Following the craziness of Gem City Con 2012, Max gets to spend a little more time with The Aquaman Archives Vol. 1 and sees Aquaman’s “Sea Police” clean up a waterlogged town. A look at this and a couple other stories, including one featuring an “Aquagirl!” Read on!
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Well, today I had a doctor’s appointment, which meant waiting in a waiting room, and that of course meant reading more of The Aquaman Archives Volume 1 while I waited. I got to read a couple more stories, starting with the story “Aquaman and his Sea Police.” In this story, Aquaman visits the town of New Venice, which has been flooded by a sea quake and now all of its streets are waterways. When Aquaman comes to town, the mayor bemoans that the citizens of New Venice are now lawless, littering, speeding and breaking other laws so that now even the police can’t stop them. Aquaman views this as a challenge and calls in his Sea Police! Also known as a bunch of fish.
Once the Sea Police hit the town, Aquaman starts cleaning up everyone’s act by getting his sea friends to police the town efficiently; stopping speeding boats with seaweed, getting sea gulls to drop garbage on litterers, and getting swordfish to attach garbage to the lines of fishermen who are fishing out of season. Aquaman even stops a hold up by a man in a wetsuit.
At the end, the water of New Venice begins to recede, and Aquaman and his Sea Police friends must block up a crack in the ocean floor. With their aquatic way of life preserved, the citizens of New Venice throw Aquaman a ticker tape parade. What a silly story! The highlight for me is when someone on a boat gets their pocket picked, and a “Sea Police Officer” octopus happens to be standing nearby onboard and searches eight men at once for the stolen wallet.
The next story I read was a little weirder. It’s called “The Secret of the Super Safe” and it involves a wealthy business man getting Aquaman to transfer a gigantic safe to a certain point at the bottom of the ocean floor and then guard it. Aquaman doesn’t trust the businessman, Mr. Roxroyd, so he gets his octopus Topo to perform a lie detector test on him of sorts, where if Topo feels any tremor in Roxroyd, Aquaman will sense it with aquatic telepathy.
When Roxroyd passes the test to Aquaman’s satisfaction, Aquaman agrees to move the safe and guard it for a week. However, there is of course more to the mystery than it seems and Aquaman learns the hard way that he has been duped. I don’t really want to give away the nature of the safe’s secret, but it leads to a showdown between Aquaman and Roxroyd that boils down to a battle of wits. Yet the way Aquaman prevails is so hokey, Roxroyd groans! My sentiments exactly Roxroyd!
The final story I got to read some of is “Aquaman Meets Aquagirl.” In it, Aquaman meets a girl Miss Lisa Morel, who dives into the sea to save him from a giant clam clamping his leg without using underwater breathing equipment. As the story continues, Aquaman meets her father, who has no idea how his daughter could breathe underwater. Lisa then exhibits the power to communicate with marine life much to her father’s and Aquaman’s surprise. This is about as far into the story as I got, but I did read a part where Aquaman tells Lisa and her father about how he got his marine powers, and it shows a flashback of Aquaman as baby Arthur Curry swimming as his father and mother look on from a rowboat. Aquaman’s mother is reassuring his father that Arthur is able to swim so well because he inherited her marine powers since she is from Atlantis. This bugged me a little, as in the story that opened this volume where Aquaman revealed how he got his powers, the story depicted his mother on her deathbed before she told anyone about her Atlantian nature and that that is why her son can breathe underwater. Boo! I’m sure continuity wasn’t as strictly enforced back then as it was in later years.
Unfortunately, at that point, it was time to see the doctor. All I can say is that a lot of these stories really carve out the poor reputation the Aquaman character has had in more modern times as just someone who “talks to fish.” These stories are all silly, and while other super heroes were telling silly stories at the time, these are particularly goofy. I mean, in the 80s, DC Comics would stamp on their covers “DC Comics aren’t just for kids anymore” but when these Aquaman stories were published, comics were definitely just for kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with that necessarily, it’s just that Aquaman’s “Silver Age” material isn’t as cool as Adam Strange or even Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and Question in the Silver Age. But Aquaman’s material is entertaining. Even if it is in a painful way!
More Aquaman to follow soon, no doubt.