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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aquaman (Vol.1) #62 - Juy 1978

Comics Weekend "And The Walls Came Tumblin' Down" by Paul Kupperberg, Don Newton, and Bob McLeod.

After the multi-part Kobra storyline ended last issue, this issue starts off with Aquaman finally being reunited with Mera, the first time they've been together since their son Arthur Jr. died:
What Aquaman doesn't know is that Arthur Jr. didn't quite die at the hands of Black Manta (in Adventure Comics #452), and that Mera went on an extraordinary mission to give her son one last chance at life (shown in the Mera back-up strips in Aquaman #'s 58-60). Mera is understandably enraged, and her fury at her husband begins to approach madness:
Meanwhile, Aqualad is on his way home, after his solo adventure where he learned who his real parents were (in Adventure Comics #s 453-455, also written by Kupperberg). Having left things with his former mentor not on good terms, he's eager to clear the air.

Of course, Aquaman is about as troubled as he ever has been. While outside of Atlantis with his octopus friend Topo, they are attacked by an undersea craft dispensing a small army of robot attackers!

Topo gets hit by one of the robots carrying a ball and chain, and Aquaman, already on edge, releases his pent up fury on his attackers and quickly smashes most of them to bits. After zapping the rest of them with the help of some electric eels, Aquaman breaks his way into the ship:
Unfortunately, Aquaman's threat is an empty one: Seaquake blasts him with some sort of sonic disruptor, knocking Aquaman to his knees. Aquaman gets up and decks Seaquake, but finds himself standing on a grate, which emits a blast of searing heat, finally putting Arthur's lights out.

Aquaman wakes up chained to Seaquake's massive quake machine, which he plans to aim at Atlantis. He calls some of his friends to help him get free, but they go too slow.

Some Atlanteans--including Mera and Vulko--arrive to try and stop Seaquake, and Mera sees her husband held captive. Aquaman makes eye contact with her, but she turns away, deciding to focus her attention on some of Seaquake's robot henchmen. She returns to Atlantis, without trying to help her husband!

Seaquake turns on his machine, and the vibrations begin tearing Aquaman apart:
Seaquake, watching from a monitor, is sure Aquaman has been crushed to death. As he begins to calibrate his weapon for another blast, he's shocked to see behind him is...Aquaman!

Turns out Mera didn't quite make it back to Atlantis--instead, she covered her husband in a hard water shell, saving his life. Seaquake reaches for a nearby sledgehammer, but Aquaman grabs him and begins to pound away.

To Aquaman and Mera's surprise, Seaquake's head comes right off, and we see...he's a robot, too!:
...to be continued!

You know, I have to say, nobody--not even Batman--has been through as much personal turmoil as Aquaman. Not only was his son murdered by his enemy, but the collateral damage from that awful event was both his wife and junior sidekick turning on him, at least temporarily. You have to forgive Arthur if he was at times a little surly.

This was before Gerry Conway started introducing ongoing, character-driven subplots over in the one other book Aquaman appeared in, Justice League of America. Its too bad, because a loss of this magnitude had to have had some effect on Aquaman's friends in the JLA--an angle that I would've been eager to see covered.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single instance where any character outside the Aqua-Family even mentioned this, at least until the 1990s. Kind of staggering, when you think about it: the blow Black Manta dealt Aquaman is probably the single biggest one any superhero could face!

Sadly, this return of Aquaman's solo title was short-lived: next issue, #63, would be the last issue of Aquaman for almost a decade...


Randy said...

I bought this issue in a quarter bin at the Chicago Comicon (I refuse to call it Wizard World Chicago) last July.

That cover is such a powerful image. One of Jim Aparo's best.

Colin Smith said...

I thought I really ought to say how much I enjoy your blog. I have alot of admiration for how you've focused on one character you so obviously love & how you've constantly found interesting things to discuss about Aquaman. So, thank you for the fine work, sir.

rob! said...

Randy-A Quarter?!? What a deal!

Colsmi-Thanks for the kind words!

Wings1295 said...

Have this upstairs with all the rest. Been a LONG time since I have read them. Too long.

And you are right. Aquaman has had his personal life ripped apart, more so than pretty much any other hero. Amazing that he continued to do the super-hero job!

Randy said...

Yeah, it was a pretty good deal. The problem is that now I cannot find it. :(