Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ripples Through Time - 206

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 #282 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #282 (Mar 1961) - One Hour To Doom!

An ongoing effort to capture a smuggler turns into a lesson for Aqualad on how to survive on land with the one-hour limit.

Regular Supporting Cast: Aquaman, Aqualad, Topo

Aqua-Exclamations: Leaping Lantern Fish! Great Guppies! Holy Mackerel!

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman and Aqualad are repeatedly trapped in areas with little water, and eventually are captured and tied up by the smuggler.

Quotefile: Aquaman, "This will be an important experience for you, Aqualad! Whenever we're ashore, we're almost like fish out of water! So let's see how good you are at finding water in unlikely places!"

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman and Aqualad are riding an octopus (probably Topo) and dolphin. A porpoise holds marine scientists' mail for them until they surface in their diving bell. Swordfish shred the sails of the smugglers' boat. Topo and other octopi secure the smugglers. Whales form a landing strip for the airliner in distress. Dolphins pull the sea ambulance for the injured manta ray. Topo bandages the ray, then finger-squid interns set the broken fin. Aqualad rides a dolphin and witnesses the swordfish's accident. Topo sharpens the swordfish's sword. Flying fish return garbage to littering boaters. A swordfish punctures a speeder's gas tank. Electric eels shock fishermen trolling restricted waters. Fish report on the location of the stolen sub. Octopi divert and disarm the torpedoes. A legion of sea turtles act like magnetic mines to scare the sub to shore. Whales trap one of Rowe's smuggling ships.

Ancient typo, the word "thought" lost its final "t" in the last panel on page 3.

I'm not a fan of the one hour limit. In its first appearance, it kind of made sense. After an hour out of water, Aquaman began to lose strength, but he was still alive. His powers, derived from the sea, left him as he became dehydrated. In this story, Aquaman indicates that Atlanteans will drop dead after an hour with no water. Silly and stupid. In addition they repeatedly make it clear that just physical contact with a tiny amount of water can reset the clock. It's magical and it doesn't make any sense at all except as a crutch for lazy writers.

The one-hour limit has been mentioned several times since its debut, but this is one of the first times the rules of the limit are defined. Which isn't a surprise, as the entire story is about making those rules clear to the reader by making them clear to Aqualad. If the start of the one hour limit is Adventure Comics #256, this story is the one that writes it into stone for the rest of the Silver Age.

Have you read this story? What do you think?