what that could be like!

Carter Hall said...

Amazing artwork in this book!