Saturday, February 28, 2009

Showcase #30 - Feb. 1961

Comics Weekend "The Creatures From Atlantis" by Jack Miller and Ramona Fradon.

After twenty years(!) of never having his own feature, Aquaman finally got tapped by DC to be a headliner, in the tryout title Showcase. In this first
of four issues, we'll learn quite a bit about the King of the Seven Seas:
The story opens with Aquaman and Aqualad rescuing a cargo ship that has caught fire. After returning to the Aqua Cave, a lantern fish arrives with a message...from Atlantis!

This gets Aquaman to recall his childhood, and it's here where we get to see Aquaman's new origin--lighthouse keeper Tom Curry rescues a mysterious woman named Atlanna(hmm....) who he found floating on a raft in the middle of a hurricane. They soon fell in love and produced a son(off-panel) named Arthur, who immediately displays amazing powers!

Later, his mother dies, revealing her son's true heritage, and explaining his amazing abilities:
As Aquaman arrives at Atlantis, he is attacked and captured by a pair of mysterious, lizard-like creatures who have taken over Atlantis with plans to attack the Surface World!

He is then imprisoned by the aliens:
He is then to put to work as a part of a prison gang, assisting other inmates in building a giant machine, whose purpose is unknown.

Aquaman tries to get his finny friends to help free them all, but the aliens fight them off with giant blowguns (they even work on giant whales...those must be really powerful blowguns!)

Aquaman gets another idea, and hides in one of the giant metal tubes that are stacked nearby. While hiding, he overhears the aliens' dastardly plan: the machine is some sort of giant melting ray, which they plan to use on the Surface World to become rulers of Earth!

Aquaman is then discovered by the aliens, and put in a cage far from everyone else. But he manages to send another telepathic signal to a nearby guppy, who leaves and returns with Aqualad in tow!

Aquaman is now free, but he learns that the aliens have taken their weapon and gone!
Aquaman makes a frontal assault on two of the aliens standing on the deck of the ship, and both of them jump into the water, preparing to fire on him.

At the last moment, they are grabbed by Aquaman's faithful octopus pal, Topo, but there are still all the aliens inside the ship.

The aliens' melting ray destroys all the various missiles and bombs Aquaman has his finny friends throw at them, so he tries another approach: getting a flock of sea gulls to drop bombs right down the hatch of the ship, blowing it up!

Aquaman, with the help of some electric eels, rounds up all the remaining aliens, and grabs one of their weapons, which returns them to the dimension from which they came.

Having saved Atlantis, Aquaman is treated as a hero:
...the end!

If I had been a kid in 1961, buying this comic off the newsstands, I would've written a letter begging DC to give Aquaman his own book.

Jack Miller's story moves along at a brisk clip, and even though this is Aquaman's first book-length story, it doesn't drag or feel padded.

And of course, what to say about the art? Ramona Fradon was at the top of her game her, giving delivering that beautifully clean, distinctive look for Aquaman that would made his feature in Adventure Comics one of the best looking strips in DC's stable.

Of couese, Fradon would not be doing the art for Aquaman's next issue of Showcase, but her replacement was no slouch either. Be here tomorrow to see Aquaman--as drawn by Nick Cardy--fight "The Sea Beasts from One Billion B.C.!"

Friday, February 27, 2009

Showcase #30 Ad - 1961

This house ad for Aquaman's first solo feature (in Showcase #s 30-33) was sent to me by Robby Reed (of the late, great Dial "B" For Blog). Thanks Robby!

Visually, its a pretty dull ad, so I think we can safely assume it was not done by DC's in-house design genius Ira Schnapp--I think the tip-off is the use of typesetting, as opposed to Ira's exquisitely hand-lettered text.

This ad is serving a double purpose, in that tomorrow for Comics Weekend we'll be talking about this very issue, Showcase #30! Be here!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Way Catalog, Part 1

This awwwwwesome ad is from the catalog of Our Way Studios, who produced oodles of stationary and stickers emblazoned with DC and Marvel Comics' stars in the 1970s.

As you can see, the Aquaman stand-up (drawn by Neal Adams) is dead center, as it ought to be. Interesting to note that, while the two companies' characters do appear in the same ad, they pretty much stay to their respective sides (except for Wonder Woman, who, considering her DC sales figures, might have been considering jumping ship).

Jeez, I really miss ads like this--they made the product (whatever it was) look like so much fun.

As you maybe could guess, this ad is courtesy Brian Heiler, who did a whole post on the Our Way Studios catalog over on his blog Plaid Stallions. Thanks Brian!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It's time for another installment of Aqua-Mail!

It's been a really long time since we last took a dip in the Aquaman Shrine Mailbag, so I thought after the 1-2-3 punch of interviews with Mike Grell, Dan Jurgens, and Steve Epting, we'd spend today checking out some various bits o'Aquaman stuff around the web.

These shots were sent to me by F.O.A.M. member Doug Zawisza
These are the spiffy new Aquaman and Mera busts, available from DC Direct in October 2009.

At $70 and $55, respectively, their certainly worth the price (that Mera one--hubba hubba!), but even at those reasonable price tags, these might be two items I have to wait for a while to order. Thanks Doug!
Next is an article on MSNBC, of all places, titled "9 Comic Book Characters to Watch in 2009." Aquaman isn't on the list, but they do throw in him at end:
What the above means, I have no idea, but each new year we always have our fingers crossed that Aquaman will receive a new solo feature!

This link was sent to me by new F.O.A.M. member Sal in Brooklyn. Thanks Sal!
In a conversation with DC head honcho Dan Didio by Newsarama, Didio goes over the various comments made to him at the 2009 NY Con, including this:

"And of course, someone wanted to see an Aquaman reboot. As DiDio said, 'There's one in every crowd.'"

...hmm. If only DC could figure out what that might mean, in terms of bringing Aquaman back. Why oh why must us comics fans talk in riddles?!?

That link was sent to me by the new F.O.A.M. member only known as "King Megatrip." Thanks King! Or is it thanks Megatrip?

Megatrip also sent me the above article, which appeared on the Topless Robot site, about the perceived slight the author thought was being delivered to Aquaman, since from the above photo he assumed Aquaman was not part of the new Brave and the Bold toy line.

He was quickly corrected by commenters, but his passion and sense of righteous anger over Aquaman getting dissed is always appreciated around these parts. F-words and everything!

...this really interesting article (click the image to read all of it) is all about the Creative Director of the upcoming DC Universe Online RPG game, a man named Jens Andersen, who is a big Aquaman fan. Huge. (Wait until you read about "Aquaman Wednesdays")

This article was sent to me Richard Duncan. Thanks Richard!

This shot of Black Manta making time with the comely Lady Action at the NY Con (go Manta!) was sent to me by Ed Catto, one of the guys behind the revival of Captain Action, who of course has history with the Sea King.

I somehow managed to miss seeing the giant dome-headed Manta at the con (who am I, Matt Murdock?), so I appreciate Ed sending this photo along. Thanks Ed!
F.O.A.M. member Glenn Walker sent me a link to this podcast (scroll down to episode #103) where the hosts spend the good portion of an hour(!) talking about Aquaman.

I don't agree with everything they say, but their passion for the character is obvious, and of course Aquaman needs all the attention he can get. Thanks Glenn!
In a recent interview with Grant Morrison over at IGN, he had this to say about the "new" Aquaman he dropped into Final Crisis:

"IGN Comics: So how about this new Aquaman? Did he fall down to Earth along with Darkseid in the same way the Nazi Supergirl did?

: Yeah, that's pretty much the way I thought about it. Because everyone kept hounding us at conventions to bring Aquaman back, I just thought, 'Oh, f--k it. Here he is--take him back.' [laughs] And there's this prophecy that one day Aquaman will come back to save everyone, so I thought, 'You know, there's a series right there: an Aquaman who may be from another universe arrives to save the day on a monster sea-horse with death ray eyes...' It's all there in that panel. I saw him as a kind of High Plains Drifter Aquaman to start with.

IGN Comics
: Dan DiDio is always talking about how everyone pitches him ideas for revamping Aquaman. Is that something you'd be interested in?

: Yeah, I love Aquaman, and I definitely have a ton of ideas for him. I just don't know if I'll get to it. So don't hold your breath. Probably, Geoff will get there first. [laughs]"

C'mon DC--get to it!

This bit o'info was sent me by new F.O.A.M. member Brandan E--thanks Brandan!
F.O.A.M. member Brian Knippenberg sent me this link, to a bunch of screenshots from the upcoming Brave and the Bold two-parter, airing 3/6 and 3/13.

I had seen the preview for the two-parter at the end of last week's show, but had no idea that Aquaman was part of it. But as you can see from the still above, he'll be there, along with Black Manta! Yowza!

Thanks for the tip Brian!
And finally, this shot was sent to me a while back, right after the last AquaMail segment I think:
sg, that kid looks frighteningly like me, around age eight.

It was sent to me by my pal and longtime Charles Howell, and, never having seen an episode of The Venture Bros., its something I would've missed if not for his eagle-eyes. Thanks Charles!

This concludes our latest rummaging through the Aqua-Mailbag, and, thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of you AquaFans, it won't be the last.
Thanks everybody, and Sal, Ed, Brandan, and King Megatrip, welcome to F.O.A.M.!

"Keep sending the links!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Aquaman Shrine Interview with Steve Epting - 2009

sgNow that we've talked to Dan Jurgens about his and Steve Epting's excellent run on the final year of Aquaman (Vol.6), I thought it would be even more special if we could talk to his artistic collaborator, Steve Epting!

And even though Steve is busy slaving away on the art table, he took time out to talk with the Shrine about his experiences working with Dan on the King of the Seven Seas:

The Aquaman Shrine: How familiar were you with Aquaman beforehand? Had you been a fan at all?

Steve Epting: I had a passing familiarity with Aquaman. I was a fan of the Jim Aparo run in Adventure, but that's because I was a huge fan of Jim Aparo. I also loved Nick Cardy's work on the book. To me, those two have never been surpassed on Aquaman. But as you can probably tell, I was really only drawn to the book when it featured the work of artists that I admired.

AMS: How did you end up on the book?

SE: I had been doing Superman with Dan Jurgens for a short time when an editorial shake up essentially removed everyone from the Superman books. Dan was going to be taking over Aquaman after Erik Larsen's run and I believe he asked the new Editor, Tony Bedard, to bring me on to draw it.

I had enjoyed working with Dan on Superman and didn't hesitate to agree to the job. Even though I wasn't overly familiar with the character, Aquaman is one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world and in that way is an iconic character. I was pleased to have the chance to work on the book, and it was a pleasure working with Dan.

AMS: Who do you consider some of your comic book artist influences? (I'm going to go out on a limb here and say John Buscema is one, because there are some shots of Aquaman where his face looks very Buscema-ish to me. Which of course is meant as a compliment!)
SE: Yeah, Buscema was a big influence on me early on, along with John Romita Sr. The list of influences is a long one but I'll throw some others out--Al Williamson, Stan Drake, Jim Aparo, Joe Kubert, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Neal Adams, Jim Holdaway, Frazetta, Kirby, on and on...

AMS: The setting for the Aquaman stories (undersea cities, magical beings, etc.) are about as different as possible from the work you're doing now on Captain America (gritty streets, skyscrapers, etc.), yet both worlds are fully realized visually. Is there a particular type of comic book story you prefer working on? Something with a lot of sci-fi/fantasy elements, like Aquaman, or something more down to earth, like Cap?

SE: Both have their pros and cons. In a more reality based setting you have abundant reference for anything you need to draw, however, you also have to adhere to reality and make sure everything is accurate and recognizable.

On the other hand, in a fantasy setting you are free to use your imagination to draw anything you want and to create the world your characters inhabit. The downside here is trying to be creative and original at the same time. It's nearly impossible to create something totally unique without drawing from other sources or influences. That said, I don't really have a preference when it comes to what I'm drawing, though I do like variety.

AMS: One of the elements I was really struck by in your Aquaman work was the physical positioning of certain characters in relation to one another. I noticed several times that when you had a scene with Aquaman and Mera, there's a use of body language that seems to reflect the years of history the two characters had. Was this something you were consciously aware of and adding to the page, or am I reading way too much into it? :)
SE: If it comes across that way, then that's a huge compliment. I won't say that I analyze these things and put enormous effort into figuring out the poses, but it something that I'm definitely aware of when drawing. The artist has to make the characters "act" and the body language is a big part of that. I try to draw what I feel would be natural for the scene and work best for telling the story along with the dialogue.

AMS: Except in brief one or two panel flashback sequences, you never got to draw Aquaman in his "classic" look, which he was eventually returned to. Was that an Aquaman you would've preferred to draw, or didn't that matter to you?
SE: It didn't matter too much to me, though as I said, I was a fan of the Aparo run and it definitely would have been nice to do an issue or two with the classic look from that era.

AMS: What was it like working with Dan Jurgens?

SE: Dan is great to work with. Since he is an artist as well, he has a strong visual sense of the story and the pacing. This makes it easy for an artist to interpret since it has been thought out visually as well as in a story sense.

I've frequently had to draw scenes where the writer would ask for impossible things like two different camera angles in one panel or something like a page with 15 panels, one of which is described as a "big splash panel!". Those kind of things didn't happen with Dan, and the plots themselves were entertaining to read and to draw.

AMS: All your issues were inked by Norm Rapmund, which (I thought) gave the book a nice visual consistency. Did your relationship change over the course of the year, in that I mean did you change how much you left for Norm to flesh out as the inker?

SE: I think my pencils were a bit of a challenge for Norm at first, simply because he had been used to inking a different style of art. Anytime two people who have never worked together before end up on the same project, there is naturally a learning curve as you figure out how to best work together and I think Norm adapted really well over the course of our year on Aquaman.

I don't recall changing my approach at all during our run, I think Norm gradually "figured me out" as we went along, and by the end we were working together quite smoothly.

AMS: Was it a fun assignment, overall? Would you have wanted to continue on Aquaman if DC hadn't cancelled it?

SE: I was definitely enjoying it and would have stayed on as long as Dan wanted to do the book. It was quite fun to draw. My favorite issues were the Warlord arc. That's the closest I've come to Conan story!
AMS: What are you working on now? Are you staying on Captain America for the foreseeable future?

SE: Actually, I'm sort of on hiatus from Cap. Ed Brubaker and I will be doing a mini series called The Marvels Project which deals with the origin of the Marvel Universe. It's part of the 70th Anniversary that Marvel is celebrating this year. You can real all about it here.

I've never had the chance to talk to both the writer and artist of a particular Aquaman run in succession like this before, and I thank Dan and Steve for their time.

They did an amazing job on Aquaman, and their year on the book definitely deserves to be collected into a trade so more people can have a chance to enjoy some fine adventures starring the King of the Seven Seas!

Thanks to Steve for his time and his great work!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Aquaman Shrine Interview with Dan Jurgens - 2009

sgNow that we've finished discussing Dan Jurgens and Steve Epting's excellent run on the final year of Aquaman (Vol.6), I thought it would be a great time to have a talk with the writer himself!

Dan Jurgens has been working in comics for decades, as both a writer and artist, and has worked on almost every major DC hero at one time or another.

He was nice enough to talk with me for the Shrine about his time writing the King of the Seven Seas:

The Aquaman Shrine: How familiar were you with Aquaman beforehand? Had you been a fan at all?

Dan Jurgens: I had always been an Aquaman fan. I was aware of him through the comics, of course, but became more interested through the old Aquaman Filmation cartoons. They weren’t great but at that time it was simply cool to have comic characters on TV.

After that I really became interested in the work done by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo on the book.

AMS: How did you end up with the assignment? Was it something you pursued?

DJ: When Peter David first left the book DC asked if I was interested in taking over Aquaman. I was and mentioned the general direction I'd take the book but simply didn't have time to do so.

A year or so later Erik Larsen left and they asked again. By that time I had some time free and was able to jump on board. I also made it clear that I wanted Steve Epting as artist.

AMS: Did DC tell you Aquaman was near cancellation when you took it over? Was it a kind of "see if you can turn this around" situation, or was none of that apparent at the beginning of your run?

DJ: Oh, it was definitely on the chopping block. At one point I was told that if I didn't take it they might simply cancel it.

That could be a deterrent to some but, quite frankly, it's also kind of liberating so I said, "Let’s give it a shot!" Honestly, in those circumstances, there's nowhere to go but up.

I did ask if we could re-launch the book with a #1 in order to get more people to take a look at it. Sadly, that request was denied. We did get Mike Kaluta on covers, however, which helped signal a change.
AMS: How far ahead plot wise did you have the book? Were there bigger arcs you would've wanted to get to?

DJ: When I started I had the first year worked out in very tight fashion and had a general direction in place to take it in year two.

The next big arc would have centered around the idea of Atlantis as a nation with both an under and above water presence. The whole idea was to continue to build Aquaman up as a character of great worth and importance. I seriously suggested we call the book King Arthur.

AMS: What was it like working with Steve Epting? I had forgotten how good his work was on the book.
DJ: Steve Epting was and continues to be a fabulous artist. I had been trying to get him at DC for years and was very fortunate to be able to work with him on both Superman and Aquaman. He's one of the guys who is capable of not only drawing well, but telling a story with a sense of emotion, dynamics and drama.

AMS: Since you're an artist as well as a writer, did you write the scripts with a particular storytelling approach in mind, or did you leave that up to Steve?

DJ: I write a very detailed plot, broken down into page and panel-by-panel descriptions with light dialogue. I want to give the artist a sense of pacing while giving them the ability to open things up visually.

I believe one of the weaknesses in comics today is that almost everything is drawn from a full script, which often lacks visual drama. The artist done not then have the freedom to build that up.

AMS: One of the themes in your first arc--the war against Cerdia--also has to do with the rest of the world accepting Atlanteans as people, even though they seem very different. That seems very relevant in this current political climate, but were there events at the time that were on your mind as you were writing the stories?
DJ: I don't know that I'd say there were direct influences as much as indirect. Sadly, that is a situation we find throughout history. I'm sure it will continue into the future as well.

AMS: Was the Warlord's guest-starring turn meant partly as a tribute to his creator, Mike Grell, who helped you get your first job at DC?

DJ: I'm always up for throwing tributes in Mike's direction but that wasn't the point of that particular story.
The concept of magic and Atlantis had always been very much related to Skartaris. At the time DC also wanted to continue to expose Travis Morgan to new readers and asked if we had a way to do so. I was happy to oblige.

AMS: You had a lot of super-powered characters to work with in the book--Aquaman, Tempest, Mera, Dolphin--were there any of them you enjoyed writing more than the others?

DJ: I enjoyed Aquaman. As I said previously, as far as I was concerned, he was King Arthur. It just so happened that his Camelot was beneath the sea.
AMS: Related to that, much of your run of the book is narrated by Tempest. Was this because you found that character easier/more fun to write, or was it to keep Aquaman a little more mysterious, or...?

DJ: I found it to be a nice way to describe Aquaman. We really can't have Aquaman run around saying, "I'm king. I'm important. I'm impressive." It's far more interesting to have someone else think that so we see it through his eyes. Tempest held the reader's place in the story.

In addition, it made Aquaman a bit more remote and, I hope, a bit more regal in nature. I don't think of him as a character that a lot of people would ever get to know well.

AMS: Your run on the book feels very much like it was trying to bring Aquaman back to "basics", if I may use a clich├ęd term. Would you have wanted to eventually wanted to get him back to his classic orange-and-green look, something DC did in the very next Aquaman series, or didn't it matter to you?

DJ: Yes, I wanted to get him back to something resembling his original look but was denied that.

DC didn't seem to know what they wanted Aquaman to be for sure. They knew there were fans who didn't like the beard and hook and they also knew there were fans who didn't like the original look. There was a desire, I think, to find some kind of middle ground and I think we did that.

Peter had done some really strong work on the title that seemed a fairly personal piece of work. I couldn't do that and had to find something different to say while also supporting everything he’d set up.

AMS: As a writer on a book that you know might/probably will be cancelled, did you have any impulse to try something directly aimed at boosting sales? ("Ok, how can I work Batman into this?", etc.)

DJ: At that time, that type of thing would have been quite artificial. We decided our best approach was to redefine Aquaman as an important character by giving him the status of a king, combined with boosting Atlantis' profile in the world. We thought our best bet was to do the most compelling story possible.

AMS: Was writing Aquaman a fun assignment overall? Are you proud of your work on the book? Rereading them again eight or so years later, I found they hold up pretty well.

DJ: I had great fun writing Aquaman. I think the work holds up well and am rather disappointed it's never been collected.

At that time I think I was writing four different titles and in many ways, Aquaman was my favorite because we knew the future was gloomy anyway. Kind of that, "Hey, they're tearing down this house tomorrow! Let's have a party! We won't have to clean it up!" mentality.

By the time we were about six or seven issues in we knew the ax was inevitable. Despite that, everyone stayed on board to complete the job. I think that after a rather goofy year that preceded us we managed to restore Aquaman as a more dignified character and also gave the series several strong launching points for future stories.

AMS: What are you working on now?

DJ: These days I'm writing and drawing Booster Gold and writing Tangent: Reign of the Superman for DC.

It was great getting the chance to talk to Dan about his all-too-brief run on Aquaman. He served the character well, and now that have a glimpse at some of the plans he had for the character and the book, I'm even more sorry he didn't get a chance to continue on.

Thanks to Dan for his time and his great work, and special thanks to F.O.A.M. member Doug Zawisza for helping me get in touch with Dan!

...but we're still not done! In a first for the Shrine, we have interviews with both the writer and artist of a particular Aquaman run, when tomorrow we talk with artist Steve Epting! Be here!

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!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Aquaman (Vol.6) #74 - Dec. 2000

Comics Weekend "From The Core"

The final story arc--by writer Dan Jurgens and artists Steve Epting and Norm Rapmund--to this sixth volume of Aquaman kicks off here
Aquaman and Mera are back from Skartaris and their adventure with Travis Morga, The Warlord, and, for the moment, Arthur is actually happy:
Arthur is so happy, in fact, he's playful and romantic towards Mera, going so far as to planting a kiss on her during a quiet moment.

But of course all this contentedness can't last long, and when Arthur and Mera make it back to Atlantis, they see that the city is flying its flags of mourning!

Talking to Vulko, Arthur is told how they were gone so long that Tempest and Rodunn followed after them, and how Garth has disappeared as well.

Soon after, a ghostly image of Garth appeared to Dolphin, and then after that, Garth's body was found:
But, despite the devastating evidence of in front of of him, Arthur refuses to believe Garth is really dead.

The other believe he is so overwrought with grief he's in denial, but Arthur is having none of it. He believes the ghostly visions Dolphin saw mean something, and he heads out to find Garth.

On his way out of the city, Arthur is met by his #1 security chief, Rodunn, who pledges to come along and help find Garth.

They make their way to the pit, and find that it has turned the sea around it into a sea of death--all the life around the edge of the pit has died as well. Arthur says he's going in alone, but Rodunn won't listen. In addition, he's brought along two protective "containment suits" that they will don going in.

After several hours of searching in the morass that is the inside of the pit, Arthur and Rodunn are attacked by some sort of sea creature. Arthur tries to talk to it telepathically, and when he can't find any consciousness there at all, he surmises its just an illusion!

Arthur and Rodunn pass through the creature, and come out the other side, to find
sg be concluded!

As such a die-hard fan, it was nice to see Arthur and Mera so happy together, if even for just a couple of pages. *sigh*

Anyway, be here tomorrow to see final issue of this series!

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