Aquaman Rocks the Gold Shirt

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL #2, DC Comics, 1984
So before you tell me that, ok, Aquaman rocks today, but he used to suck solid ass, I will show you an example of "classic Aquaman" rocking my world. Justice League of America Annual #2 is, after all, the comic in which Aquaman destroys the Justice League single-handed!

You heard me. The story occurs after a major space battle with Martian forces has destroyed the JLA's satellite headquarters. Aquaman is understandably peeved because all the team's big guns, like Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman were too busy with their petty little lives (read: they had their own comics) to give a rat's ass about this particular adventure and just didn't show up.

In a classic scene, he goes to the United Nations (which has chartered the League despite its imperialistic americano-centric name) and does this:
Firestorm gets in his face about it, with a big "I'm an American and I want a vote", but the King of the Seven Seas is totally in the right in doing this, constitutionally-speaking, as one of the seven original members of the League, and the only one present. The DC Universe's premiere superhero team, and he just kills it outright. That's one big middle finger to all the big boys who think they can just show up to meetings when it suits them. "Look at me, I'm Batman, I can't come to the meeting 'cuz Gotham is one big crime-ridden cesspool, boo hoo!" You gotta lotta guts, Aquaman.

But it's not the end for the League. Aquaman says that if you want to be in the JLA, you've gotta be ready to live and train with the team 24/7. That's just the way it is. He drums out all the members who actually have a life (plus Red Tornado, who only leaves because some editor correctly pointed out that he was extremely lame) and keeps only the most committed. That includes the Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, and Zatanna (Aquaman doesn't make her pee in a cup, so he's not fussy about her drug habit.)

To be honest, this isn't a great new beginning for the Justice League as they move to a warehouse HQ in Detroit and take on four new members that suck even more ass than Red Tornado did. Except Vixen. Vixen's cool. Here's how she joins the League, and I'm only really showing it because it shows Aquaman doing more than just talking to fish or UN ambassadors:
See that? He's more than a one-trick seahorse! And that was a metal door, in case you weren't paying attention. The JLA definitely needs a respected leader like him, what with the Martian Manhunter going around peeping at chicks in the shower. P.R. disaster in the making, that guy.

The rest of the book isn't all that inspiring (except Zatanna in her teddy flirting with the new HQ's tech guy - meeeeow!). Basically, a couple of the neighborhood kids have powers and they join against Aquaman's better judgment, and writer Gerry Conway sets up a couple of ridiculous romances. (Since I mention Conway here, I should really say that I've always been a fan of artist Chuck Patton's very clean, old school style.) So the Justice League's on a downward spiral, but don't worry, Aquaman's gonna smell the rotting fish and leave before long.

Not quite "Hot", but at least...

9 comments:

Jon H said...

Towel lady immediately began singing "It's phasing men!"

jayunderscorezero said...

I'm not entirely sure if this is meant to be tongue in cheek or not. Are you essentially championing the Detroit-era League? I thought that was Scipio's job.

Also, Aquaman's cool, I'll admit, but I'm so glad he didn't stick with that bastard, not-quite-the-old-look-and-not-quite-the-new-look, partially-complete-makeover costume he's sporting in the Lobo crossover below.

rob! said...

Aquaman's ability to dismantle the JLA because he was a founding member makes him a JLA Superdelegate.

FoldedSoup said...

Good Lord, you actually made me want to reread that 'start of the dreg!'

Siskoid said...

Jay: The Detroit League's coolness is entirely due to Aquaman's presence.

Soup: Please feel free to consider the "end of the satellite era" if it makes you feel better about it. That's what I do.

De said...

Bob Ingersoll mentioned this in a column many many years ago and cites the JLA Charter that appeared in Amazing World of DC Comics #14. According to the bylaws established, the JLA can only be disbanded by a unanimous vote of all active members -- not just all present founding members.

You can check out the article here.

Teebore said...

Also, you're entirely correct e.g. Red Tornado's lameness.

SallyP said...

Oh my God! Look...Vixen is black! Who knew?

Siskoid said...

Thanks for the link De!

I guess no one read the constitution or else they'd call bullshit on Aquaman!

 

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