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 #181 (October 1952) - The Evil King of the Sea!
Jim Hall is a champion swimmer who isn't making much money winning meets, so he takes up a new profession.
This is a short, sweet story that is actually very slight in plot, but it's hardly noticeable. The artwork is fantastic, to the point where it's never difficult to tell Jim from Aquaman even though they are wearing the same uniform and have the same color hair.
The islanders of the South Pacific island are a bit stereotyped, but they are also smart. In the brief exposition we get about them, we learn they are being relocated to another island (willingly, apparently) by the Coast Guard and are awaiting Aquaman, whom they've never met, to assist them.
In a single very odd panel, all the islanders except one are dressed in loincloths or dresses, the one being an out-of-place man wearing a brown suit and green hat!
Finny Friends Report: In order to convince the islanders that he's the real Aquaman, Jim Hall has a shark do a somersault, and an octopus become a merry-go-round. Aquaman is unable to get his finny friends to help because of chemical pills that drive off fish. So Aquaman calls seagulls down to remove the pills, then challenges Jim again. Jim has a whale do a dance, but Aquaman's finny friends rip the fake whale to pieces to show the bad guys inside.
Quotefile: Islanders, to Jim, "Forgive us for doubting you, Aquaman! But we couldn't afford to take chances, for our collection of coral is the most valuable in the whole world!" Jim, to himself, "You're telling me!"
Aqua-Exclamations: "Well, I'll be a splintered whalebone!" (at seeing the shark do a somersault).
Have you read this story? What do you think?