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Monday, June 27, 2011

Aquaman: Deepwater Disaster

The Shrine talked about this book when it was first announced several months ago, but only recently did I get my hands on this baby--Aquaman: Deepwater Disaster!

The artist from this book, F.O.A.M.er Dan Schoening, was generous enough to send me a copy (autographed, yet!) after I mentioned every time I tried to order it via Amazon, it was out of stock (a good sign?). And this book definitely deserves to be highlighted here!

Written by J.E. Bright, with art by the aforementioned Mr. Schoening, Mike DeCarlo, and Lee Loughridge, Deepwater Disaster is what's known as a children's chapter book--a mostly prose story with accompanying spot illustrations, like this handsome frontspiece:
The story concerns out hero, after rescuing some sailors from a massive storm, is called to the Louisiana Coast where an oil rig has burst into flames, and is about to explode, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the sea!

With the help of some finny friends, Aquaman rescues the rig workers, but cannot stop the rig's tanks from bursting, dropping the oil into the ocean:
Aquaman then a submarine in the area...a sub shaped like a Manta Ray! It's the Sea King's old foe, Black Manta!

Aquaman catches up and gets the drop on Manta, demanding to know why he sabotaged the oil rig. Manta, for once, protests his innocence--claiming he had nothing to do with the rig's destruction...but he sees no need not to profit by it by stealing the oil.

Aquaman convinces Manta that, if the oil is left unchecked, it will wreck the sea for hundreds of miles...leaving nothing for Black Manta to plunder. Would they, could they, work on the same side just this once?

Manta agrees, and soon the denizens of the sea spy something remarkable: Aquaman and Black Manta working together!:
By their combined efforts, the oil geyser is capped, stopping the flow of oil. Aquaman then commands a group of microbes to gobble up as much of the remaining oil as they can.

With the disaster halted, Aquaman takes a moment to thank Black Manta, who climbs back into his Manta Ray sub and disappears. Aquaman then addresses all of his subjects, telling them that while they've achieved a brief victory, there is much more work to be done:
...The End!

Deepwater Disaster is a great little book: a good story, well told. Writer J.E. Bright works in most of Aquaman's powers, plus Black Manta, with more than a dollop of Real World significance.

The book is hardcover, and comes with a character bio of Manta, biographies of the people who made it, a glossary of terms, plus a page of discussion questions and writing prompts. With its full-color illustrations and double-page spread endpapers, it makes for a very handsome little volume.

Aside from all that, its simply fantastic that Aquaman is getting a solo shot like this: for decades, he's almost never been featured by himself in any sort of mass merchandising effort; now he's had two in less than a year. A banner time for the Sea King!

Aquaman: Deepwater Disaster makes a fine book for any of you Aqua-Fans out there with kids who love superheroes and love to read; the Shrine heartily recommends you pick up a copy!

Extra special thanks to Dan Schoening for his fabulous work on the book, and for sending a copy to the Shrine!


Michael Holloway said...

I have this book and I LOVE it. I also have the "Scourge Of The Sea" from the Big Little Golden Book range. Aquaman is awesome so I always keep on the lookout for Aqua-Merchandise. I hope there will be much more in future.

J. E. Bright said...

Thanks for the really nice review, Rob! It's greatly appreciated.

Wings1295 said...

Awesome! I hope there are many more of these to come!

Orin's dad said...

Like Michael, I have the Big Little book, but not this one. I'm going to have to try to get a copy. It looks really neat and I think Orin would love it.

David J. Cutler said...

Always love Schoening's Aquaman illustrations.

Laurie S. Sutton said...

More wonderful work from J.E. Bright and Dan Schoening! People can order this book directly from the publisher. Go to www.capstonepub.com and click on DC Superheroes. Or call 1-800-747-4992. The book may also be available in paperback,

Orin's dad said...

Cool! Thanks for the info Laurie.

Tegan said...

I need a copy of this book!

r duncan said...

"Aquaman then commands a group of microbes..."

For my money, you can't get enough microbe-commanding.

rob! said...

For my money, you can't get enough microbe-commanding.

You know, if Aquaman wanted to be a real jerk around the JLA satellite, he'd instruct microbes to slither onto his JLA pals and give them colds or something.

Anthony said...

Nice looking book!

Maybe just forgetting, but wondering what other stories Aquaman's dealt with oil spills in? Only other one I can think of is the old Superboy/Aquaboy story where they teamed up to take on corrupt oil companies (yep, Earth-One's Aquaman pre-dated nearly every other hero save his contemporary Superboy). Hmm... wondering if Clark and Arthur might want to pay a return visit to their "pals" at BP. ;-)

rob! said...

@Anthony: There was this one!

rob! said...

@J.E.: No problem, I loved it!