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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Aquaman (Vol.1) #61 - May 1978

Comics Weekend "The Armageddon Conspiracy!" by David Michelinie and Don Newton.

Continued from the previous issue of Aquaman, we finally learn the mastermind behind a nefarious plot to steal a powerful device from the depths of the Marianas Trench: the would-be world-conqueror Kobra!

(Before we go any further: longtime Shrine readers might remember I covered this issue before, way back in 2007--but that was when I was bopping around Aquaman's comic book history willy-nilly, something I wouldn't be so casual nowadays; besides, I figured if I was going to examine the whole late 70s run of Aquaman, I couldn't very well skip an issue!)

Okay, anyway, back to Kobra--this issue opens with a bit of a time jump, in that we now find Aquaman, teamed with Batman, in the clutches of the super-villain:
If you were reading this series casually, it'd be easy to miss that these first few pages are a flash-forward in the story, which eventually works it way back to the beginning in a few pages. But we're getting ahead of ourselves, just like this issue did!

Batman, using a handy doodad from his utility belt, frees himself and Aquaman from Kobra's trap. They make quick work of Kobra's goons (with the help of an electrified zap, courtesy of some of Aquaman's eel friends) and escape.

Its here that we wind back, and we find Aquaman aboard the JLA Satellite, along with Batman and Green Lantern, explaining what he believes Kobra's ultimate plot to be:
Batman determines that Kobra's real goal is not to steal the Bellerophon, but the cargo inside the ship itself--a huge load of Hydrocarbons which are toxic and highly unstable!

Tracing Kobra's whereabouts, they determine his HQ is in Portugal, and our heroes head there. Green Lantern soon locates Kobra's floating ark and disables it, allowing Batman and Aquaman to sneak into where Kobra is holding court:
(I love this second panel, with the askew angle. Nice job, Mr. Newton!)

Kobra explains his plan to a group of world leaders, telling them to spread the word that he, at any moment, could blanket the world in a deadly cloud of chemicals.

Batman and Aquaman, just outside, hear this. Right at that moment, Kobra gets a message from his henchmen about the Ark that they have been attacked by Green Lantern. The Dark Knight and the Sea King use this moment to attack:
They rescue the Navy General who was Kobra's hostage, and Batman plans to smash Kobra's weapon. But before he can, Kobra returns from the Ark, explaining that his Ark had a means of defense against Green Lantern.

With his ship now free, Kobra takes on Batman mano-a-mano, with Aquaman watching. After a few punches are thrown, Kobra flips a switch, releasing a series of pods filled with the hydrocarbons into the air!

Aquaman communicates with Green Lantern, telling him to contain them--but there are too many, even for him!:
While Batman takes care of Kobra's goons, Aquaman tries to turn off the machine, while issuing a command to some of his finny friends to grab the remaining pods before they reach the surface. Kobra, as you might expect, is less than pleased.

Kobra tries to get away, but General Horgan smashes one of the ship's control panels, sending it plummeting into the ocean. Kobra dons some scuba gear and takes off, but Aquaman catches up with him:
...it takes guts to give Batman the brush-off, but Aquaman manages to get away with it. He's in no mood from a lecture, even from The Dark Knight Detective.

With this issue, the main story thread from the past several issues has been concluded, and next issue Aquaman will face an even more intimidating presence: his wife Mera, who he has not seen since the death of their son. To be continued!


Josh Hill said...

I prefer Aparo, but this Don Newton artwork is nice, too.

Luis said...

Normally I would have been dissapointed if I bought a comic with and Aparo cover and then discover that he doesn't do the interior artwork too. But with the legendary Don Newton, I make an exception. His Batman is fantastic! I always loved how he made the cape drape. Also, this could well have been a Brave and the Bold comic.

Oscar Olalde said...

OT: Rob, please review the BN tie-ins with Mera (namely Wonder Woman's and Hal's), they are kinda gruesome but I gotta know your take on it, specially that of WW BN #3 of 3, IMO it's mainly a character defining issue for Mera with her non-speaking parts.

Randy said...

Like I said last week and for many, many years beforehand, the world lost a great talent when Don Newton passed away.

The man grew a great Batman and he drew a fantastic Aquaman.

misterperturbed said...

Don Newton's art truly was beautiful.

Joe Huber said...

This was the first Aquaman comic that I had. To this day it still brings back fond memories of bike rides to the local pharmacy with 50 cents in my pocket that was waiting to be spent...

David said...

It's probably heresy to say it here, but I was not a follower of Aquaman's comic back in the day. I happily made an exception for this one, however, based on the gorgeous art.

Batman is way off base reaming out Arthur here, since Kobra escaped from just about every hero in the DC stable, including Batman! In fact, that was pretty much his whole schtick; Marvel villains routinely evaded justice, but Kobra was pretty unique in the 70s as DC's "one that got away."

Tommy! said...

I have this exact issue & have always loved it.

Whatever happened to Kobra anyway?
Are they still around?