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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Aquaman (Vol.6) #13 - Oct. 1995

"Judges" by Peter David, Martin Egeland, and Howard M. Shum.

A long while ago, I did a couple of posts talking about the first year's worth of Aquaman (Vol.6), which started in August 1994, picking up right where the Aquaman: Time and Tide mini-series left off.

Later, I jumped forward in that book's run to talk about the issues Dan Jurgens wrote, which ended up being the last dozen or so of that book. But that still left over fifty issues not yet covered for Comics Weekend, and considering those are still the best-selling Aquaman comics in decades, that's an oversight that sorely needed to be corrected.

So starting today and for the next couple of Comics Weekends I'm going to take a look at Aquaman #'s 13-24. It'll be loads of pointy, telepathically-controlled cybernetic fun!

When last we left Aquaman, he, Mera, and Dolphin found themselves in some other-dimensional vortex, which drops them into what looks like 1800s France, with a giant, evil Aquaman acting as executioner:
Just as the guillotine's blade is about to fall, Aquaman frees himself, stopping the blade inches from his neck. The evil Aquaman tries force it down, breaking a hunbk of the blade off, sending it flying into the crowd, where it hits one of the henchmen who is holding Dolphin against her will. Luckily, we don't see the mess this undoubtedly makes.

Aquaman immediately recognizes the evil doppelganger: this is Thanatos, a hulking, brute version of Aquaman that sprang from the Sea King's own subconscious, somehow how existing independently.

Aquaman and Thanatos' fight spills into the crowd, where his newly-created hook-hand comes in, er, handy:
Meanwhile, back in Tritonis, a power struggle is going on: Vulko and Aquaman's son Koryak are trying to lead a group of Atlanteans looking for a new home and want to use the underground tunnels that supposedly lead to other, hidden, cities. The current ruler of Atlantis, Iqula, denies them permission, a conflict that begins to escalate into violence.

Now, Aquaman finds himself no longer in France, but in some jungle. He hears a scream that sounds like Mera, so he makes like Tarzan and swings through the trees until he finds her trussed up, ready to act as sacrifice, King Kong-style, for some giant dinosaur--and Thanatos, who is riding it!

Aquaman attacks the dinosaur, and in return Thanatos stabs Mera. Before he can react, he's caught in a blinding flash of light once again!

Back in Tritonis, Iqula stands down from the fight, not wanting to repeat the endless brother-on-brother fights that are so much a part of Atlantean history. He allows Vulko and Koryak to enter the tunnels.

Aquaman finds himself in yet another dimension, and another violent one:

Of course, the other combatant is Thanatos, armed to the teeth. Meanwhile, Mera and Dolphin are back in what they call "Purgatory", along with an older version of Arthur Jr., who didn't die as a baby in this dimension.

Aquaman and Thanatos tussle again, for the amusement of a group called The Others, who are judging them both to see who is worthy to leave this place. After some tough blows, Aquaman gets the upper hand, ready to deliver the killing blow.

And even though the Caesar-esque figure gives Thanatos the thumbs down, Aquaman refuses to kill in cold blood:
...uh-oh! To be continued!

In the interest of not stretching this run of posts on too long (since they'll be sharing every other Comics Weekend with Brightest Day) and helping keep the multiple ongoing storylines straight, the Shrine will be posting two issues from this run per day, so be back in a couple of hours for Aquaman #14!


Joe Slab said...

I've always found Thanatos to be a compelling Aquaman villain with huge potential..and anytime we get to see Craig Hamilton's blue uniform is a good thing!

Glad you are doing this review run. These issues were some of my favorites from the 90's blending elements of old and new into some really cool stories.

David J. Cutler said...

I always felt the opposite about Thanatos, Joe--I guess I just never got him.

rob! said...

IMO, Thanatos was like Boba Fett--cool when you first saw him and he was mysterious, but the magic was lost once you saw him too much.

Joe Slab said...

Dave and rob!

I pictured him being Aquaman's evil counterpart (like Luthor is to Superman and Joker is to Batman), ina way that Black Manta and Ocean Master could never be. One couldn't exist without the other...I am kicking myself for forgetting to ask Geoff at NYCC if he ever plans to use Thanatos. It may be a moot point since as the next review will show, Thanatos meets a quick and fairly permanent looking demise ;)

David J. Cutler said...

Black Manta and Ocean Master both fit the bill for me, Joe. Thanatos felt like less of a Luthor or a Joker or a Green Goblin and more like a Bizarro or a Man-Bat or a Venom--just without a visual hook as cool as those guys. I'm not totally down on him, though--Aquaman is so lacking in the cool rogues department, I guess Thanatos makes my top five by default.

Does anyone remember if a character with a very similar (if not identical) name popped up in Peter David's run on Marvel's Captain Marvel as an over-musceled dark-self for Rick Jones, or am I misremembering that?

Tempest127 said...

Wake me when you get to issue 20...