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 #205 (October 1954) - The Emperor of the Sea!
Aquaman's supremacy of the oceans is challenged by the mysterious Mr. Neptune, who claims to have the powers of the ancient god.
Finny Friends Report: Aquaman again rides his sea cow in this story. Aquaman calls in whales to get a ship off a reef, but Mr. Neptune pushes the ship off by himself. Aquaman brings a squad of fish to take out the criminals, but Mr. Neptune jumps into action and takes out the criminals instead. Aquaman's octopi jump in to hand the criminals to the police. A flying fish steals Mr. Neptune's trident, then an octopus manhandles him as Aquaman explains the whole story to the captain of the Marovian ship.
An oddity in the artwork, when Mr. Neptune describes his abilities (turtle shell to protect from bullets, electric eels to shock the criminals) the abilities are drawn on him. By the end of the story we learn that was artistic license, because he didn't actually use magic.
The manic look on Mr. Neptune's face when he finally shows his true colors is a thing of beauty. He really looks like a villain at that point. However, I could do without the scene of Aquaman holding the trident with Mr. Neptune in the background with a "if it weren't for those meddling kids" look on his face.
That trident would come in handy in Aquaman's line of work. If this story had shown up 20 years later, it would have become a major plot point and an ongoing item of power in the Aquaman stories.
Quotefile: Mr. Neptune, while flinging whales around on the splash page, "Begone, deposed monarch of the deep, and your silly subjects of the sea! I'm ruler of the deep now!"
Have you read this story? What do you think?