B&B 2-in-1 Round 16: Aquaman vs. Son of Satan

Losing 5 to 10 to Batman, Ben Grimm has never so needed Bill Mantlo. So he's back! Watch the sparks fly in Round 16!

In the black corner... we've got Batman and Aquaman, written by Bob Haney and drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, Brave and the Bold #82, The Sleepwalker from the Sea!

In the orange corner... it's the Thing and Son of Satan written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Herb Trimpe and John Tartag, Marvel Two-in-One #14, Ghost Town!

Ask not for whom the bell goes DING DING DING! It does for thee!

The Stars
Bob Haney is the king of the "previously unknown back story", so you shouldn't be surprised to find out Bruce Wayne is about to spill the beans about his costume fetish to hot model Ailsa Dubois, while simultaneously playing being the back of goodie girlfriend Honor (that's her actual name). It's a classic case of Betty and Veronica, as Ailsa will turn out to be eeeeeeevil. When it comes to relationships, Brucie's a bit pathetic really.
Then when he's jilted, he' s all "It was all a game to get my money. You don't care a bit about me!" and she's all "There's something else in my bag!" and then Batman gets thrown off a building by a girl. A girl who leaves him for a "real man", the Ocean Master! (Only in the Haneyverse, folks!) Bats does win points for staging a dream for the unhinged Aquaman. It's a nonsense sequence that succeeds by virtue of Neal Adams' art (with thanks to the Comic Treadmill for the color scans):
And in the "fight fire with fire" column, Batman throws ink into an aquarium to stop a giant squid. +2 bat-points

Can the Thing do better? It's New Year's Eve and since it's the holidays, Reed sends Ben to the American southwest to investigates mystic phenomena. It's a tradition apparently. He's stoked to see a real live western ghost town, as if that wasn't wear the action took place in Round 1. The adventure's a pretty standard runaround for him, with the guest star doing all of the exposition and most of the work, oh and he gets possessed for a little bit. But he's Ben Grimm, so he talks about getting a drink, about naked chicks, and then reads a comic to his blind girlfriend.
See? Heart of gold. Bonus points for not giving Reed any candy. +4 points

The Guests
Aquaman's one of my favorite characters, but he's really more of a victim here. His evil brother has snookered him into thinking that he killed a man and he's having a mental breakdown. Enough so that he's helping Orm since now they're both killers. He's clearly not thinking straight. I mean, he lets his brother keep him in a closet like some kind of Superman Robot.
He's still loyal to his JLA friends though, and even after he knocks Batman out, he has his finny friends save him from drowning on the sly. And you have to respect his sense of honor as he refuses that any harm come to his little brother no matter his crimes. Aww, sweet. +3 bat-points

Ben Grimm, for his part, gets help from Daimon Hellstrom (yes, that's his real name), aka the Son of Satan (Marvel Comics: Our address isn't 666, but we try harder.) He's got a magic pitchfork and the power of exposition needed to explain the villain's background. But hey, he's pretty hardcore with that pitchfork:
+2 points

The Villains
It's a well-known fact that the Ocean Master is a pantywaist. Sadly, Aquaman really only has one badass enemy, and that's Black Manta. Everyone else is either forgettable or a laughable loser. His evil brother Orm is perhaps borderline, but the goldfish helmet alone brings down his badass rating. Haney evidently loves him though, because he's so studly here, he can steal a girl from Batman's arms. Even after he leaves her to rot in jail, she claims it was the best time of her life. Between that and the way he manipulates Arthur, it's like he got some kind of charisma implant. How charismatic is he? He's even turned a tankful of Aquaman's finny friend into FINNY FOES!!!
It's Ocean MASTER, bitch. +7 bat-points

Ben and Satan Jr. fight the ghost of a hanged outlaw called Jed Ravenstorm (yes, that's his real name). Aside from the usual tricks like riding in on a twister, appearing and disappearing, and possessing the Thing, he scores big by hanging the two stars by his shoelaces.
But wait! There's a twist! Jed Ravenstorm is really... a Skrull! NO! I mean, he's Kthara, Mother of Demons! (Who may herself be a Skrull, who the f--- knows anymore.) She's an old foe come to screw with Hellstrom, but once released, she gets destroyed by all the souls Ravenwind had killed. Check out the ectoplasmic beheading action near the top:
Why do they do this? Mantlo, that's why. +8 points

Odds vs. Ends
From Brave and the Bold:
-More emo soap opera:
Poor Honor. And she had her Mera impression down pat. -1 bat-point
-Deus ex machina alert: The GCPD come in and bust the fish tank open. But at least they're part of the Batman mythos, and I have to give the boys in blue their due. +1 bat-point

From Marvel Two-in-One:
-Deus ex machinae abound! How does Ben get unpossessed? Ghost gets bored because it's "too easy". How do they get out of the lynching? Hellstrom stops believing he's a ghost. And the demon is defeated by a third party. -3 points

Farewells and Scoring
Aquaman thanks Batman for everything and in return, Bats lets him escape from the GCPD.
It's not a hug or anything (which seems to be what the Commish is into), but it'll do. +1 bat-point

Ben's Unfriendly Farewell is much clearer.
Ben sees the GIST of your ACT, and he doesn't NEED it. The Son of Satan doesn't even dignify that with a response. +3 points

Thanks to fortuitous plot twists, both combatants are still standing. We'll need a decision from the judges... Here we go: Aquaman 13, Son of Satan 14! Fire boils water! By a very narrow margin, the Thing starts to crawl back up, but it's still 10 to 6 for Batman!

BONUS: Learn Magic the Marvel Way

Here's a fun little spell to release someone from possession. It's easy!
Join us next time when we might just teach you how to possess someone in the first place!


rob! said...

IT'S A FIX, I TELLS YA! Aquaman can defeat that whiny S.O.S!

interesting aside--the main plot point of every single Aquaman/Batman team-up in B&B (#'s 82, 144, and 142) is Aquaman turning on Batman in some way!

FoldedSoup said...

Bah! I'm still waiting for an actual Haney vs. Mantlo throwdown!

The universe could collapse from the sheer awesomeness!

Siskoid said...

Rob: I think the battle was won by virtue of the villains this time around. ;-)

And yes, I have one of those other issues of B&B, and the same thing happens there. I guess those two just weren't meant to be friends.

H said...

What!?!?! No point for the use of the Whirly Bat in Brave & Bold? I'd plan a protest outside the Blog of Geekery headquarters, but I'm so happy to see the return of this feature that I'll let you slide this time.

Siskoid said...

Sorry H, once Batman trotted out the Whirly, Ben started strategizing against it. Unless he does something new and exciting with it... I'm afraid he won't get more points.

That said, I feel your pain guys! Aquaman should NEVER have lost that contest.


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