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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Top 10 Most Memorable Mera Moments

Today we're kicking off "Mera Month" on The Aquaman Shrine with a highly subjective look at Mera's "Top 10" moments in comics since her mysterious arrival from "Dimension Aqua" (as it was originally called) to the current day as co-star of the stellar new Aquaman series.

When we say "Top 10" moments, we don't necessarily mean Mera's biggest, most historical moments (although there are some of those); no, we mean those moments that gave us the greatest insights to her character, presented her in a new light, or simply gave the Queen of the Seven Seas a chance to shine.

These are in no particular order, except the last one, which the Shrine deems as Mera's Greatest Moment Ever!
The Queen Takes A King

Of course, marrying the King of the Seven Seas was a huge moment for Mera. But we're distilling the whole story to this moment, where Mera reveals she's been fooling Oceanus the whole time, only pretending to be his willing bride in order to turn the tables on him at precisely the right moment. Mera was not only beautiful, but cunning and brave, an equal partner to Aquaman. (Aquaman #18: "The Wife of Aquaman" by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy)

Tragedy and Defiance

Even though it seemed all-but-certain that her son was dead, Mera refused to give up, leaving her son in Atlantis and going back to Xebel to try one last ditch effort to save him, while her husband was more concerned with revenge. Even though the effort proved futile, this series showed Mera as someone refusing to acknowledge Death itself...a personality trait that would re-emerge decades later. (Aquaman #58: "Return to Disaster" by Paul Kupperberg, Juan Ortiz, and Vince Colletta.)

I Never Wanted To Be A Hero

This is a quiet yet powerful moment, but we felt it presents an insight into Mera that hadn't been touched on all that much. As she is trapped by yet another bad guy, Mera reminisces that she didn't really ever want to be a superhero...rather, it was something foisted upon her by her marriage to Aquaman. And yet Mera continued on, risking her life over and over when danger called. Now that's a true hero! (Aquaman #73: "Power Game" by Dan Jurgens, Steve Epting, and Norm Rapmund.)

Affairs of State?

After being absent from Aquaman's new series in the 90s, Mera makes a dramatic return to her husband's life, just as he's...gasp!...busy with Dolphin! Writer Peter David was on a roll, showing fans a far different Sea King than the one fans had known up until then. It was only a matter of time until Mera showed up, and of course she picked the absolute worst (meaning the best for the reader) moment to do so! (Aquaman #11: "Exodus" by Peter David, Martin Egeland, and Howard Shum.)

Are We Dead?

After one brutal experience after another in Blackest Night (including a brief stint as a napalm-spewing Red Lantern) Mera is finally reunited with her husband, who has miraculously returned to the land of the living. As a couple, Aquaman and Mera don't get a lot of peace and quiet, so when they do, it speaks volumes. (Blackest Night #8: "Blackest Night" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado.)

Three Characters In Search of A Dimension

Deadman was given a brief run as a back-up in Aquaman during the early 70s, and as the story evolved it was cleverly woven into the main Aquaman storyline, with the two tracks dovetailing in this issue. With Aquaman stuck in another dimension, Mera uses sheer force of will (with a little help from a Deadman-possessed Vulko) to bring Aquaman back to her, showing fans that she was a force to be reckoned with and not just window-dressing for Aquaman. (Aquaman #52: "The Traders' Trap"/"Never Underestimate a Deadman" by Steve Skeates, Jim Aparo, and Neal Adams.)

The Birth of a Prince

Not to be terribly obvious, but the birth of Arthur Curry Jr.--aka AquaBaby--simply has to be on this list, because what other superhero couple (which in itself was rare) was ever allowed to have a child? Once their son was born, it shifted the focus of Aquaman's core concept in a way that has lasted to this day. (Aquaman #23: "The Birth of AquaBaby" by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.)

Multi-Tasking in New Venice

This is a relatively small moment, but for longtime Aquafans it was yet another example of how, at times, Mera was the more levelheaded side of the marriage. As New Venice is crumbling down around them, Aquaman gets distracted yet again by one of his old foes (in this case Ocean Master), and it's up to Mera to pull off another feat of superhero multi-tasking. That, and Mera simply looked amazing under the art of Craig Hamilton. (Aquaman Volume 2 #1: Untitled by Neal Pozner, Craig Hamilton, and Steve Montano.)

No More Singing

Really, all of Blackest Night could be used as one of Mera's finest moments, but we think it's this page--when Mera tersely, and without fanfare, shatters an undead foe into little pieces--that really showed us an all-new Mera: tough, no-nonsense, and fully accepting of her role in this dangerous new world. Practically overnight, Geoff Johns turned Mera from a classical supporting to character to an A-list hero in her own right. (Blackest Night #2: "Blackest Night" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Oclair Albert.)

And now, The Aquaman Shrine's #1 all-time favorite Mera moment:
Holding Back The Ocean

In Brightest Day, we learned of the deep, dark secret that has been haunting Mera all these years. As she struggles to earn back her husband's trust, they--along with the new Aqualad and Aquagirl--are forced to stop a dual assault from Black Manta and Siren. And just when things look their worst, Mera steps up and puts on a display of guts and power like nothing we had seen before:
(Brightest Day #20: "AquaWar Part Two" by Geoff Johns, Peter J.Tomasi, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado.)

Now, of course there are many, many other fine moments from Mera's almost fifty-year history, and we fully expect her spotlight solo adventure in the upcoming Aquaman #6 to feature a moment or two that earns a spot on this list. So if you have a favorite Mera Moment you'd like to suggest, please leave a comment and let us know!


r duncan said...

Nice choices. And nice header.

cリnical said...

Red Lantern Mera was so indescribably awesome.

cリnical said...

Oh, wait. That's not Red Lantern Mera. She's just bleeding due to the strain. My baaaaaad.

Anonymous said...

Good choices! Though not really a candidate for 'top ten', you ought to include the first twin sister, Hila, in Mera Month!

Wings1295 said...

Great choices! And I love the new header, as well. Awesome kick-off to an awesome month ahead!

Joseph Brian Scott said...

I love this! Mera is my favorite superheroine, bar none.

Good choices; other fine moments can be found in Aquaman #11, Sep-Oct '63, her first appearance, in which she blows up a ship; Aquaman #16, Jul-Aug '64, where she battles an alien sea queen; and The Brave and the Bold #142, Jul-Aug '78, in which she overpowers Batman.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Another thought: you could do a post about Mera's cover appearances. Her pinnacle as a cover girl seems to be 1965, in which she appeared on all 6 covers of "Aquaman" published that year. After that, the penchant for placing her on the cover declined, until her nadir in 1970, in which she appeared on NO covers of her hubby's mag that year.

Anonymous said...

Red Lantern Mera going toe to toe with Wonder Woman is a kick ass moment

Paul Kupperberg said...

"Return to Disaster"...that's how I feel rereading these old stories.....

rob! said...

Oh Paul, come on, I love those!

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Great choices! I'm glad to see you included the Peter David era, even if she was crazy back then

That Brightest Day sequence is amazing!

The Irredeemable Shag