Well, it seems that my package of new comic books didn't arrive today as I had been anticipating... That sucks because it leaves me with nothing new to review. I could crack open a recent issue of Astonishing X-Men, X-Men: Legacy or Moon Knight, but I'm REALLY down on the x-books right now, so a review of either one of those x-books would basically consist of me bitching for a few paragraphs, so I figure I'll spare everybody that. Unless you guys want to read a post full of complaints and lame jokes... Yeah, I didn't think so! As for Moon Knight... I'm just not really in a Moon Knight sort of mood, whatever that means. I have Captain America #602 and the Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield one-shot laying around as well, but I refuse to read either of those books until I've read Cap: Reborn #6. Besides those comics, I have nothing new to read, and as such, I have nothing new to review, so I'm going to go RETRO and review an issue of Adventure Comics from the 70's! That's right everybody, it's the return of the dreaded RETRO Review!!! Since this is a RETRO Review, expect plenty of sarcasm! So without further ado, here's a look back into the past, back when Aquaman was alive, Tempest was still called Aqualad and Batman and Robin used to fight crime with the aid of Hostess Cup Cakes! Don't ask...
Adventure Comics #452: Writer: David Michelinie. Artist: Jim Aparo.
This issue opens with Aquaman fighting off some damnable surface-dwellers who were hassling him, which was preventing him from finding his missing son, Aquababy. Sadly, Aquaman is unable to defeat the three goons in wetsuits so he summons a few sea critters to do the job for him... That was pretty lame of Aquaman actually... With the menace of the guys in the wetsuits dealt with(Huzzah!), Aquaman meets up with a few members of a pacifist sect of Atlantians who inform him that a)their city was taken over by a surface-dweller, b)that same surface-dweller had managed to kidnap Aqualad as well. Damn surface-dwellers... Aquaman and the pacifists head to the city and he is met by more guys wearing wet suits. Aquaman decides to simply call a shark to deal with those bozos, but much to Aquaman's surprise, the shark attacks him and knocks him out instead! Holy double-cross, Aquaman! Aquaman wakes up tied to a wall in a room with Aqualad and a fellow Atlantian named Mcaan. Since the three men are trapped there, Mcaan decides to regale Aquaman with his origin story... Why not I guess... Basically Mcaan and his son lived in Atlantis and the kid heard the pacifists preaching one day. The kid decided that was the life for him, so he ran away to join up with them. Mcaan came across a photo of Aqualad in some Atlantian newspaper(which I would assume isn't actually made of paper...) and since both his son and Aqualad had purple eyes, Mcaan figured his son had become Aqualad... Yeah, OK... Eventually Mcaan finds Aqualad and discovers that Aqualad isn't his son, and the two decide to hunt down the pacifist's city so Mcaan could reunite with his son. Upon arriving at the city, the duo were promptly captured by those rotten surface-dwellers. After Mcaan finishes his story, as if on cue, the leader of the evil surface-dwellers, Black Manta, arrives in the room to gloat. Manta knocks Aquaman around for a while, because Aquaman's hands are loosely tied by a simple rope, and that is apparently Aquaman's kryptonite. Eventually Aquaman tricks Manta into thinking he was dead and proceeds to escape from the room, leaving Aqualad and Mcaan to fend for themselves... Gee, thanks a lot Aquaman! Upon getting outside, Aquaman tries to summon some fish to help him, but once again, the fish try to attack Aquaman. Aquaman makes a run for it and is chased down by Black Manta riding a dolphin... Yes, a dolphin. Aquaman heads into a laboratory where the pacifists were being forced to put gills on Black Manta's men so they'd be able to breath underwater. Aquaman decides to use the medical laser on Manta, but Manta reveals that he has Aquaman's son prisoner, and that if Aquaman did any thing rash, his son would pay the price. Aquaman surrenders himself to Manta, and Manta proceeds to toss Aquaman and Aqualad into an arena where they were to fight to the death for Manta's amusement... You know, if I were Black Manta, I'd probably just kill the both of them and be done with it. I guess I just don't have Manta's flare for the dramatic... Manta shows Aquaman a remote control and explains to him that the remote was allowing him to erect a large force field around the arena which would prevent Aquaman and Aqualad from escaping... Now why would Manta tell them that? In order to raise the stakes higher, Manta places Aquababy in a plastic globe that was slowly filling with air, meaning Aquababy would suffocate unless Aquaman found a way to save his son within 5 minutes. Manta then tosses two tridents into the arena and demands the two heroes do battle. Aquaman, fearing for his son, immediately attacks Aqualad, drawing first blood and hurting Aqualad's feelings... Really! Anyway, the two battle for a while and Aquaman realizes that the reason he was unable to control the various sea creatures surrounding Manta was because they were all robots. Aquaman makes contact with Topo, Aquababy's pet octopus, and Topo attacks Manta, destroying his force field device, which allows Aquaman to shatter the globe Aquababy was being held in. Realizing the jig was up, Manta makes a run for it, but not before attempting to collapse a wall on a few of the pacifist Atlantians. Aquaman saves the pacifists, but that slight distraction allows Manta to make good his escape. After saving the pacifists, Aquaman heads back to the arena where he discovers that Aquababy wound up suffocating in the plastic globe while he and Aqualad battled... Wow, that's a pretty horrible way to die... Aquaman gives his son's dead body to Topo and tells the octopus to return home... Umm, shouldn't Aquaman be the one to deliver the awful news to his wife and Aquababy's mother, Mera, not some freaking octopus!?! Instead of returning home, Aquaman wants to chase after Manta and asks Aqualad to assist him. Aqualad flatly turns Aquaman down, stating that he was hurt that Aquaman had tried to kill him in the arena earlier, even though refusing to fight probably would have led to Manta killing Aquababy sooner. Aquaman gets pissed(and rightfully so!)and tells Aqualad that he'll hunt down Manta on his own, ending this issue.
Well, that sure wasn't a cheery comic book! Having a limited knowledge of Aqua-history, I knew Black Manta was responsible for the death of Aquaman's son, but I didn't know how it actually occurred until I read this issue. Jeez, how can you suffocate a little kid... What a piece of work Black Manta is... I actually wouldn't mind buying and reading whatever issue it is where Aquaman finally meets up with Black Manta again, because I can't figure out why Aquaman didn't rip Manta limb from limb upon finding him. I know I would have. Besides the Black Manta stuff, the way this issue ended with Aquaman and Aqualad really bothered me. Aquaman discovers that his only son is dead, and he decides to go after the party responsible for the heinous crime. He asks his longtime sidekick to help him out, and Aqualad say no?!? Really!?! What the HELL was that! Manta told the two to fight to the death, while Aquababy was his pawn. What the hell did Aqualad expect Aquaman to do, play patty-cake with him?! How Aqualad could turn his back on Aquaman after he lost his son is absolutely perplexing to me. And I thought Roy Harper was a lousy sidekick! At least Roy could blame the heroin for his actions, what the hell was Aqualad's excuse? Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading this this blast from the past as much as I enjoyed writing it. Since this is a RETRO Review, I feel I should close this post with a retro saying... Ah I know, Up, Up, and Away!
Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Yeah, I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the story I just reviewed, but come on, how couldn't I post this masterpiece!?!