Ripples Through Time - 024
Aquaman assists a group of Chinese guerrillas working to drive the invading Japanese out of their land.
This is one of those fairly rare Aquaman stories that is so offensive in its stereotypes that I find it difficult to read. Oh, the Chinese are strong and smart and brave, but they speak broken English. The Japanese are horrible caricatures of people, with extreme features and broken English that attempts to be pointedly polite and formal. It's a good primer on what kind of propaganda was being spread at the time, but it's difficult to read from a modern viewpoint without cringing. A lot. I'll note that the stereotypes of the Nazis and Japanese throughout these early stories are all offensive, but this one goes a bit beyond the usual, in my opinion.
If you can't tell what's happening on that splash page: Aquaman is dumping out a ship full of weapons and planes and such which the guerrillas are rushing to collect. In the lower left corner, a Chinese guerrilla is pulling a Superman by lifting a tank and dumping the Japanese soldiers out of it... Aquaman's domain is the waters of the entire globe, which is why he swims up the Yangtze in this story (and the Mississippi a few stories ago)... When the Japanese catch Aquaman they refer to him as a famous American... Aquaman marches all night with the guerrillas, for hours, without water. Another sign that he didn't have any one-hour weakness... Aquaman sort of explains the concept of breaking step when marching over a bridge so you don't cause it to collapse. Good physics lesson here... Aquaman goes undercover twice in this tale, once as a guerilla when he joins their troop, and once as a regular Chinese loading ammo onto a ship... When captured in Chinese disguise, he begs the Japanese not to throw him in the water because he'll drown. Naturally, the Japanese throw him in the water... The artist didn't know the difference between a rudder and a propeller. Aquaman talks about damaging the rudder while the art shows him damaging a propeller.
Finny Friends Report: Aquaman has a group of river fish pull on ropes to cause a vibration in a bridge that brings it down. Later, a group of river fish pull pieces of wood dressed as guerrillas so the Japanese will waste their ammunition.
Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is caught in a steel net as he swims up the Yangtze. Later he is caught while in disguise as a Chinese worker by Japanese soldiers with guns.
Quotefile: Guerrilla soldier: "This is Aquaman! I recognize by pictures! Hello, Aquaman!"... Guerrilla soldier, bopping enemy on head: "We bow respectfully to new order in Asia!"
Have you read this story? What do you think?