] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adventure Comics #460 - Dec. 1978

Comics Weekend "The Hunt" by Paul Kupperberg, Don Newton, and Dan Adkins.

Following the cancellation of Aquaman, the Sea King was one again homeless. And, once again, Adventure Comics gave him a hot meal and a place to sleep.

Featuring the same creative team of Paul Kupperberg and Don Newton, this installment of Aquaman feels like Aquaman #64 (which, essentially, it was):
The Navy Captain tells Aquaman that the whales have been slaughtered outside the U.S.'s jurisdiction, so there's not much they can do. Since Aquaman is not obligated to follow those restrictions, the Navy asks him to look into it, which of course Aquaman is all too eager to do.

The Navy Captain tells him the killings started right around the time the yacht of Colin Landau, a millionaire big game hunter from England, showed up. It doesn't take Batman to put two and two together. Aquaman takes off, admonishing, "Don't worry, Captain! When I do catch them, I'll let you know where to pick up the survivors."

On the way out to sea, he is joined by Mera:

I like this fight, but it does underline of the inconsistencies regarding Aquaman: his strength. This Laundau guy is just a regular human, there's no way he would stand a chance in a fistfight with Aquaman. In particular, I think that last punch would've sent Landau's head into the ocean. Maybe Aquaman was pulling his punches.

Anyway, Aquaman threatens Landau to knock it off, and then takes off. Landau, though, is unpersuaded: he still intends to bag himself a whale, and if Aquaman gets in the way, so be it.

Mera asks him what happened, and Aquaman says he's going to keep tabs on Landau anyway, all night if necessary:

Aquaman as a character is generally not a mysterious, moody character--that's more the territory of Batman and Green Arrow--but once in a while he's presented in that way (since, after all, the sea at night can be kinda creepy). Like in this particularly effective panel by Kupperberg and Newton:
Aquaman wanders the deck of Landau's ship, when he is met by a gang of toughs hired by Landau to knock some sense into the Sea King. Aquaman, though, is not deterred, and takes them all on at once:
...I love that far left panel, with the guy's face distorted by having Aquaman's fist in it, accompanied by the "Krunch" sound effect.

Meanwhile, Landau has donned a scuba suit and jumps into a high-tech water-sled, on the hunt for another whale. Aquaman, having dispatched the goons, finds Landau's radio man who tells him the coordinates where Landau was headed.

Aquaman follows, and quickly catches up to Landau, knocking him off his water sled. With the exo-skeleton suit Landau is wearing, he has increased strength, so he's eager to take Aquaman on again, mano-a-mano:

...another animal poacher dead! Despite Aquaman's misgivings, I'd say this was one highly-successful mission!

After all the sturm und drang in the Aquaman issues, this story was a nice change of pace--to have Aquaman and Mera on a classic, superhero-style adventure. Don Newton does a great job here, featuring some particularly nifty panels and a couple of really cool shots of Aquaman.

This brief "Dollar Comic" format for Adventure Comics featured 68 pages with no ads, so the back cover highlighted all the features found inside. In this issue's case, that means nifty little icons by Al Milgrom:



Colin Smith said...

I have HUGE affection for the dollar comics. They were rarely distributed over here in England & when they were, oh, it was fanatastic for a kid to get so many stories in one comics. And Adventure, with Aquaman, Deadman, The New Gods and later the JSA, was ALWAYS my favourite.

What I particularly liked about the story was how Mr Kupperberg & Mr Newton created a first page so redolent of a specific, "real", seashore environment, something which is remarkably rare in Aquaman's history. The broadwalk, the beachfront, the fact that both men in uniforms had distinct & different body types. (Look how Newton drew a slight paunch on the guy in the forefront of the two without making him seem badly out of shape.) And Newton must be one of the few artists you don't suspect of being unable to draw feet when he's drawn a character up to his ankles in water.

Mr Kupperberg must have been pleased when he saw this splash page. I imagine his script describing a really difficult scene for many artists to draw: an enraged Aquaman in the forefront, a butchered whale on a beach behind him being observed by two Navy captains, and then in the background Coney Island. So many artists would've ducked the detail & scope of that challenge. It must've been good to work with Don Newton.

Josh Hill said...

I gotta say, following these reviews from this era of Aquaman, it was disappointing to see Jim Aparo no longer drawing the Sea King and even though I know Don Newton also has his fans, I wasn't enjoying his work as much. However, this particular comic really impressed me on the visual side and I'm starting to see the appeal of Newton. That splash page is amazing, and I love the shot of Aquaman crouching in the moonlight. Awesome.

On a side not3, that Al Milgrom Wonder Woman...hubba hubba!

Joe Huber said...

As a kid I always loved the dollar comics. They basically consumed my entire allowance for the week necessitating my venture into a tiny lawnmowing business in order to afford them.

Sadly, many of these issues suffered the fate of a mysterious and unexplained disappearance along with most of my collection. Every FCBD most of the areas stores run back issues at 50% off, and the dollar comics are always what I search for first.

I loved the Newton Aquaman, sure it didn't compare to Aparo since they were both two different styles, but when I started collecting, Aparo was on B&B and Newton was on Aquaman.

Randy said...

I remember seeing the ad for this issue of Adventure in a couple of the very first comics I ever bought. I was like 9 or 10 and the word 'anthology' would have been lost on me.

For years, I had always wanted to get this book to see my favorite heroes team up in a story that had so much going on. There was so much action going on in this story and I wanted to see it.

I finally bought it and was at first disappointed to see it wasn't a book-length story featuring all these heroes but a book with many short stories.

That being said, I did wind up enjoying it immensely. :)

David J. Cutler said...

I love Aparo, but I find this art to be absolutely gorgeous--especially from a layout perspective. That silhouetted shot of Aquaman with the anchor over his shoulder is a great image. I've never even heard of Newton, but this is some nice stuff.

IADW said...

Wow that image of the anchor - that is just awesome stuff.

Had to laugh at the closing line though 'Come on Mera... Let's go home... and maybe by the time we get there I'll have convinced myself you're right!' Ha!

These Adventure Comics runs seem really cool, if Brightest Day doesn't lead to a Aquaman #1, giving him back the reins of A.C would be a great halfway point!