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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Aquaman (Vol.6) #75 - Jan. 2001

Comics Weekend "No Future"

The final issue of Aquaman, again by the boffo team of Dan Jurgens, Steve Epting, and Norm Rapmund, with another beautiful, majestic cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta.

Last issue ended with Aquaman and Rodunn having entered the mysterious pit that seemingly killed Garth. But of course Aquaman doesn't give up so easily, and after some searching, they see that Garth is alive after all, if not for long:

For once, instead of charging headlong into a fight, Arthur decides to use some strategy--he orders Rodunn to head home and get the Atlantean army:
After Rodunn leaves, Aquaman sneaks onto the giant ship that is holding Garth, knocking out one its armored guards.

He then reaches Garth ("Troubles, Tadpole?"), freeing him. But of course its not that easy:
Aquaman and Tempest fight this "Omniguard" to a standstill, so he--it--them--decide to tip the battle in its favor: by splitting into three separate beings! One of them attacks Garth, while the other two go after Arthur.

Meanwhile, back in Atlantis, Rodunn has returned, and assembled the Atlantean army. But its Mera who takes command of Rodunn's ship, leading the charge!

Back in the pit, Aquaman and Tempest use their telepathic and teleportation powers (respectively) to try and defeat these Omniguards, and Aquaman starts the heavy pounding:

With the Omniguards defeated, Aquaman and Tempest are then met by the residents of the ship--all five million of them, it looks like--and the ships' captain tells them that they needed to find a new source of energy to run their ship.

Their ship is propelled by an interdimensional "key" that helps tap into the energy force of a magical dimension. But this key melted down after a long trip, leaving them stranded in this dimension. A scanner on the ship detected Garth and his magical powers, so they grabbed him to be used as their new key.

They demand Garth be returned into the harness they had him in, but of course Aquaman is having none of it. He tells the ship's captain to check his flank, and he sees the Atleantean army flying overhead! End of discussion.

Later, we learn that Garth was able to connect them into another dimension, giving them the energy they need to leave. Aquaman also figures out that the surge that melted their key was probably the cause of the rift that dragged him and Mera into Skartaris.

Aquaman and Garth watch the aliens leave, and then make their way home. And, for the moment, all is well:

...the end. For now.

What can I say? Reading this issue always makes me sad, because Jurgens, Epting, and Rapmund were a solid team, delivering a solid book, and to see it all end after just a year is just short of tragic. It seems like Aquaman can never catch a break.

On the letters page, Aquaman fan Krikor Melkisetekian is apoplectic with rage over the book's cancellation, arguing that DC didn't really bother to do much--if any--marketing of the book, so how did they expect it to succeed? Editor Tony Bedard doesn't have many answers.

I had a lot of fun looking back over this run of Aquaman, I hope you did as well. I know some of you have never read these stories; I hope these posts will get you to go find these issues for yourselves, they're well worth the effort.

And the fun's not over yet! I liked these issues of Aquaman so much I wanted to learn more about their creation, so be here tomorrow where we'll have an interview with the man behind the stories, Dan Jurgens!


Anonymous said...

I love this run, Rob. It is, to me, the culmination of the promise and potential of what Peter David began with "Pirate Aquaman". Jurgen's take on long-haired Aquaman is excellent, a true leader and a man who uses his mind, his brawn, and his heart to make tough decisions. I was also very sorry to see this over so quickly, especially coming after Eric Larsen's shallow, soapy take on the Aqua-clan.

For modern Aquaman, I thought this Jurgens/Epting/Rapmund run and the Pfiefer/Gleason/Alamy run (up until "Sword of Atlantis" started) are both great takes on Arthur that should've been given time to find their audience. I'd have loved to see either of them continue, or one lead into the other.

Rob, I look forward to your interview with Dan Jurgens, to see how he felt about his work with our man Artie.

Anonymous said...

It definitely seems like this is that rarest of creatures, a truly worthwhile and good modern interpretation of Aquaman. The hero of these tales seems to be heroic in the true sense of the word. His cast is well drawn, and he is noble in bearing and action. The art...wow....I haven't said this before, but the art in this series is probably the best art Aquaman has had since Aparo. It is one of the greatest tragedies in the characters history that this team wasn't given more time with the character. If the latest run had been drawn by an artist of this caliber...well...things may have gone differently. I am DEFINITELY going to track this series down.