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
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.