Story 1: The Menace of the Land-Sea Beasts
Doctor Cyrus Beard is delighted that his invention to turn land animals into sea beasts works, but is dismayed that once changed, the beasts turn savage. He explains the secret of his device to his assistant, Kirk, who says that Dr Beard is bound to become quite famous.
Weeks later, land beasts begin stampeding into the ocean, and turn into savage and violent sea beasts once there. They attack a ship, and Aquaman and Aqualad are called in. Aquaman discovers that he can't control the land beasts, so he brings in real fish to fight them. The ship is destroyed despite his best efforts, and he decides to try and salvage the cargo at least. But the ship is empty.
He learns that Dr Beard has been trying to reach him when he reports in on land. Dr Beard thinks his invention leaked or something, so Aquaman takes the ray to reverse the process. But it doesn't work, and another ship is lost.
But this time, Aquaman spots a strange clump of seaweed, and uncovers a submarine manned by none other than Kirk. Kirk attacks them, and they manage to get the sea beast to attack Kirk's ship. Recovering a working ray, they turn the land beasts back to normal, and turn Kirk over to the authorities. Beard swears to limit his research in the future.
Story 2: The Cosmic Gladiators!
Aquaman and Aqualad are lured into a trap by aliens, who put them into a cage full of water-being from many planets. They are afraid they are being taken to a cosmic zoo, as they are being towed by a spaceship.
As it turns out, they are being made into gladiators, and Aquaman manages to keep the other water-being from bickering. They make an escape by working together, and try to reach the spaceport. They are intercepted by the leader of the opposition to the tyrant who ordered the gladiatorial games.
Aquaman and company agree to start the revolution, and attack the imperial guards. One of the gladiators goes to warn the tyrant, in the hopes of winning his freedom, but Aquaman stops him. The revolution succeeds, and Aquaman and Aqualad are returned safely home.
Not an exciting cover, but intriguing. Aquaman being chased by a strange creature riding a sea horse that doesn't look quite right...
Ok, anybody who didn't see that Kirk was going to be the bad guy in the first story please raise your hand. You, in the back, go in for remedial Silver Age reading comprehension, please. The story was more interesting for the changes in the land beasts than for the plot, but we didn't get to see nearly enough of the changed animals for my satisfaction.
I wonder if Aquaman and Aqualad missed a few creatures? Wonder how many sea monkeys are wandering around...
The Menace of the Land-Sea Beasts was reprinted in World's Finest #228.
The aliens all have interesting water powers. Xuvia can grow scales over his entire body to protect him, Styz can boil or freeze the water around him. Myrot can control water, even from a great distance. Aqualad fears their chances against the three, which is part of the reason Aquaman convinces them to work together.
Shorts in this issue: One-page service announcement about the UN, a half-page "Homer" cartoon, and a one-page text piece on the "Strangest Denizens of the Deep".
Two decent stories, almost a bargain.