Friday, February 26, 2010

Aquaman #51

Aquaman #51 (On Sale: February 26, 1970) has another brilliant cover by Nick Cardy. This may be the Silver Age of comics, but it was the Golden Age of Comic Covers.

We begin with Aquaman in "The Big Pull" by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Continuing from last issue, some alien creatures sent by Ocean Master have blasted Aquaman, well, somewhere unearthly. There he met a woman who lived in a strange city where their religion only allowed for communication in their sanctuary. Looking for information about Earth the woman has brought Aquaman to Brother Warnn and as we pick up the story this issue we learn that even this man has no concept of Earth. The people here only believe in the City and the Wilderness beyond; to them nothing else exists.

When Aquaman tells the woman that he intends to search for someone who knows of Earth, the woman warns him that there is nothing but the City and the Wilderness and to speak otherwise is blasphemy. Aquaman is overheard however by a Supreme Brother, one of the few allowed to communicate outside of the sanctuary. The woman tells Aquaman that if he leaves they will surely attack him, but Aquaman doesn't want to wait around any longer and bolts from the place. He is followed by a couple of warriors with the crazy bubble-guns seen last issue. Aquaman sneaks up on an unsuspecting guard, and knocking him out, uses his body as a shield from the bubbles. Escaping Aquaman soon finds that he is once again being followed by the woman.

Back in the City, on official turns on a machine which sends out huge telepathic waves into the Wilderness. The waves his Aquaman and his companion, causing extreme pain and knocking her out. Aquaman carries the woman and swims on. Eventually as he puts more distance between him and the City the pain eases.

Back in Atlantis, Black Manta is seen approaching the city and Mera, alone and in charge, wishes with all her might that her husband were back with her. At that same instance, somewhere else, Aquaman feels a strange force pulling him in a specific direction. His companion wakes up and seems unsure of what to do, but eventually decides to continue following Aquaman.

As they continue on they are seen by two strange little men toiling in a rock quarry. Jimm thinks he sees Aquaman, but Steev has never heard of Aquaman and thinks they better get back to work or Dikk will have their heads. This was a nice little inside bit by Skeates and Aparo.

Luckily the woman did not see Steev or Jimm for she would have surely freaked when she saw them talking, for a little later on Aquaman is drawn toward a large sphere, covered with cave-like structures. When the woman sees the cave-people communicating in the open she is shocked and pulls out her gun to shoot them. Aquaman stops her, but not before one errant shot is let loose. It hits near a child playing and the cave people head toward Aquaman with clubs at the ready. This story was reprinted in Adventure Comics #503.

The back-up is Deadman in "The World Cannot Wait for a Deadman" written and drawn by Neal Adams. If you remember last time, the same aliens that zapped Aquaman where ever the heck he has been zapped, let loose a cat-like creature when they realized a non-corporal being like Deadman was in their midst and said cat-like creature was flipping Deadman out! More like taking him for an inter-dimensional ride! Now as he lands on solid ground (hard for a dead man to do!), the cat-like create has turned into a beautiful woman who explains that in this dimension Deadman is real

The beautiful Tatsinda explains that in our world she can only exist as the "cat-like" creature, that the aliens captured her two years ago and that the only way she could get home was to "ride" a nonentity, such as Deadman, back to her dimension. Deadman says that she can just ride him right back then, "Look, just drop me off and you can come back here!" But of course, she can only make the dimensional jump with someone like Deadman to ride her through it.

Just then Tatsinda's brother and sister arrive and after a tearful reunion they all run underground to avoid a massive storm. As they near Tatsinda's underground home city they are attacked by two ugly-looking guys on a giant crab-like creature. The crab-like creature's eyes hold them all in a hypnotic trance as the ugly ones grab Tatsinda and scamper (scuttle?) away on a giant network of spider-like webbing. Once they snap out of the trance Deadman asks what is the best way to go after them and Tatsinda's brother says that there is no way, that no one has ever followed the depth crabs, "We'll never see Tatsinda again!"

Not the right answer for Deadman, who leaps into the depths and swings about on the webs like he once did the trapeze. He quickly finds the ugly ones and landing among them begins to open a can o' wup ass! He rescues Tatsinda and as he is taking her back to her home she says, "You've done what no man on this whole planet could have done! I've been thinking...about how your dimension needs you more than I need to go home! Don't throw up!" and she rides him once again through the dimensional barrier! This story was reprinted in Deadman Collection HC.

Edited by Dick Giordano.


colsmi said...

It was a terrible shame that Aquaman was soon to be cancelled. Skeates and Aparo were creating one of DC's best books of the time. I would love to have seen another dozen issues from that team. I suspect Aquaman would have prospered far more in the years since if he'd had even more of a foundation from these two fine creator.

-Keller said...

I could not agree more. I think I have said it here before, but it bares repeating, the SAG Aquaman was my favorite comic series of all time. Every issue was something fresh and innovative and watching Jim Aparo mature as an artist each issue was quite a treat.

This was the best book DC Comics ever canceled.