Thursday, July 15, 2010

JLApe part three: Aquaman Annual #5, "20,000 Apes Under the Sea!"


The individual chapters of JLApe came out weekly, and some of these annuals may have figured not everyone is going to read the whole event; so they needed a recap. The recaps lose something when you read the whole set in one sitting, but I can see why they were there.

This time around, the gorilla Admiral Trafalgo and the sub Kong are on their way to Atlantis, to get the macguffin Eye of Poseidon, for their little ape master plan. Even apeified, Aquaman is still King of Atlantis, and he won't let that stand.

The apes attack Atlantis with their ape-rays, turning many of the rank-and-file citizens into water-breathing gorillas loyal to the cause. Mera, currently estranged from Aquaman but leading the palace guard, is able to block the rays with her hard-water powers, but Tempest and Vulko are turned into "sea-monkeys." Look, she said it, I didn't.
Anything that goes 'Bwomp!' is just cool.
Arthur arrives on a whale, and starts taking it to the Kong, then the unfortunate whale is apeified. (It can still breathe underwater, but that can't be...comfortable.) Trafalgo's crew cheers, but he states he's merely doing his duty; he doesn't want to mess with the whales. Arthur then saves Mera. For himself.

He's not just king of the sea, Arthur is also prime ape! In establishing his dominance by claiming Mera, Tempest challenges him...because that's what apes do in DC Comics, that's why. They sure as hell can't fling poop at each other...and I don't know how that would work underwater anyway. It is kind of weird that they're basically fighting over Mera, when Tempest's knocked-up girlfriend (wife?) Dolphin is right there. Dol and Mera break up the fight, before they and Aquaman are forced to flee, leaving the dazed Tempest behind.
Why did Mera shed her dress?
While the heroes regroup at the old Aquacave, Trafalgo kills an Atlantean as an example, forcing Tempest to get the Eye, a giant emerald-thing. Aquaman arrives with the trident of Poseidon as "a symbol of my office," and rallies Tempest and the citizens. Playing a hunch, Arthur channels the power of the trident, through the eye--a guess, since the apes planned on using it for a big ape-making ray--and restores himself and the Atlanteans to normal. It even turns the apes that were outside the ship into Atlanteans! Arthur welcomes his new citizens, before attacking the Kong again.

Trafalgo is forced to electrify the ship's hull, then retreat. Aquaman gives Mera the trident, then takes off after them. And now I'm wondering if that whale-ape was returned to normal, or if it's still floundering around down there, trying to stuff krill in its head-holes...

There are some things about Aquaman comics (or Namor the Sub-Mariner, or any underwater story) that are going to be dicey as a given: unless there's some in-story reason for it, for example, wouldn't the bottom of the sea or an underwater city like Atlantis be dark as hell? But this issue has a big one: apes, particularly gorillas, can't swim! I had to look that up, since I vaguely recalled it from a Planet of the Apes movie. (Possibly the terrible remake?) Now, I can buy Aqua-ape being OK under the water, but submersion would have to be fundamentally terrifying for even intelligent apes. 'Sea-monkeys' indeed.

Today's scans from "20,000 Apes Under the Sea!" Written by John Ostrander, 'delineated' by M.D. Bright, 'made legible' by Dick Giordano. So far, I think this is the best chapter of JLApe! Will it keep that position against next week's installment, Wonder Woman Annual #8?

Yeah. Yeah, it will. See you then!

1 comment:

Wings said...

Was definitely a weird tie-in series.