DC Comics (October, 1994)
“A Crash Of Symbols”
WRITER: Peter David
PENCILER: Martin Egeland
INKERS: Brad Vancata & Howard M. Shum
COLORIST: Tom McCraw
LETTERER: Dan Nakrosis
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Eddie Berganza
EDITOR: Kevin Dooley
The injured Aquaman and Aqualad (after events of the second issue) are brought to Atlantis by Dolphin. Garth recovers and gives Dolphin a tour of the city while Aquaman has nightmares, of Dolphin ripping out his heart, Mera marrying Black Manta, not saving a dolphin (the animal, not the girl) named Drin although he did once, and finally being eaten by Nuliajuk, mother of sea beasts (I have no idea who she is) before being drawn out by Aquaman’s father, the wizard Atlan, who Aquaman has problems with. Back in reality, a group of fish and other sea creatures carry Aquaman to the Aquacave, where Aqualad and Dolphin follow. There Aquaman talks about wanting a symbol like Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern. He has taken the harpoon that he stopped from killing the real Drin and fastened it where his missing left hand was, thus connecting him to both the sea and the land.
What they got right: I did like the kid’s story about how he bumped into Aquaman and got angry before realizing he bumped into the King. To keep the kid from running around Vulko tricks the kid into thinking the penalty for hitting and insulting the king was death, with Aquaman giving him a reprieve as long as he watches where he’s going. Dolphin may not get the joke but I did.
What they got wrong: Outside of a throwaway line by Black Manta, at what point did Aquaman decide he needed a symbol? And isn’t the “A” on his belt his version of Superman’s “S” or Batman’s logo? This was just a poor attempt on DC’s part to make Aquaman edgier, a common curse of the 90s that got replaced by the darker origins of today (although I hear Rebirth has taken care of at least some of that). It was a stupid idea that only the Justice League cartoon from the 200os made work, sort of. You also see the problem with all the #0s that came out of Zero Hour since there’s nothing here that wouldn’t have happened had THIS been issue #3.
Recommendation: Outside of being an (allegedly) important event in Aquaman’s history, there’s nothing really here for me to recommend.