In Atlantis, Vulko's serum is turning the people back into water-breathers. Tula is growing increasingly worried about Narkran, and goes to ask Aqualad for help. When she gets there, the doctors explain that they wouldn't let her in before because Aqualad was amnesiac and violent, trying to go help Aquaman with the sorcerers. They take her to him, only to find that he is gone!
Aqualad, meanwhile, is trying to find the colony of the sorcerers, so he can free Mera and help Aquaman. He doesn't know that the queen of the sorcerers was only a Mera lookalike, and that Aquaman escaped from them. He can't even remember Aquaman's visit to him before he left for the land of the Maarzons. He goes to where he remembers to the sorcerers as being, but can't find the city.
Confused, he wanders, trying to understand where they had gone. As he wanders, he's attacked by scaled purple men, who trap him in a net and carry him off.
Aquaman, meanwhile, finds a whirlpool that reminds him of the one that took Mera. He swims into the cave it hides, only to be suddenly hit by major pressure. He blacks out for a moment, and when his body adjusts he finds that he's in a land of giants. The giants aren't moving, but he's sure they are alive. As he swims around exploring, his arm (injured by Black Manta) getting worse, he spots a surfacer in diving gear. He passes out as the surfacer moves towards him.
Aquaman wakes up in the submarine of the diver. The owner of the sub introduces himself as Phil Darson, an amateur explorer. Phil explains that the giants have much slower metabolisms, perhaps due to the increased pressure in the cave, and they are moving, but at a very slow rate. When Aquaman asks about the whirlpool, Phil says it's probably due to the change in pressure, and that scientists had been able to create the effect on the surface.
Aqualad is taken into a barren city that is falling apart. After a time he is taken into an arena, where he has to fight one of the people. He fights, and the people begin to clap as he starts winning. After a particularly nasty hit to the head, he remembers all about Aquaman, and realizes that he was on a fool's quest. Without even thinking about it, he takes out his opponent.
Back in Atlantis, an earthquake threatens the city. The people ask Vulko what to do, and he goes to find Narkran and ask.
Aqualad's situation is revealed to the reader as the King of the Eldfur, the purple folks who captured him, expresses hope that Aqualad can help his people defeat the Bugala once and for all, and save their civilization.
The cover doesn't happen in the story. Oh well, pretty interesting anyway.
This was Aqualad's story, most of the way. Aqualad running off from Atlantis, Aqualad running headlong into danger, Aqualad defeating the big warrior...
Aquaman is getting really paranoid. Gotta hope he finds Mera soon, or he'll start to go nuts.
The people of Atlantis first become air-breathers in issue #35.
The letter column has a letter from Mark Evanier. Could that be The Mark Evanier? Oh well. Reading the letter columns for familiar names is a fun pursuit, but short of asking I can't know for sure that the names aren't coincidence.
This story is reprinted in Adventure Comics #494 (Dec 1982).
The quest was dragging on a bit, so we had an interesting aside with Aqualad. Good tactic, and it worked well. Aquaman is not solo in this title.