Aquaman is battling thugs on the waterfront. After KO'ing them, he gets one to tell him where to go to collect the price on his head. In disguise, he goes to the bar to learn more. He learns that the girl he gave a note to has been kidnapped and follows that particular thug back to where the girl is held.
Aquaman rescues the girl and takes her to a safe place, then goes back in disguise to find out more.
Aquaman kidnaps the syndicates middleman at gunpoint, then pressures the guy to get more information out of him.
Aqualad, in the meantime, is fighting the Bugala...
Aquaman finds the headquarters of the big boss, and goes in to take him out. After a fight, Aquaman tosses the boss onto the controls of some kind of machine, which terrifies his lackey scientist. He claims he needs to control it or there will be a big explosion.
The guards from the next room enter just then, and while Aquaman battles them the scientist attempts to control his machine. Aquaman decides to make his exit, and sees a window into the ocean along a wall. While looking through it, the room behind him finally explodes and he is pushed through the glass into the water.
He isn't too much the worse for wear, but as he decides to get farther away, he is trapped in a whirlpool like the one Mera was trapped in. The final explosion propels him onto a strange shore, where Mera finds him...
Neat cover, a woman mourning Aquaman on the shore, his body bearing the sign "wanted by the underworld..." Very intriguing in that great Silver Age style.
Aquaman threatens a thug with a gun, but as soon as the thug figures out that he's Aquaman, he no longer is afraid, since superheroes don't kill. Aquaman makes him afraid anyway.
This is definitely a grimmer, grittier Aquaman than we've seen in the past. He allows the big boss and his thugs to die in the explosion, and beats up on thugs unmercilessly.
This story is reprinted in Adventure Comics #496 (Feb 1983).
We're getting close to a resolution...