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- No, Ronal. Forgive me. I am a cliche, rattling off my plans for all to hear and shattering your faith in me. But what is done is done.
Synopsis "...here there be Monsters" (20-pages)
Aqualad has returned to Atlantis with his friends Superboy and Miss Martian to find that racial tension is mounting in the capital Poseidonis. A hooded group called the Purists have been attacking Atlanteans that do not conform to the normal human body type (people with gills, mermaid tails, or fish/whale/squid-hybrid bodies). Unknown to them, the Purists are led by the Ocean-Master, the villainous secret identity of Prince Orm, Aquaman’s brother. While Aquaman is away, the Purists and the Ocean-Master break into the Royal Palace and confront Queen Mera in her bed chamber.
Aqualad and his friends are just settling down to sleep then he receives a magical summons from Queen Mera. They arrive at her chambers in time to see Ocean-Master and the Purists carrying her unconscious body away. Aqualad gives pursuit, but once outside the Palace Ocean-Master is clear of its magical wards and stuns them unconscious with Neptune’s trident. Aqualad awakens to find the worried Prince Orm standing over him. Orm tells them that his sources have told him that there are two possible locations where the Purists could have taken Queen Mera – Old Roman’s Trench and S’atiorman Cave. He and a few loyal guards will go the Cave while Aqualad and his friends investigate the Trench.
Aqualad and this friends descend into Old Roman’s Trench only to discover that they have swam into a Purist trap. However, Aqualad did not entirely trust Prince Orm’s sources so he asked his friends from the Conservatory of Sorcery to come along as back-up. Together they make short work of the Purists, even if Lori Lemaris has to stop King Nanaue Sha’ark from eating one of the Purists. Queen Mera is actually being held in S’atiorman Cave. The Ocean-Master drains her life-force to feed his own powers. He then casts a spell which causes intense pain to the “impure” magic users and allows the Purists to rally against them. Only Topo’s timely intervention saves the heroes.
Meanwhile in his laboratory in Teton County, T.O. Morrow cuts away the skin from Jim Lockhart and the body of Danette Reilly to reveal two androids, the Red Torpedo and the Red Inferno, hidden inside.
Back in Atlantis, Aqualad has allowed one of the Purists to escape and has Miss Martian follow him invisibly. She telepathically broadcasts the location of S’atiorman Cave back to him. The Purist that they allowed to escape was Ronad. He over hears the Ocean-Master gloat to Queen Mera that his intention all along was to trigger a civil war between the human-like City States and the others with “fish-head” majorities. Ronal is furious that he’s been tricked into betraying the King and attacks the villain, he is joined by Miss Martian, and then Aqualad’s allies. The Ocean-Master holds his own, but the addition of Garth’s Tempest attack convinces him to flee. Later, King Orin (Aquaman) thanks them for defending the Queen. Prince Orm tells them that there will be a full investigation into the affair, but nobody suspects that he was secretly the mastermind behind it.
- Atlantean sleep in pods. The Royal Palace is protected by wards which prevent all but defensive spells.
The conclusion of this two part tale sees Aqualad and his friends defeat the Purists, but they are unable to prevent the escape of the Ocean-Master. In my opinion the original comic-book Ocean-Master is a pretty lame villain. He was always too petty, too two-dimensional to become as compelling a villain as Black Manta did. It was probably the Justice League cartoon which managed to tell the best Ocean-Master story by just focusing on him as Prince Orm. Wisely then, Young Justice takes a middle route with Prince Orm in place at the Palace while secretly masquerading as the Ocean-Master. Its a novel split, but you have to wonder how long it will be before he pushes his luck too far.
Everything works well, the action is well staged and there is a nice attention to detail along the way. However, I can’t help feeling that everything is a little compressed. Another issue would have allowed more room for exploration of the large cast – maybe more La’gaan or more on the post-adventure wrap-up with Aquaman. I increasingly like Christopher Jones artwork, he has a knack for getting just the right amount of detail into a scene. You can easily identify characters, their emotions, and continuing details without those featuring becoming lost in a sea of excess lines. Some other artists try for the same amount of economy, but lose the storytelling fundamentals in their drive for style.
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Page 1. Superboy doesn’t like calling the Atlantean Sleeping Capsules “Pods” as Cadmus use to keep him in a “Pod” before he was rescued by Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Robin.
I don’t speak ancient Greek, but these phrases are fairly simple (given a bit of machine translation).
- Transliterated: Anassa Mera!
- Approximate English: Queen Mera!
- Transliterated: Kaldur! Se eco anagke!
- Approximate English: Kaldur! I need you!
The translation I got was: I have a need, but I need you is probably closer to the context. I expect young Kaldur is quite use to visions of his half-naked Queen screaming that she needs him.
Page 5. We of course now know that Prince Orm is really the Ocean-Master. The blond-haired guard in the scene was revealed as a Purist during the last few pages of last issue.
Page 6 and 7. Old Roman’s Trench and S’atiroman Cave. Nope. I’ve got nothing on these — nothing I can print on a family website anyhow.
Page 10. Another ancient Greek quote from the Ocean-Master:
- Transliterated: ekkathariste migades kai akatharta
- Approximate English: Cleanse the impure and the dirty!
Page 14. Danette Reilly and Jim Lockhart’s true forms revealed. They’ll show up again in “Homefront”.
Page 16. Ocean-Master feels that somebody is trying to rip his Trident away. There was a DCU crossover where a load of second string villains sold their souls to a demon in exchange for enhanced powers. Ocean-Master was one of these and gained a powerful trident as a weapon, the downside was that he was racked with incredible pain should be ever be parted from the Trident.
Page 18. Miss Martian breathes air into Superboy. This looks like a kiss, but I suppose it isn’t technically. This is set a week before the Big Kiss in “Terrors”. Other things to notice on this page: Ocean-Master uses the octopus spell that Mera used in “Downtime” and Gareth uses the Tempest spell from that episode.
Page 20. The line about starting High School is a reference to the episode “Targets”. Notice that Miss Martian has gone all bashful after spending heaven knows how long lip-locked with Superboy to keep him breathing.