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Friday, April 30, 2010

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #45 - Nov. 2006

Sword of Atlantis Friday "Watery Grave" by Kurt Buisek and Butch Guice.

Last issue ended with Ocean Master delivering what looks like a fatal blow to Arthur Joseph, as an all-out battle takes place around them:
Mera uses her hard-water powers to create a wedge which helps burst open one of Orm's army of robot attackers, but the effort nearly exhausts her.

King Shark hands the wounded Arthur off to the Dweller. The blood is the water is driving King Shark crazy, so he heads back into battle. Meanwhile, the Dweller uses his powers to help heal Arthur
The Dweller's effort is successful, and he tells Arthur to wait and recuperate while he rejoins the fight. But of course Arthur doesn't listen--he finds Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils and comes up with a plan.

Moments later, he has everyone follow him into a nearby chasm. Orm thinks this is will leave them trapped, and he's all too willing to follow and kill them there.

Orm's team seemingly has Arthur and the rest trapped, and is about to fire upon them. At that moment, Arthur radios Dane to set off a series of explosive charges--good plan, except Orm has gotten them from the now-unconscious Sea Devil!

But somehow the chasm walls fall anyway, trapping Orm's army and leaving only a few unarmed henchmen. Orm, knowing he's beaten, is carted off by his monstrous pet.

Later, Arthur asks how the walls collapsed if the explosives weren't set off. Dane says it was a school of whales that suddenly appearaed and battered the walls with incredible force. Dane assumed it was Arthur using Aquaman-like powers.

Arthur at first says he didn't do it, but he notices the amulet he wore that allowed him to speak undersea languages is gone. Yet, he stills feels its power, inside him.

Meanwhile, Mera and the Dweller share another private moment:
Mera takes off, just as King Shark arrives. He talks to the Dweller, who asks why King Shark chooses to stick around. We see what King Shark is thinking, as he flashes back to a vision he had of his father, who told him to stay close to the young hero--for now, at least, until his father will tell King Shark "to strike, and kill him without warning."

King Shark keeps all this to himself, of course. Arthur meets up with them both, having made a fateful decision:
Meanwhile, far away, we learn that Arthur's father is, in fact, alive, and a prisoner of something called Tri-Dent Industries!

...to be continued!

Nice to see, after several issues of denying his forced-upon heritage, Arthur Joseph accept his role and call himself Aquaman.

Sure, I still wish this was the original Aquaman, but Busiek teased this out long enough that when the moment it happens, it has real dramatic impact (ably assisted by Guice's art).

There are a couple of other nice, more subtle moments. After the Dweller heals Arthur, he calls him "Minnow." And when Dan Dorrance tells Mera about their plan, she doesn't just go along, at first referring to it as a "krill-brained scheme." Somehow I missed a lot of these little bits the first time around!

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