Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 152

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 #229 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #229 (October 1956) - Aquaman's Undersea Partner

Inspired by the horses of some Mounties, Aquaman decides to choose a partner from the creatures of the sea to assist him regularly.

Quotefile: Aquaman, "It's certainly going to be tough deciding which of the three fish should be my permanent assistant!"

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Catfish!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo

Finny Friends Report: The fish in contention are an octopus, a swordfish, and a whale. Aquaman rides the octopus to the ship of the fleeing crooks, which is racing past a steamship near an iceberg. The octopus flings Aquaman onto the crooks' ship, then vanishes. Aquaman spots him moments later on the propeller of the steam ship. Aquaman turns the two captured crooks over to the octopus to take to the Mounties, then summons the swordfish. He rides the swordfish after the crooks' ship. The swordfish punches holes in the rudder to disable the ship. Aquaman sends the swordfish off with one of the captured crooks. The whale sends a spout to the ship, which Aquaman rides, then sends another spout when Aquaman is in danger... which Aquaman swims up to safety. The whale also knocks out a couple of thugs with a blast. The whale then pushes the crooks' boat back to shore.

The twist in the tale comes when we learn that the octopus did not get tangled in the propeller of the steam ship, as Aquaman assumed, but instead realized the ship was in danger and acted as the propeller to drive it away from the iceberg. When Aquaman finds out the facts, that cinches the decision for him, and the octopus becomes his new partner.

And with this story, the Silver Age of Aquaman begins! At least by my reckoning, and by the same reasoning by Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics. This story marks the first regular appearance of a standard Silver Age character, Topo the Octopus. He isn't actually named in this tale, but it's undeniably Topo. It could be argued that Topo appeared before, as Aquaman says, "You've always been one of my most valuable helpers, octopus", but this is when Topo actually becomes a part of the official cast. From here on out, if Aquaman rides an octopus, it's Topo. The Golden Age Aquaman had a sea cow that he rode... from here on out... it's Topo.

To strengthen the argument that this is the start of Aquaman's Silver Age, another development takes place in the next story which is unique to the later version of Aquaman. I'll make a point of it, in tomorrow's Ripples.

Have you read this story? What do you think?