I read the third chapter (and only the third chapter) of this story in 1968 and I was hooked! Every once in a while DC drops a hint that they might be reprinting it, but nothing ever comes of those rumors. A couple of years ago I got tired of waiting for the story to be reprinted in its entirety, so I set abpout tracing down the individual chapters. I posted about my search then, but I’ve decided to post about Aquaman’s search in a little more depth (no pun intended) now. The story is written by Steve Skeates and drawn by Jim Aparo, who had recently taken over from long-time Aquaman artist Nick Cardy.

I know Aparo’s art from The Brave & The Bold in the ‘70s and Batman and the Outsiders in the 1980s (among other places). I only recently discovered he got his start drawing The Phantom and got the opportunity to read those stories when Hermes Press reprinted them a couple of years ago. His Phantom art looked pretty much like his Batman art, but his first few issues of Aquaman look quite a bit different. I would be willing to bet that, either by editorial direction or on his own, he was drawing a close to Nick Cardy’s style as he could (in much the same way John Romita imitated Steve Ditko when he first took over Spider-Man).

AQUAMAN #40:

As the story begins, Aquaman, Mera and Aqualad are separated by a mysterious, underwater “sea storm” which comes up from seemingly nowhere. Groggy, as if he were drugged, Aquaman sees Mera being abducted by three shadowy figures. He attempts to stop them, but is knocked unconscious by one who is wearing a ring with a five-side stone, and the search begins. Days out of Atlantis, Aquaman and Aqualad come across what on land would resemble a walled medieval village. It is shimmering as if it doesn’t truly exist in this dimension, and is ruled over by (can it be?) Mera.

They are attacked by the sorcerers who live there and Aqualad is wounded, forcing Aquaman to retreat back to Atlantis. Aquaman returns alone and must fight a sea monster sent against him by the sorcerers. Only then does he realize that the queen is not Mera after all and that he has wasted days of his search.

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ISSUE #47:

On their way back to Atlantis, Aquaman and Mera find Imp, Aqualad’s seahorse. In Atlantis, fearing banishment of execution for the conspirators, Aquagirl is against rebellion. The rebellion begins and Aquagirl is arrested, having been seen with Mupo. On a balcony overlooking the rioting mob, Narkran threatens Aquagirl at sword point. There is disagreement among the rebels concerning how to proceed. Aquagirl breaks free but is wounded and the fighting resumes. Mupo turns Aquagirls over to Vulko, then he confronts Narkron.

“Be sure to be with us next issue for a GIGANTIC UNDERSEA EARTHQUAKE… as we honestly tie up all the loose ends that are lying round.”

This issue’s chapter was only 16 pages long, rounded out by an “Aquaboy” reprint. My Silver Age LOC page “Rule of Two” is in effect as this issue’s letters page prints letters from Mark Gruenwald and Duffy Vohland.
ISSUE #48:

Okay, here’s the deal. When I was buying up these issues a few years ago, I couldn’t find an affordable copy of #48. I stopped at that point, reasoning that Aquaman found Mera back in #45, anyway, and that's the plot point I waited four decades to be resolved. But when I started this up again two weeks ago I made up my mind to find, buy and read a copy of #48. Then I learned that the whole arc is set to be reprinted in December, so I figured that’s not too much longer to wait, is it?

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