Adventure Comics #444
Title: And Death Before Dishonor
Cover Title: And Death Before Dishonor!
Cover Date: March-April 1976
Writer: Paul Levitz and Gerry Conway
Art: Jim Aparo
Editor: Joe Orlando
Cover: Jim Aparo
Cover Price: $0.30
Page Count: 17 pages
Aquaman returns to Atlantis to get Serum X, and learns that he is no longer king. He was trying to get Serum X to stop Orm, the Ocean Master, from destroying Monaco, but the new king, Karshon, refuses to help. Aquaman breaks into the arsenal, but doesn't take the serum. Instead he defeats Ocean Master and stops the threat with the timely assistance of Mera, only to learn that he's been accused of thievery by Karshon.
The cover has the new king, Karshon, and a giant shark attacking Aquaman. Throughout the story, Karshon hangs out with sharks.
When Aquaman returns to Atlantis, he goes first to the arsenal to get the serum, and thinks the guards are playing a practical joke on him. They can't stop him, but the door has been booby-trapped against his entry, and he is knocked out. When he wakes, he learns the truth. It's an effective way to tell the story. If you were reading Aquaman for the first time, you'd understand it because enough hints and details are given to explain the whole history as well as the current situation.
The art, as always, is simply incredible.
Ocean Master would have won... if Mera hadn't been driven out of Atlantis with her child because of Aquaman's betrayal. She arrives just in time to stop Orm's last missiles.
There is an extra page in this issue devoted to The Aquafamily. There are short bios of Aquaman, Aqualad (who is currently at school up on the surface), Mera, and Aquababy. Aquababy is still un-named.
Lots of fun 70s ad in this issue, including a Hostess ad featuring Captain Marvel. The letter column is all about the current Aquaman arc, and "H is for Holocaust" in particular.
Nice to have a full issue of Aquaman again.