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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Aquaman Episode 3: The Return of Nepto

Aquaman Episode 3: "The Return of Nepto" by George Kashdan

A terrible lightning storm fills the sky, so vast that it sends bolts deep into the sea. Aquaman and Aqualad head into a nearby cave for safety, but inside they find something they didn't expect: four sleeping giants!
The giants are led by Nepto who, along with his three companions, have been in a deep sleep for many centuries. The storm has now awakened them, and they immediately attack Aquaman and Aqualad. Our heroes try and fight them off, and the battle rages to outside the cave. Eventually, Nepto uses his powerful scepter to blast the cave closed, trapping Aquaman and Aqualad!

As Nepto heads for Atlantis (to conquer!), Tusky the Walrus tries to free his pals. It doesn't work, so Aquaman calls a nearby finny friend, an octopus, whose massive strength is enough to pry some rocks loose. Now free, Aquaman and Aqualad head for Atlantis, accompanied by an army of sea creatures!
This time, Aquaman and Aqualad have better luck against Nepto's men. Except that leaves Nepto himself, who threatens to crack Atlantis' dome, which would destroy the city. Aquaman plays possum and backs down, fooling Nepto. He and Aqualad then grab the maces left behind by Nepto's men, and lasso him. Nepto drops his scepter, which is grabbed by Tusky. Now mostly helpless, Aquaman drags the giants off, humiliated. The End!

Filmation plots were always pretty basic, with this one being simple even by their standards. Nepto is pretty incompetent, and it doesn't take much for Aquaman to defeat him. But as a kid you don't notice (or care about) these things, because the whole thing moves as such a clip and looks so beautiful: there are big, Lichtenstein-esque close-ups of Nepto (saves on animation, too), some nice lighting effects during the storm, and the background shots of the sea creature army are breathtaking.

Speaking of animation, I've always wondered: why did Filmation give black trunks and boots to Aquaman? Seems like adding that little bit of detail would require extra effort for nearly every scene, which is directly at odds with Filmation's insistence on repeating scenes, multiple times, even within the same seven-minute episode.


Joseph Brian Scott said...

And yellow boots and belt to Mera, with what looks like green trunks.

Everybody had to have boots, trunks and a belt. Even Black Manta. That was the Filmation costuming policy and woe-betide any character who tried to sneak onscreen without them.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Haney-zaniness!!! I remember seeing Haney's name in the credits when I first saw these back in 1984. It made me feel these were "legit".

Well, his trunks were kind of black in the comics by this point, weren't they? They were that "black with green highlights look" which reads either black, or very dark green. I never have understood the boots. Maybe they thought it would stand out better against all the blue/green backgrounds?


Anthony said...

Maybe it made it easier to animate his legs/recycle animation for such? Or related to Filmation also making the Superman cartoons (similar trunks/boots)?

Ultimately, his trunk/boot color might not've mattered, as the average kid watching might've only seen Aquaman in black and white anyway. CBS had shifted to full-color for Saturday mornings (canceling its final few B&W reruns of 50s-era shows like "Sky King") the previous season, and had shifted primetime to all-color the previous season as well. Rival NBC, of course, had emphasized being the "living color" network for years (thus its peacock logo). Still, color TV sales (and number of households with color sets) didn't eclipse B&W sales/B&W-only households until the early 70s in the US. Shows during this era that were in color usually carried an "in color" bumper before the start to indicate they were in, well, color (NBC's bumper the most well known, though a few 60s Batman reruns might still have its ABC bumper attached even today), so sure the Sea King/Man of Steel's show probably had the CBS bumper run before it.

Re: the episode: pretty ungrateful or impatient guy in Atlantis ("why doesn't Aquaman save us?").

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty solid one, though, as will often be the case with this show, an interesting concept (the mythical past of Atlantis coming back to haunt them, a previous race of giants, etc) is introduce, only to be discarded shortly thereafter. A chance to build a universe in this setting could have made good use of Nepto and his ilk, and I even think that his design has some possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Ohh, and I think I rather like Mera's design with the yellow boots and belt. It adds some more interest to her costume.

Unknown said...

Overheard on the Filmation drawing floor: "It's a Haney script. Break out one of the Lichtenstein closeups."

James Chatterton