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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aquaman (Vol.1) #59 - Jan. 1978

Comics Weekend "Prey Perilous!" by David Michelinie and Jim Aparo.

After a couple of weeks away, we're back to talking about Aquaman's brief return as a solo title in 1977!

Behind a very iconic, poster-like Jim Aparo cover (which was good enough to be a poster, and was), this issue continues the events from Aquaman #58, where Aquaman had escaped a deathtrap set for him by The Fisherman.

For some reason, a NATO ship is now firing at him!
The ship's captain tells Aquaman those were just "warning shots", to keep Aquaman away from the area.

Aquaman is having none of that, saying he's been following the trail of The Fisherman, and he's not about to stop now. But before the Captain can argue, there's a giant rumbling under the water, and giant hunks of rock come spewing from the surface!

The Captain tells an ensign to pilot the ship away from the disturbance, but the rudder has been damaged, causing the ship to head straight for the dangerous waterspout!

The Captain asks why doesn't Aquaman "do something", but the Sea King is already ahead of him:
Aquaman heads down below to see what the trouble is, and discovers his target--The Fisherman!

The Fisherman is talking to someone via remote control, who seems to be the mastermind behind all this. As The Fisherman sends some goons to attack Aquaman, we cut away to Portugal, where we get a tiny glimpse of who that "mastermind" might be.

But that will have to wait--Aquaman is busy busting the heads of The Fisherman's goons. An errant bomb thrown at Aquaman (which misses) shifts the rocks keeping The Fisherman's "sonic scoop" loose, and the ship begins to teeter off a ridge, and plunge deep into the Marianiss Trench!

Aquaman is determined not to let it get away, since inside is the item everyone's been looking for:
Yes, its the Scavenger! He has plans for the "Bellerophon" as well--selling it to the highest bidder on the black market!

Aquaman tries to force his way into the Scavenger's ship, but its defenses keep Aquaman out long enough for him to get away. Aquaman then turns to the Fisherman, offering to team-up with him to track down the Scavenger--a whole "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" type of thing.

But The Fisherman, being your classic dumb villain, refuses, much to the chagrin of his boss, who hears all this over the remote control. He demands The Fisherman go with Aquaman, but ol' shell-head has had enough, tossing the radio aside.

Aquaman takes off after The Scavenger alone, so The Fisherman uses those few moments to take one last shot at Aquaman, firing a radioactive harpoon at him!

Aquaman can't break loose from it, so he tries something else:
To be continued!

But that's not all! This issue also features chapter 2 of the Mera back-up story (written by our pal Paul Kupperberg), where she has traveled to her home dimension, following the one small chance Vulko says she has to save her son's life:
Mera is attacked by Leron's goons, and only stops fighting when he threatens to kill Xebel, his prisoner and the man Mera came all this way to see.

Did I say stops fighting? Mera uses a moment where Leron is distracted to attack him, knocking him to the ground.

Leron recovers, and tries to imprison her in a hard water cage, which Mera breaks open with barely a thought--surprising Leron with the sheer force of will Mera is displaying.

Leron tries one more time, using all of his powers to crush Mera to death:
...also to be continued!

You know, during my posts on Blackest Night, I've been talking a lot about how dynamic and forceful Mera is, much more so than she's been written as in a long time.

But looking back at these back-ups, as modest as they are (as sort of a sub-plot to the main story, as opposed to a completely different, Mera-centric storyline), I have to say the Mera here is just as heroic as the one in Blackest Night. She barely hesitates to tackle Leron, and when he tries to trap her in a hard water cage, she smashes it open with nary a thought. Nice!

The previous issue of Aquaman mentioned an Aquaman Annual than would never come, and in this issue's letters page, its mentioned again, this time as an "Aquaman Special":
...that's me, still sobbing.


Anonymous said...

You need to ask Mr. Kupperberg if he remembers any of the plans of that Aquaman Special/Annual. Although maybe finding out the details will only depress us more.

Russell said...

This cover was also the poster that appeared in some collection besides the one you mentioned in the original "poster" post. That background was more orange than yellow, as you showed in your photo. It also featured the Batman Family by Garcia-Lopez, so maybe there was some link...? Anybody?

And does that letter response mean that perhaps Arthur Jr was not meant to STAY dead?! If that is the case, that was a terrible editorial decision to keep him dead. (sigh)

Diabolu Frank said...

I'm afraid I stopped short of these last Aquaman vol. 1.5 issues, having collected from the revival in Adventure Comics until here. Not a criticism-- just my source dried up, and I never pursued the matter. Since my opinion of Mera was formed in the 80s, I've tended to view her more as a "Jean Loring" type. I regret not having given her more of a chance in the past, but then again, it's hard getting past the last few decades of "homicidal psycho witch" characterization. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis on "Aquababy: Reborn" would go a long ways toward helping...