Posts tagged ‘Aquagirl’

Adventure 450 – Aquaman vs Weather Wizard, and Martian Manhunter vs Supergirl

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David Michelinie contributes the Aquaman story in Adventure 450 (April 1977), which pits him against the Flash’s foe, the Weather Wizard.  Jim Aparo stays on the art.  The Weather Wizard had last appeared in DC Super-Stars, with other villains, playing baseball against super-heroes.  I am sooo looking forward to writing about that story!

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General Morgan turns to Aquaman for help when a NATO plane goes down over the ocean, and Aquaman discovers it in an area of dry land, where the water is being held back by the Weather Wizard.

Mark Mardon had done this in order to lure the Flash, and is disappointed when Aquaman shows up instead, which is a nice touch.

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Some good art on their battle, and it’s interesting to see Aquaman battling on dry land, even if it is an ocean bed.

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Intercut with this is the confrontation between McCaan and Aqualad and Aquagirl.  Garth’s purple eyes are the key, a trait of the Idyllists, whom McCaan blames for stealing his son.  He has been tracking Aqualad over the past few issues, convinced he was part of the group because of his eyes.  Garth disabuses him of this notion, but agrees to help him find his son.

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This story is also notable because Aquababy finally gets a name, mentioned in passing by Mera.  After what must have been seconds of thought, he is called Arthur, Jr.

The Weather Wizard, defeated by Aquaman, next appears a few months down the road in The Flash.

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The Martian Manhunter approaches Earth in this chapter of his story, written by Denny O’Neil, with are by Mike Netzer and Terry Austin.  He is pursued by N’or Cott, though unaware of that.

He winds up in a confrontation with Supergirl, appearing between issues of Superman Family, though he claims to have mistaken her for someone else.  Exactly who he thought she was is not explained.

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Once again there is little use of his extensive powers, and the best thing about this chapter is the art.

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Adventure 449 – Aquaman vs Marine Marauder, and Martian Manhunter begins

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Steve Skeates takes over the writing on Adventure 449 (Feb 77), introducing a new villain, the Marine Marauder, while Jim Aparo stays on the art.

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The Marine Marauder has developed a tech that allows him to command air-breathing sea creatures, and has been using whales in his piracy, stealing rare vaccines.

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Aquaman’s investigation brings him back into contact with General Morgan, but the long-awaited confrontation between the two men does not happen.  In fact, they work pretty well together in this story.

The Aqualad storyline progresses as well, as he and Tula are stalked by the man from the previous issue.

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The climactic battle between Aquaman and the Marine Marauder ends as it must.  Aquaman has far more animals under his control than the Marauder does, but at least the battle between the creatures makes for some interesting visuals.

Although this version of the character never appears again, a female Marine Marauder shows up in the 80s, and proves more of an enduring foe.

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The Martian Manhunter begins a three-part story in this issue, written by Denny O’Neil, with superb art by Mike Metzer and Terry Austin.

This was my first introduction to the character, who had made occasional appearances, mostly in Justice League of America, since his last series in House of Mystery ended in the late 60s.

J’onn is about to be sworn in as leader of New Mars for the second time, but senior stateman R’es Eda is murdered at the ceremony, and mentions “Sol” as the place the killer was from.  Interpreting this to mean Earth, J’onn assumes one of his former Justice League comrades must be the killer, and determines to return and find out who was responsible.

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N’or Cott tries to stop him, but J’onn commandeers a ship and heads off back to Earth.

A simple start to the tale, though certainly dramatic enough. The art was what really grabbed me as a child.  And looking back on this now, I cannot help but notice that this introductory story does not utilize any of J’onn’s powers or abilities.

 

 

Adventure 448 – Aquaman vs Karshon

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Paul Levitz and Jim Aparo bring the Karshon storyline to a strong conclusion in Adventure 448 (Dec 76), with a surprising revelation about the villain, which has nonetheless been visually hinted at constantly.

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Black Manta captures Aquaman for Karshon, and gets paid off with a map to the city of the “lost tribes,” which will play a role when Manta returns a few issues down the road.

Aquaman is thrown into a prison with Vulko, and we learn that Karshon has told the people of Atlantis that Vulko died.  Kind of a dumb move keeping him alive after that.  Just begging for trouble.

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And sure enough, Aqualad, Aquagirl, and their friend Mupo (who has not been seen since the end of Aquaman’s comic, and never appears again), break Vulko out of prison.  Karshon’s lies are revealed to the Atlanteans, and he and Aquaman go head to head.

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With his deceptions exposed, Karshon drops his human form, and reveals himself to be the Shark, an old foe of Green Lantern.  Never saw that coming as a kid (partly because I had never heard of the Shark).  And though there are no obvious clues to it, Karshon did have a shark emblem on his outfit, and was always seen with one on the animals.  But that largely seemed symbolic of his character, rather than a clue to his identity.  The Shark had last appeared in Action Comics, fighting Superman.

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Aquaman defeats the Shark in a vicious battle, luring him to nuclear waste, which transforms him back into his animal form.  A bit of a guess on Aquaman’s part that that would succeed.  Nuclear waste transformed the Shark originally into his mutated form, and could just as easily have mutated him further, rather than “curing” him.

In the end, Vulko is placed on the throne, to Aquaman’s approval.

The Shark next appears a couple years down the road, in Adventure Comics once again.

There is also a brief scene with a man apparently claiming that Aqualad is his son, though that is intentionally misleading.  This storyline will continue over the next few months.

Adventure 447 – The Fisherman returns, and the Creeper ends

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The Aquaman story in Adventure 447 (Oct 76) feels a bit like a filler issue, before the full length story in the following issue.  Paul Levitz, Marty Pasko and Jim Aparo craft a decent enough tale, but it really does little except lead up to the coming resolution.

After bidding farewell to Aqualad and Aquagirl, Aquaman pursues the gun-smuggling operation to a Civil War mementos factory on land, and falls into the hands of the Fisherman.

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The Fisherman is working as hired muscle for Black Manta, and his fight with Aquaman takes up most of the issue.  Only at the end do we see Manta and Karshon plotting together.  There is also a brief scene with Mera and Aquababy, presumably just to remind us they are part of the story as well.

The Karshon plotline concludes next issue.

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The third and final chapter of the Creeper story is a bit better than the previous two.  Not that Marty Pasko has remembered to make Jack Ryder abrasive, but Ric Estrada and Joe Staton’ s art is satisfactory.

It turns out the Maddox’s robot is acting on his unconscious whims, but no less deadly for that.  The Creeper manages to get him to face his creation, in order to stop it.

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That doesn’t work exactly as planned, as Maddox dies destroying the robot, but the physiotherapist gains the ability to walk again, even though the telepathy thing is a bit of a stretch.

Jack Ryder has a cameo in Teen Titans, and the Creeper next appears in Secret Society of Super-Villains.  His next run at a series is in World’s Finest Comics, with his creator, Steve Ditko, returning to helm the character.

Adventure 446 – Aquagirl returns, and the Creeper fights a robot

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Adventure 446 (Aug 76) was the first issue of Adventure Comics I ever bought.  Curiously, one the main reasons was the cover, which I now find overly busy.  But at 11 years old I loved Aquaman riding the giant seahorse, and the whole Aqua-Family on the banner, as well as the Creeper, whose story in Super-Team Family 2 I had really enjoyed.

Not being familiar with the characters, I thought Topo was an evil monster in the opening sequence, when it grabs Aquababy, rather than simply the boy’s babysitter.  To be fair, the previous issue sets it up to look like an attack as well.

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Robin has a cameo, as Aquaman tries to get information to Aqualad about Karshon being the new king of Atlantis. The story, by Paul Levitz and Marty Pasko, with art by Jim Aparo, uses that to transition to Aqualad and Tula, Aquagirl, on board a ship tracking down Black Manta.

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Tula had not appeared since the final issue of the Aquaman comic, and I had never seen her before, so I was genuinely concerned when she got tied up with an anchor and thrown overboard.  Of course, being an Atlantean that merely causes her some difficulty, not death.

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Aquaman joins the fray, and all three heroes take on Black Manta, who does the wise thing and flees, leaving behind the cargo of guns he was smuggling.  Aquaman is left to ponder the connection between Manta’s gun-running, and Karshon’s take-over of Atlantis.

And I just loved it.  I bought every issue for the duration of Aquman’s run in this book.

 

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On the other hand, I was not too impressed with the Creeper story, by Marty Pasko, with Pic Estrada and Joe Staton art.  Never cared for Joe Staton.  And it didn’t help that I hadn’t read the first part of the story.

The Creeper flees from the cops, and figures out a connection between the robots and a telekintic scientist, Maddox.  Just as it starts to pick up, with the physiotherapist being forced telekinetically to walk off her balcony while the Creeper is stuck fighting the robots, it ends.

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But as it concluded the following issue, I was not too distressed.

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