AQUAMAN #4, DC Comics, December 1994
People often ask me, "why do you like Aquaman so much... or at all?" A dumb, foolish question, but they ask it. Quite simply put, people, AQUAMAN ROCKS and you don't know it! That's why I'm embarking on a "Why Aquaman Rocks" week. I will show you the error of your ways, heathens!
One way to tell if a superhero rocks is if he can win fights against tougher opponents. "Yes," you say, "but he still talks to the fish!" You say that as if it's lame. So let's take a look at Aquaman #4 by Peter David, Martin Egeland and Howard M. Shum, where he not only fights the meanest bastich of them all, but also makes talking to the fish cool.
So to give you folks a little context, this is only a couple of issues after Aquaman gets his hand eaten by piranhas and replaces it with a harpoon. No pain killers either. That's not Aquaman's way. And he's looking for Porm, a dolphin that helped raise him (she calls him her "swimmer"). She's been captured by Japanese fishermen and sold to Japanese scientists for study.
Enter Lobo. Lobo is a combination of all of Marvel Comics' antiheroes (Wolverine, Punisher, Ghost Rider) without the conscience. He's a frickin' parody of the type and unkillable to boot. This is how he's introduced in the book, as he nicks the side of a space bus:
That is cold. Ironically so. But what's his connection to Aquaman? Lobo's got one tender place in his black, black heart, you see. He tends to a flock of space dolphins. (I know I'm not helping my case about this comic, but bear with me.) Anyway, one of them's fallen to Earth, and now it's in the same facility as Aquaman's Porm. Meanwhile, the King of the 7 Seas is helping some sharks get out of a trawler's net. In Peter David's oceans, fish are fun (or at least funny) to talk to:
It's a superhero comic, so the two stars fight for a while before realizing they're on the same side.
Lobo's handed Superman his ass, but Aquaman fights him to a standstill here. That takes some rather large oysters, if you ask me. The dolphins are freed and Lobo blows up the fishermen's boat before heading out. The ship's captain survives to face Aquaman's wrath. It's worth showing you the entire page:
Now that is literally cold. Ocean depth cold. What kind of good guy is Aquaman?!? Answer: One that ROCKS!* More ocean justice tomorrow, folks!
*After reading Aquaman's Showcase Presents, I don't actually condone Aquaman killing or letting his finny friend kill. But if he's gonna be an anti-hero for the 1990s, he gonna do it right.