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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Aquaman, Episode 7: The Volcanic Monster

Aquaman Episode 7: "The Volcanic Monster" by Richard Sandler

Back in their totally rad AquaCave, Aquaman and Aqualad notice some potential trouble: a long-dormant volcano has started rumbling, making sounds as if it's about to blow.

Our heroes investigate, along with Tusky, just in time to not only watch the volcano erupt, but spit out some sort of terrible creature that hurls balls of fire!
The creature sends its fireballs both at Aquaman and the volcano, causing the fissure to open up even more, causing a dangerous vaccuum underwater, which sucks anyone or anything nearby into harm's way. Aquaman rescues both Aqualad and Tusky and then turns to deal with the creature.

Aquaman tries to "put out" the monster by using various water attacks, to no lasting effect. He even creates a whirlpool by spinning, Flash-like, at a tremendous speed, but it doesn't stop the creature for long.
Finally Aquaman tries a new plan: calling in his finny friends to smash away at various rock formations, causing boulders to fall on and around the monster, burying it. The creature almost gets Tusky once again when he gets too close trying to save the life of one of the finny friends, but Aquaman rescues him again. The rocks pile up, covering the creature, ending its threat. Aqualad mocks Tusky for getting into so much trouble, but Aquaman advises his young charge to "go easy on him", since Tusky has had a rough day. The End!

Complaining about the bare-bones animation in these shows is reductive and more than a bit silly, especially when there's so much visual invention going on via the backgrounds and character designs. That said, the guys at Filmation must have really been pressed for time on this one--the shot of the volcano monster rearing back and hurling a fireball is used about fifty times in seven minutes, and there are numerous silhouette shots of Aquaman and Aqualad. Nevertheless, the volcano monster is quite nifty to look at, with lava dribbling out of his mouth on a regular basis. Quite, er, cool.

I've said this before, and will again, but the characterization of Aquaman here had to one of the things that set my fandom in place at a young age. Tusky has to be rescued three times in this episode, yet Aquaman takes the time to (gently) scold Aqualad for pointing that out, having sympathy for the embarrassed walrus. Among superheroes, Aquaman was a kind soul, something that must have really spoken to me in my formative years.


Anonymous said...

The volcano monster looks like an orange Clayface from Batman TAS. :)

Anthony said...

I saw this one back in the 90s, and joked then that if it were a then-modern comic, the six minutes it took to do this short would require: a three-issue miniseries leading into the actual Aquaman vs. Lava Creature fight; the actual fight would require its *own* miniseries; the Lava Creature would require *his* own miniseries explaining where he came from, what his motivation was, etc. And, of course, the entire thing crossing over with every other major DC comic. And Batman showing up for no reason other than to boost sales.

In the New 52, it'd probably be all of the above, but it'd somehow tie into a 52-part, 52-week storyline that ties into the Aquaman/Lava Creature showdown, and the Lava Creature's retconned-in (anti?)heroic twin sibling getting his/her own comic. :-p

Marcial said...

lava troll!