Displacement activities, they’re something we all find useful from time to time. If I can’t stomach vacuuming the floor, I’ll go to the shop for cheese. You can never have enough cheese (well, unless it’s goats’ cheese, but you can pass that on to the ladies).
And if Aquaman can’t face helping right-hand man Vulko with paperwork – the ‘quarterly estimates of plankton production’ – he finds a quest that needs embarking on. This issue he has Batman at his side as he tracks down the Amulet of Arion in a bid to help ghostly pirate Captain Fear find eternal peace.
Longtime readers will recognise two names there from DC’s long and storied past. The kids this book is primarily aimed at won’t, and it doesn’t matter a hoot. Writer Sholly Fisch (what a perfect name for an Aquaman fan) provides brief introductions to both characters, leaving our Brave and Bold heroes to get on with fighting sea monsters, sirens, supervillains and more (click to enlarge images).
This is a typically packed one-issue-wonder, giving us plenty of plot and a gaggle of gags. Batman is the straight man to Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas and a Million Boasts, but he has his moments, especially when the gadget-filled Bat-Sled is to hand. ‘Under the Sea’ is a ton more imaginative than the Batman and Aquaman team-ups I read as a kid, and wonderfully illustrated by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis, who squeeze every ounce of entertainment from the script. They get the TV Aquaman spot on – not the super-serious Arthur Curry of DC’s regular line, and not, thank the Lord, the murderous Emperor Aquaman currently to be seen in the Flashpoint event, but the good-hearted, graceful he-man who lives for adventure.
Supervillains Black Manta and the Fisherman are good value, and the former brings extra value, appearing alongside Ocean Master in a second story.
You guessed it – the spirit of Hostess cakes is alive and well and squeezed into a sandwich from Subway, ‘the official training restaurant of … athletes everywhere’. But while Hostess was happy to sell their sugar in a single page, Subway pays for a six-page team up between some real-life American footballers and the JLA. Honestly, every DC book should be carrying this lunatic short, rather than the long, intrusive insert for some Steven Spielberg film featuring a dog (you may get the impression I’ve not bothered reading it, and you’d not be wrong).
I mention this for curiosity value alone. Not as a displacement activity. Honest.