Friday, March 16, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 103

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #179 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #179 (August 1952) - The Raft of Doom!

Five men, sailing on a primitive raft to prove a migration theory, are attacked by criminals intent on stopping their voyage.

Can you say Kon-Tiki? Thor Heyerdahl's famous journey took place in 1947, the documentary of the voyage was awarded an Academy Award for 1951... in early 1952. This story came out in August of 1952. Hmmmm... wonder if there's any relation?

I was fascinated by Kon-Tiki as a child, so this story hit a special spot in my heart. Sadly, the plot isn't terribly good. It's almost as if someone said, "Hey, let's do a story about those guys in the primitive boat!" then figured that would be enough. The bad guys seem partly tacked-on and pretty lame, and Aquaman figures out their whole motive without any hints in the story itself. Nice artwork, yes, but not the best Aquaman tale.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman attaches the raft to some porpoises to pull it into a mist so that the criminals cannot find them. When Aquaman decides to help them over the reef, a group of whales gather and create a giant wave that carries them across. After Aquaman learns they lost their sails going over the reef, he has two manta rays hook up to the mast to become improvised sails. When the raft is attacked by a submarine, Aquaman has whales create a "smoke screen" of spouted vapor to block the view, then as he covers their periscope he orders octopus to surround the sub and "emit an inky black substance". Whales, turtles, and a sea cow tow the submarine to land.

Quotefile: Daily Herald reports on the voyage:
Scientists plan 3,000 mile raft voyage! Hope to prove ancient migration theory!

Five plucky men will set out in a raft today and let the ocean currents carry them into the vast Pacific. Their object is to prove that certain natives from the mainland performed this same feat hundreds of years ago and thus settled on remote faraway islands...
Have you read this story? What do you think?