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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Aquaman (Vol.1) #63 - Sept. 1978

Comics Weekend "My Brother's Keeper" by Paul Kupperberg, Don Newton, and Dave Hunt.

The last issue of Aquaman ended with Arthur and his wife Mera having reached an uneasy truce between them, where they could go back to being husband and wife after the death of their son.

But of course, a superhero's life is never easy, and mere hours after reconciling, Aquaman and Mera are threatened by Arthur's brother Orm, known as Ocean Master:

Aquaman welcomes a visit from his brother like Batman wants to see the Joker, but Ocean Master doesn't care what his brother wants: his only concern, as always, is revenge, revenge, revenge!:
...perfect timing, Garth, thanks!

Aqualad, stunned, is about to be crushed by some falling debris. Aquaman pushes Garth out of the way, and in the meantime Ocean Master gets away.

Aquaman and Aqualad find Mera, who saw Ocean Master jump in his ship and head into a fissure in the ocean floor (opened by the villain Seaquake last issue). Laying deep in that fissure are the remnants of the original city of Atlantis!

Aquaman, Aqualad, and Mera head in:
Aquaman finds Ocean Master, sans his ship, and Orm admits he's been here to get a hold of devices created by the old Atlantis, ones that he can use to extract his revenge. Not only that, but to conquer the entire world!

Aquaman and Ocean Master struggle, each gaining the upper hand for a moment, and Ocean Master takes off once again, with Aquaman close behind:

Aquaman sends out a telepathic command to some nearby sea creatures, but they are the mutated fish from the waters of ancient Atlantis, who do not listen to Aquaman's commands. Instead, they attack!:
During the melee, Ocean Master finds the one weapon he was searching for most of all--a sort of mind-control device rendering its victim docile and susceptible to mental commands.

Aquaman feels his mental control slowly ebb, but then he finds the inner strength to fight back:
...the end, for now.

As a kid, I can't remember whether I noticed that there were no issues of Aquaman after this (despite the "Next Issue On Sale" blurb at the bottom of the page), odds are I didn't. But a few years later, before I had ever heard about the DC Implosion, I could never quite shake what a downer ending this series had--which, of course, was never intended to be a series finale at all.

This issue doesn't even feature the regular letters page feature, so the ending was even more abrupt and unsatisfying. That's a real shame, considering this book was the original Aquaman title, and one of DC's more historic books to suffer under the DC Implosion.

Aquaman would bounce around in the DCU for a couple of months, appearing in Super Friends and Justice League of America. By the end of the year, he would go back to his other "home", Adventure Comics, with issue #460 (Adventure Comics, like an old girlfriend, always took Arthur back).

Since that feature was by the same team here (Kupperberg and Newton) I decided to jump right to that run for the next installment of Comics Weekend! Be here!

(Note: some older Shrine fans might remember that I already covered this comic before--in fact, it was the first Aquaman comic I ever talked about. But that was before I kinda knew what I was doing, and after looking at every issue of Aquaman since #57, I felt I had to give this final issue a proper summary!)


Wings1295 said...

Great summary, indeed. But yeah, a sad, downer of a way to go away into 'limbo'. Maybe this sadness and angst is what has clung to Aquaman ever since.

Unknown said...

I just realized how ridiculous Ocean Master's costume is. A cape? Underwater?!?

Anonymous said...

Dave Hunt's inks has ruined so many good pencils.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Newton's Aqualad surprises me a bit, as he seems quite thin and young looking here. Newton's Robin was quite buff and looked to have outgrown his costume, something Perez picked up on in NTT.