Aquaman Episode 36 - "To Catch A Fisherman" by Bob Haney
This final (*sniff*) episode of Aquaman opens with Tusky and Imp playing hide and go seek. Suddenly, Tusky disappears, confusing the sea horse. He alerts Aquaman and Aqualad, and they start a search. They can't find him after many hours, so Aquaman suggests they consult Oceanus, The Old Man of the Sea, who lives in a giant clam and "knows all."
The shriveled old man tells Aquaman to go "where the sea burns" to find Tusky, which sends our heroes to an underwater volcano which makes the sea around it appear on fire. They see what they think is Tusky trapped inside some hardened lava, but it turns out to be a stuffed fake! Waiting for them there is the villainous Fisherman, who has the drop on them via his series of harpoons, fired from his super-cool attack ship (The Fisherman has always had some sweet rides).
The first harpoon "lassoes" some lava, dragging it around Aquaman and Aqualad so when it hardens they are trapped. They soon escape, and Aqualad pretends to be knocked unconscious so the Fisherman will focus on Aquaman. Meanwhile, Aqualad goes back to Oceanus, demanding to know why he led them into this trap. Unfortunately, Oceanus is...gone!
Aqualad hears Tusky in distress, finding him and the real Oceanus trussed up nearby. The Fisherman posed as Oceanus as part of his plan! After being freedm Oceanus tells Aqualad that "only a two-legged fish can be caught by a two-legged bait." Heading back to the fray, Aqualad attacks The Fisherman while Aquaman, after freeing himself from another lava prison, also gets in on the fight.
The Fisherman threatens to blow everyone up via some nefarious Big Yellow Button, but Tusky helps out by knocking him out via the fake Tusky being dropped on his head:
The Fisherman is trussed up by some seaweed, leaving Aquaman and Aqualad to check back in on Oceanus. The Fisherman cries for help after being repeatedly needled by Tusky, and Aquaman and Aqualad wave goodbye to Oceanus. The End!
As I said above, this is the final episode of Aquaman. The following season, Aquaman would be replaced by Batman, the show would change titles to The Superman/Batman Hour of Adventure, and the Sea King's moment in the sun would be over. He wouldn't be seen outside the comics more or less until 1973, the first season of Super Friends. Many decades later, pop culture commentators would wonder why someone as seemingly second tier as Aquaman would be placed alongside icons like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, not understanding this show is the reason. It stayed in syndication through the 1970s, hit the home video market in the 1980s, and has remained available in one form or another all the way to the present.
While of course having very limited resources with which to produce a weekly show, Filmation did Aquaman a great service, by presenting him as such a brave, powerful force for food. Sure, the alien races he took on were less than terrifying, but the show gave Aquaman such an amazing, candy-coated world of adventure to swim around in every week, it was bound to create a generation of devoted Aquaman fans. It sure worked on me--as a kid I ate this show up, and it was one of the reasons I grew up loving the Sea King so much.
I hope you've enjoyed these looks back at the show, it was fun to revisit after so many years. Now that the summer is officially here, and after eight and half years of one regular Sunday feature or another, I've decided to take a bit of a rest and not immediately replace Saturday Morning Sundays. This will be the Shrine's last Sunday post for a while, so I can not be so chained to my computer and actually go see this thing they call Outside. Thanks to everyone who followed along...now, let's head for home, tadpole!