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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Aquaman (Vol.6) #64 - Feb. 2000

Comics Weekend "War"

This was Dan Jurgens' second issue as writer on Aquaman, along with Steve Epting and Norm Rapmund as artists. We left off last issue with Cerdia having attacked Atlantis, but instead of using bombs and bullets, they used somewhat sentient coral to do the dirty work.

Like the previous issue, this one opens in the future, with an aged Garth talking to his granddaughter Donna who is writing a report on Atlantis:

Around this time, Garth and Dolphin's son had just been born, and with Mera and Vulko helping them out, it was up to Aquaman to survey the destruction of his city alone:
Luckily, via Mera's hard-water powers, she was able to help keep them all safe from the city's crumbling buildings. Once everyone is deemed reasonably okay, Garth--aka Tempest--vows to go help his old mentor. As he takes off, Mera curses to herself that Garth is a lot like her husband, who was always putting duty ahead of family.

He meets up with Aquaman and members of the Atlantean Guard, who are now searching for survivors:
I love the statue of Arthur and Mera in happier times being part of the wreckage. A nice touch.

Aquaman's right hand man, Rodunn, asks why he doesn't just command the coral to stop attacking, but Aquaman explains that while they are sentient, they are so primitive that they don't understand his commands.

But that gives Aquaman an idea--he finds a collection of jellyfish, which are the most primitive sea creatures that could still understand his commands. He has plants the command to stop attacking in the jellyfish's heads, and they in turn communicate to the coral.

He also told the coral--which, while made up of billions of tiny organisms, are acting as one--to break apart if they are hit. He and Tempest then go about the hitting:
Meanwhile, back in Cerdia, Queen Charlanda and her lieutenant, Counselor Whynt, are surveying their strike against Atlantis. Charlanda is happy with the work of the "inside agent" they hired to help with the coral attack, but Whynt wonders why this agent would help them--"What's in it for them?"

Under the water, someone we can't quite see arrives in Atlantis and attacks Mera, Vulko, and Dolphin. And they are pleased to find a newborn child, as well...

Aquaman and Tempest return to Atlantis to help rescue more survivors, including some Surface Dwellers who regularly visit Atlantis as part of an exotic tourist trip. As he finds some of them, one of his soldiers, an Ensign Sh'Hasc, tells his king to leave them to him:
Aquaman tries to calm him and some other down, while Tempest helps get the Surface Dwellers out of harm's way. Then Rodunn arrives, and tells them things are even worse--an Atlantean school has been hit!

Aquaman digs through the crumbled building, but there are no survivors--627 Atlantean children are dead. For a few moments, everything is quiet, as Aquaman is on his knees, overwhelmed.

He eventually collects himself, and asks Tempest what it was that he was trying to tell Arthur earlier, but Arthur didn't have the time to hear it--that his son has been born.

This small glimmer of hope is immediately dimmed by the news from Mera that someone has kidnapped the child! Aquaman has had enough:
To be continued!

Jurgens, Epting, and Rapmond made for a good team on Aquaman--this is a big, exciting storyline, and Epting delivered some astounding layouts. In each issue Aquaman gets at least one full-page shot where he looks dynamic and, well, cool--and this issue's double-page splash is a great example of that. And I think Epting's muscular, action-oriented work is a nice contrast to the covers by Michael Wm. Kaluta, whose work is more gentle and fanciful, but just as compelling.

Be here tomorrow to follow the continuing battle between Aquaman and Cerdia!

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