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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Adventure Comics #437 - Feb. 1975

Comics Weekend "A Quiet Day in Atlantis"

Mike Grell is back for this, his third and final Aquaman story, but Steve Skeates has been replaced by Paul Levitz
Aquaman was zapped by Black Manta, of course, who watches from the safety of his Manta Ship.

He orders his crew to follow Aquaman's unconscious body into the pit, but it gets caught in a web of seaweed.

Aquaman wakes up, in time for the Manta Ship to blast some rocks above him, causing them to crash down on him, trapping Aquaman in a small cave carved into the rock wall. He goes looking for an escape:
...I love that octopus just sitting there, in the darkness. A nice touch by Mike Grell.

Aquaman talks to some finny friends and learns that the cavern leads out to an open sea farm, and after some more searching, he finds his way out.

Unfortunately, its not that easy:
Aquaman isn't strong enough to free himself, so, still wrapped in one of the creature's tentacles, he swims toward it at full speed, making a hard turn at the last second. The resultant *snap* breaks the tentacle off (ouch!), and Aquaman manages to escape.

But the day's not over. On the way back to Atlantis, he's in the right place at the right time to rescue a young girl who carelessly runs in front of a giant mechanized harvester.

He saves the girl, returning her back to her mother. He then collapses from exhaustion, waking up back in his royal chambers:
...with its humorous ending, this story reminds me a bit of the kind of story you might have seen in one of the Aquaman Filmation cartoons.

I like how Black Manta is regarded as sort of a permanent thorn in Aquaman's side, and you can work him into a story like this and have it just be a sub-plot.

That purple creature reminds me of the sort of icky beings Basil Wolverton was creating for Plop! covers around this same time. I imagine he (it?) was pretty mad at Aquaman, for snapping one of his arms off like that.

And that was it for Aquaman's second run in Adventure Comics. Of course, he would return in just a few issues, this time as the lead, drawn once again by The Man, Jim Aparo.

editor Joe Orlando was rotating different back-up features behind The Spectre main feature, so I think we can assume Aquaman was the best received, since it was he--not The Seven Soldiers of Victory, not Captain Fear--who got the promotion once the ground-breaking Spectre series ended.

Mike Grell had clearly proved his mettle to DC's editors, since he started receiving more and more assignments from this point on.

Tomorrow, as promised, we'll talk with Mike, about how he landed this assignment, what he thought about it, and where his career went after Aquaman. Be here!


Anonymous said...

Really dug that one-time only purple uniform Mera is wearing, too.

Anonymous said...

Cool story. Check out that Atlantian doctor...you can tell he's an ATLANTIAN doctor by his spiffy sci-fi stethoscope. ;) I like these kinds of fun adventures.

Unknown said...

Anybody else think Mera looks like Charro with red hair in the 2nd picture? LOL

Fleerfan said...


Thanks for bringing back such great memories for me with your review of this issue.

This was the first Aquaman story I ever owned. I missed a day of school as I was sick and my father came home from work with this comic for me to read while I was trying to recover from my illness.

The scene of him rescuing the little girl at the end of the story is permanently etched in my brain as he strains to rescue her and collapses immediately afterwards.

After this issue, I was hooked, and started buying the third Adventure run when they hit the newsstands (actually the 7-11!).

- Jon H.