Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ripples Through Time - 184

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 #261 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #261 (June 1959) - Aquaman Duels The Animal-Master!

Gustave the Great, an animal trainer, vows revenge after Aquaman stops his getaway after a daring robbery.

Glove Color: Yellow.

Regular Supporting Cast: none. Although an octopus appears, Aquaman does not ride it nor call it Topo, so I call generic on it.

Quotefile: Aquaman, "You're wasting your breath, Gustave. That buffalo won't listen to you! Only to me! I gave him a telepathic order to tilt the raft!"

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides a whale. Aquaman swims up the whale spout to attack Gustave. The whale takes the stolen money sacks back to port. Aquaman says he will summon giant squid to keep a plane afloat until help arrives, but the action happens 'off-camera'. A year later, Aquaman gets Gustave's phony SOS messages from an octopus, an eel, a swordfish, and a flying fish. Electric eels attack the gorilla without direct orders from Aquaman. Luminous fish beam a light into the elephant's eyes to spook it away from Aquaman. The octopus goes up against a lion and manages to muzzle it completely. A swordfish battles Gustave and wins the swordplay. Aquaman orders the water buffalo that Gustave had trained to dump the bombs, and Aquaman punches out Gustave. Flying fish carry Gustave to jail.

Aquaman specifically refers to his power as telepathy in this story. He also claims dominion over all water animals, including those that just spend time in the water. Animals do not have to breathe water for Aquaman to control them. This idea is later taken much further, as later writers will suggest that Aquaman's abilities are full telepathy with a block that prevents him from controlling land animals... but that's off in the future.

Fradon's art on this one is just wonderful. There are some fantastic action shots, particularly the last panel on page two. While the story itself is fairly silly, the animals are well-drawn and Aquaman has some great poses. I particularly like Ramona's cats.

Aquaman stutters at the start of every thought and speech balloon on page five. As a bonus, he stutters twice in the only speech balloon.

Like the last story, this story can be found in the excellent reprint volumes currently in print from DC. I checked my library system and found that they have the Showcase, so if you live near a library you might see if they carry it too.

Have you read this story? What do you think?