After being absent for a few weeks, the Read My Library blog returns in full force as Max continues to work his way through The Aquaman Archives Vol. 1. Aquaman swims around the world in 80 hours, deals with an upstart “Aqua Queen,” gets accused of being an “Aqua Thief” and more! Plus, an important announcement about the Read My Library Blog!
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to email@example.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.
NOTE: Continued from last two entries (read the first one here, the second one here or the third one here), Max spent an hour long car ride with The Aquaman Archives Vol. 1 and read and wrote a bunch. Here is the final installment of that reading session:
“Around the World in 80 Hours!” is the name of the next tale, and Aquaman and Aqualad try to do just that for the sole reason of helping a man publish a book starring a character who does the same thing. No book publisher wants to publish a book about someone swimming around the world in 80 hours if no one can do it, so the author volunteers Aquaman because he’s sure that Aquaman could do it—without asking Aquaman first! Aquaman, bribed by the promise of charity money for sailors generated by a best selling book, agrees. Smugglers dog their every passage but somehow the pair survive.
A highlight of this story is a part of the ocean getting hit by a “mini A-Bomb” that flushes the area with radioactivity, so Aquaman and Aqualad get sharks to tear up scraps of lead from sunken ships, and then get octopi to wrap them in this lead, then the pair float through the area on the current, and get unwrapped by octopi upon making it through the radiation.
“Aqua Queen” is kind of like “Aquaman Meets Aquagirl” all over again. After Aquaman judges a female aqua champion contest (specifically “Miss Aquamaid of 1960”) a jilted loser accosts Aquaman for not choosing her as the winner. It turns out she’s Dale Conroy, wealthy heiress. Before long, she’s outmatching Aquaman in every one of his skills from swimming to “fish telepathy” (as it is called in some stories), and is the darling of the media as the woman who outdid Aquaman, the “Aqua Queen.”
The secret of the Aqua Queen isn’t anything as startling as Aquagirl however, though I won’t go into the specific hows, it’s a lot of smoke & mirrors. Dale drops the act however when she nearly endangers the lives of a school of fish, making her a true “Aqua Queen” in Aquaman’s book.
The next story has Aquaman helping aliens in “The Interplanetary Mission.” Aquaman in space? What a cool idea, right? Aliens seek Aquaman’s help, though all is not what it seems. I feel like I’ve gone into too much detail for all of these stories, so I’ll just say my favorite part of the story has to be when Aquaman punches out the aliens with Aqualad yelling at Aquaman “These aliens are our friends! We’re here to help them!” And in another panel: “Have you gone mad?” The aliens were really actor crooks in disguise. Turns out they were after a Kryptonite meteor that had sunk to the bottom of the ocean. I only mention this as it is important later.
“The Aqua-Thief of the Seven Seas” isn’t worth crowing about save for the opening panel that has a bunch of sea creatures gathered around Aquaman telling them they believe in him even though the rest of the world thinks he’s a thief. The story has Aquaman framed for theft from a little young prince who has just been given his weight in diamonds. It’s really the servants behind it all, and Aquaman flushes ‘em out by “recovering” the diamonds—really a bunch of ice shards. How the crooks get caught is pretty funny too—and barely has anything to do with Aquaman.
The final story I read today was “The Underwater Olympics.” For some reason, Aquaman decides that the underwater creatures need to participate in an Olympics because the surface world’s Olympics are happening soon. Sure, every fish, squid, and porpoise wants to participate in events such as pole vaulting, fencing and figure skating, just because the surface world is doing it…? Are you sure? Well, OK, go ahead Aquaman! Aquaman leads the Pacific team, while Aqualad leads the Atlantic team. As the Underwater Olympics begin, Aquaman notices a notorious sea scavenger in the audience, who raids underwater wrecks for treasure. This worries Aquaman for some reason.
Everyone seems to think Aquaman’s team will easily defeat Aqualad’s team, but upset! Aqualad’s team wins time after time. Everyone is surprised, but it turns out Aquaman throws the entire Olympics simply to avoid the plunderer from unearthing…a Kryptonite meteor? Is it the same one or is the ocean just lousy with Kryptonite meteors? It might explain the high volume of Kryptonite that has been used to hurt Superman with over the years as it is his only weakness… Still, two Kryptonite meteors in the span of three stories are a bit much I’d say!
Up next is “Aqualad Goes to School” which the title alone has me rolling. However, I’ve read a lot today and I didn’t get into this one other than the first page. I’ve written a lot too! I may have to break this up into a couple posts when it eventually goes up. But I wanted to be a bit thorough to describe how silly these Aquaman stories really are. I haven’t read this book in so long, so getting to read and write about a lot of it was really nice. I gotta say though, I’m looking forward to some later Aquaman stories that aren’t as silly—despite the macabre enjoyment I’m getting out of these.
I have to say that Fradon’s art ranks up there with some Silver Age luminaries. It’s well rendered, unique, detailed and fresh. Sure, it’s dated now but for the period it’s really good. Her art makes this volume worth bearing through these awkward Aquaman comics.
NOTES FROM NOW (11/15/12): Well, I haven’t gotten an entry up in a little over a month, for which I apologize. Things have been incredibly hectic in work and life and my updating schedule got derailed after a bunch of stuff. With real life being a key distraction and my getting far behind on the writing, the Read My Library blog will now update on Fridays only for the foreseeable future, until things slow down or I get caught up on writing. I’m sorry about this, but I’d rather have the Blog still update weekly instead of the zero updates that have been going up. I also want to thank everyone who has let me know they read and enjoy the blog, or left a comment in one or any of the entries. It’s much appreciated and I’m sorry things have gotten off track. But hopefully things will be a bit better now. Also believe it or not, I believe there’s only one entry left to post about The Aquaman Archives Vol. 1! It’s about time to move on! (Though I will be covering a couple more Aquaman graphic novels, none of them anywhere as long as the Aquaman Archives!)