Posts tagged ‘Atlantis’

More Fun 87 – Green Arrow fires a rocket-arrow, Dr. Fate – doctor, Aquaman meets Atlanteans and Tubby Watts gets paid to do nothing

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Johnny Quick gets his second cover appearance on More Fun 87 (Jan 43).  He still doesn’t get the lead spot, and Green Arrow resumes his cover features with the next issue.  This is also the final issue with a Radio Squad story, the one early series that stuck around.

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Green Arrow and Speedy wind up in a complex case, which builds to a big prison breakout attempt.  But the plot is not the important thing here, it’s the arrows.

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Up until now the arrows have always been used in the acceptable variety of ways arrows are used – like setting them on fire, or shooting them up as signals.  But in this story, it stretches a little further.  In order to sneak into the prison to get information on the villain’s plans, Green Arrow and Speedy shooted hooked arrows at convicts, reeling them in almost like fish.

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Towards the end of the story, the duo fire off rockets, but Green Arrow specifically calls them Arrow-Rockets, name branding them a la Batman.  But also making this the first trick arrow.

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Some really nice art by Howard Sherman on Gardner Fox’s latest Dr. Fate story.

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Dr. Fate is pitted against a rival, but the doctor is a phony, as Kent susses out in his medical day job.  This issue shows him as a doctor, while most of the issues simply refer to his occupation in passing.

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Some of his powers seem to be back, as he is immune to bullets, and he’s pulled his crystal ball out of storage!

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There are even a couple panels of Dr. Fate underwater, drawn in Sherman’s unique way of expressing that.   A better story than most of the late Dr. Fate tales.

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Atlanteans get introduced in the Aquaman story in this issue.  The ark-type ship shown in the splash page is run by thugs in biker jackets, gathering rare creatures from around the world.  They find an Atleantean man, beat the crap out of him, and throw him in a  cage.

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The reader is treated to a fairly standard telling of the destruction and sinking of Atlantis.  The art makes ancient Atlantis look pretty urban and bland.

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Aquaman discovers Atlantis and meets its inhabitants for the first time – the previous notion of him living in a temple in the abandoned ruins can easily be blended with this.  He mistook an abandoned out-lying settlement for Atlantis proper.

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He frees the captured Atlantean, and throws the men in cages to be displayed to the Atlanteans.  Just temporarily.  So he says.

 

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Tubby Watts gets a more important role than usual, in a convoluted story that sees him paid by criminals to do nothing, part of a scheme to steal a farmer’s land that has oil on it.

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Tubby gets the plot-line, but after a page of being Johnny Chambers, Quick gets into action.

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Meskin is now making the most of the multiple images visual, which also appears on the cover.

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Drawn this way, Johnny has finally become a visually distinct character from the Flash.

 

 

More Fun 84 – Green Arrow goes to war, Aquaman defends Atlantis, and Johnny Quick puts out a fire

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Green Arrow goes to war in this story from More Fun 84 (Oct 42).

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The story begins simply enough, as Green Arrow is challenged to prove his might by making headlines without using his arrows.  Nothing very out of the ordinary.

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Then the story abruptly shifts to deal with a Japanese invasion, which Green Arrow and Speedy now have to fight off without arrows.

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They succeed well enough to blow up a Japanese ship.  The hand reaching out from the water is fairly extreme for the era, but this was produced shortly after Pearl Harbour, and clearly reflects that.

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Aquaman finds himself defending the ruins of Atlantis, but becomes the prize himself in this story.

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The villain runs an aqua-show, and is looking to raid Atlantis for something spectacular to draw in crowds.

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This is the first glimpse we get of Atlantis from the outside, just a crumbled wall.

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Aquaman gets captured, to be the star attraction, but his abilities with the fish allow him to take down the entire show and escape.

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The bulk of this Johnny Quick story is a “task” story, as Johnny single-handedly makes a movie, putting thousands of pictures in front of a camera at super-speed.  But that’s not where the important sequence lies.

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There is a fire as part of the set-up, and Johnny races to put out the blaze.  In this panel, Meskin uses multiple images to show Johnny’s speed.  The earlier time was part of the stylization throughout the page, but here it is clearly intentional.

More Fun 82 – Green Arrow meets Robin Hood, Dr. Fate vs the Lucky One, and Aquaman lives in Atlantis

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The first of many, many versions, Green Arrow and Speedy meet Robin Hood in More Fun 82 (Aug 42), which also sees the logo shrink and move to the corner of the cover.

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Speedy is the first to travel back in time, popping some experimental “time pills.”  Oliver follows quickly after.

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The story then has the two heroes join forces with Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  As there are no trick arrows yet, Green Arrow is really not much different from Robin Hood in the story.   The two would meet again and again over the years, every time as if it were the first.

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Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman give Dr. Fate an interesting villain in this story, although his name, the Lucky One, leaves something to be desired.

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He runs really large and elaborate cons, convincing people he has great luck.  As usual, Kent and Inza learn of him through society friends, and Dr. Fate goes into action.

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In the top two panels it really appears that Fate is flying, yet by the bottom of the page he seems unable to do so, in order to avoid the card trap.

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Aside from that, this story has much better visuals than any story in while.  Still no magic from Fate, but that was far in the past now.

The villain does not appear again, but certainly seems to be cut of the same cloth as later JLA villain Amos Fortune.

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Aquaman’s story slightly resembles his fight with the King of the Sargasso Sea, as a man takes kingship on an island of convicts (cleverly called Convict Island).

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What makes this story significant is a very brief scene in which Aquaman takes a man he has rescued to his place of residence (apparently).  A temple, sealed against the water, in the ruins of ancient Atlantis.  Sadly we see almost nothing of the temple, inside or out, or the ruined city.  But it is the first mention of Atlantis in the Aquaman series.

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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 442 – Aquaman has issues with NATO, and the Vigilante chapter of Seven Soldiers of Victory

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Paul Levitz and Jim Aparo craft the Aquaman story in Adventure 442 (Dec 75), pitting him against General Morgan of NATO when terrorists take over a ship of nuclear waste.

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General Morgan tries to blow up the ship, which would then sink towards Atlantis, potentially wiping out the city.  His reasons are not evil, letting some die to save many more, but Aquaman has no intention of sitting back and letting this happen.  He manages to take out the NATO missile sent at the ship, and then boards it an takes down the terrorists as well.

But this is not an entirely happy ending, as Aquaman is still furious about the situation, and intends to seek out Morgan.

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A different plot thread also begins in this issue, of the Atlanteans dissatisfaction with Aquaman as their king.  In the late 60s there was a small plot about civil unrest in Atlantis, but this run in Adventure would really play that up.

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The Vigilante chapter of the Seven Soldiers of Victory epic is one of the more enjoyable.  Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Mike Royer handle the art, as Vigilante winds up a giant in a land of battling gnomes.

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For reasons that are never made clear, beyond “magic,” Vigilante gains the ability to shape shift, and turns himself into a giant insect to terrify the gnomes into submission.  Their war is over the proper phrasing of a sentence, and he brings peace by getting the rival armies to sing it as a round.

Adventure 441 – Aquaman begins, for the third time, and the Star-Spangled Kid chapter of the SSoV

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After the success of his back-up series, Aquaman returns to become the lead feature in Adventure 441 (Oct 75).  Paul Levitz and David Michelinie are credited as writers, and Jim Aparo, who did superb work on Aquaman’s own book in the late 60’s, does the art.

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Captain Demo makes a mysterious threat, and in response Aquaman turns over the city of Atlantis to the one-armed pirate.  Mera actually gets to do something, instead of just standing around being wifely, but her attack on Demo is thwarted when Aquaman attacks her to defend him.

Vulko gets the just-standing-around role in her place.

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Aquaman shows his true colours towards the end, using a clam to block the radio signals in Captain Demo’s fake hand, preventing him from destroying Atlantis (his threat, now finally revealed).

An adequate tale, nothing really special, but this run in Adventure would climax with one of the most powerful Aquaman stories ever told.

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The Star=Spangled Kid chapter of the Seven Soldiers of Victory saga has art by Ernie Chan, though it looks nothing like his usual work.  It does, however, highly resemble the art on the Kid’s strip from the 1940s.  Which is to say, horrible.

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The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey wind up in a place with talking animals who behave like street toughs (or “dead end kids”, as the title reflects).  The heroes convince the furniture to stand up to the brats, in a scene that feels like it’s straight out of a Disney cartoon.

 

Adventure 333 – The Legion goes to war – against itself

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The Legion goes to war with itself in Adventure 333 (June 1965), written by Jerry Siegel, an event so abrupt that it must reveal some long-simmering tension within the team.

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It all begins innocently enough, with Phantom Girl helping out at an archaeological dig, where a plaque is discovered that refers to a war between Krypton and Earth.  Saturn Girl and Superboy travel back in time to ancient Krypton, along with Lightning Lad, Colossal Boy and Element Lad, while Brainiac 5 takes Phantom Girl, Light Lass, Star Boy and Chameleon Boy back in time on Earth.

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Superboy discovers a group of his fellow Kryptonians are leaving the planet to set up a colony on Earth, and his group of Legionnaires accompany them.  Meanwhile, Brainiac 5’s group discovers some alien settlers who are building the city of Atlantis.

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When the two colonizing parties meet, Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 immediately start a furious argument, which quickly escalates into war.  Just to be clear on this, the war is NOT started by the Kryptonians or Atlanteans, but by the Legionnaires themselves!  Superboy, who ought to be on the Kryptonian side completely, is instead trying to make time with Atlantean Leta Lal, fatally attracted by her initials.

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The war is, at least, a sort of peaceful one.  Neither side actually wants to kill the other, although the Atlantean weapons do accidentally cause some Kryptonian deaths.

In the end, the environment determines the winner, as the Atlanteans cannot exist with the xenon in Earth’s air.  Brainiac 5 artificially “evolves” them into mer-people, and Star Boy sinks their city below the water.  The Kryptonians fare no better in the long run, being killed off by the giant lizards they brought from their home planet.

Although all seems well with the Legionnaires, and Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5, at the end of the story, his resentment over this may be the cause of his behaviour during the Computo story a few months down the road.

Adventure 281 – Superboy meets Lori Lemaris

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Another continuity-challenging tale in Adventure 280 (Jan 61), as Superboy meets Lori Lemaris, the mermaid Clark would meet and fall in love with at university.

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The story, written by Jerry Siegel, with Curt Swan art, isn’t even very kind to her.  She is introduced as a compulsive liar, who flees Atlantis when her father tries to punish her.  When she meets Superboy, she starts in again, trying to convince him she is 2,000 years old.

Although Superboy exposes her lies, he also offers to help her be able to live on land, and takes her back to Smallville, putting her in a tank while his process works.

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Lana Lang discovers Lori, and is consumed by jealousy, but this plotline is really to the side of the story.  In the end, it turns out the tank was not helping her live on land, but performing some kind of mind control that renders Lori incapable of learning.

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The story concludes with Lori’s father wiping everyone’s memories of the events, except, sadly, the reader.

But none of that is really the most significant thing in this tale.

For a while now there have been two contradictory Atlantises in the DC Universe.  The city Lori comes from, where everyone has fish tails, and the city Aquaman comes from, where they have legs.

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This story was the first to explain that these are two separate cities of the realm of Atlantis.  Later, they would be given the names Poseidonis and Tritonis, and still later an elaborate backstory to explain how the Atlanteans developed differently from each other.

Adventure 269 – Green Arrow ends, and the debut of Aqualad

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Green Arrow ends his long run in this book with Adventure 269 (Feb 60), but continued his series in World’s Finest Comics, which had been running concurrently since he moved from More Fun Comics.

The story has him and Speedy re-enacting feats from a comic book, the Wizard Archer, that the editor thinks are impossible and unbelievable.

Wizard Archer is published by All-Star Comics, which had been the home of the Justice Society of America in the 1940s.  And just in case the reader was too young to catch the in-house reference, it is made even more obvious that this comic company is meant to be DC.

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Although I usually like Lee Elias`art on this strip, this one seems sub-par to me.  Maybe he didn`t care for the story.

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Aqualad is introduced in this issue as well, finally providing Aquaman a partner and supporting character that is not an octopus.

The boy was exiled from Atlantis because he is afraid of fish.  Once again we see a child ejected from Atlantis, but this time the device looks just deadly.

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And once again, the purple eyes!  Aquaman makes reference to the Aquagirl story, saying that the boy will not be able to survive underwater, but Aqualad, who is not given any other name in this tale, informs him that he can live beneath the waves.  So what do the purple eyes really signify?  That won’t actually be addressed for a long time.

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Aquaman helps Aqualad overcome his fear of fish in a sort of cure-or-kill fashion.  I doubt being told I had been tricked into playing with eels would suddenly make me fine around them, but it works for the lad.

At the end of the story, Aquaman takes him back to Atlantis, but the boy refuses to go, wanting to stay with Aquaman.  And after his parents stuffed him in a cylinder and shot him through that cannon, you can’t really blame him for not wanting to go back to them.

And again, great art by Ramona Fradon.

Adventure 266 – Aquaman meets Aquagirl, and Green Arrow gets a surprise guest

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Adventure 266 (Oct 59) introduces Aquagirl, a one-shot character who nonetheless lays some important groundwork in the series.

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Lisa Morel sees Aquaman trapped by a giant clam, and dives down to rescue him, discovering, to her surprise, that she can breathe underwater and control sea creatures as well.

She adopts a matching costume, and starts calling herself Aquagirl.  Aquaman is not pleased, and it seems as if this story will be like the Johnny Quick – Joanie Swift one, of male insecurity.

But more is going on.  Aquaman has realized that Lisa is really from Atlantis, and that her father has been lying to her about her birth.  She was exiled at birth from the undersea city, because she was incapable of living in the water for an extended period of time.  Her purple eyes are the key to this, the sign of her being a “throwback,” as the story terms it.

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While Ramona Fradon once again has fun drawing Topo – love his one-octopus-band – the panel of the baby being  jettisoned from the city just looks funny to me.  And sadly, the panel of the purple eyes was drawn on in the scan I have.  Boo.

The purple eyes would continue as a significant trait in the Aquaman series, though they would not indicate an inability to live in water in later stories.  What do they signify?  Wait and find out.  I’ll get to it.

 

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This issue also features an unusual Green Arrow story.  It seems fairly run-of-the-mill, with Oliver and Speedy dealing with an escaped tiger and some thieves.  They have some new green arrowheads that they are using, which act very strangely.

After the arrows have been used, they keep disappearing, flying up into the sky most often.  Green Arrow and Speedy are completely mystified until the end of the story.

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Superman shows up on the last page, and all is made clear.  The green ore that was used for the new arrowheads was kryptonite!  It was Superman who made the arrows vanish, disposing of them from a distance.  And you can’t help but notice that Lee Elias art works better on Green Arrow and Speedy that it does on Superman.

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Aside from the unexpected cameo by Superman, this story is also the first to show the Daily Star Building, although it is not labelled as such.  The Daily Star would not become important in the Green Arrow series until the late 70s.

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