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Cover of Aquaman #50
Aquaman #50 (1962)

Title: Can This Be Death?
Title (Story 2): Deadman Rides Again
Cover Title: City on the Edge of Nowhere
Cover Date: April 1970
Indica Date: Mar-Apr 1970 (published Bi-Monthly)

Writer: Steve Skeates
Artist: Jim Aparo
Lettering: Jim Aparo
Writer (Story 2): Neal Adams
Artist (Story 2): Neal Adams
Editor: Dick Giordano
Cover: Nick Cardy

Cover Price: $0.15
Page Count:


Story One: Can This Be Death?

When Aquaman and Aqualad return from Alaska, they find Ocean Master talking with Mera outside the city. Aquaman confronts Ocean Master, who claims to have come to warn him... and says that he now remembers that they are brothers. Before he can finish his warning, though, aliens come and shoot Aquaman...

...Who wakes up in a bizarre place where the air has the consistency of water, and single cell monsters try to eat him. He is rescued from a monster by a woman who will not communicate with him. When he uses her weapon to destroy the creature, she pushes him aside as the monster explodes.

Aquaman then hears garbled telepathic communications, and follows the patterns into a city, with the woman following. No one in the city understands him, so he pinpoints exactly where the telepathy is coming from.

When he tries to enter the building, a guard shoots bubbles at him which attach to his body and sap his strength. He knocks out the guard and enters the building anyway, with the woman following. Once inside the building, she talks with him telepathically, explaining that communication is sacred and all people must come to this building to talk.

Aquaman, now clued in, tries to figure out where he is, but even using telepathy the woman doesn't understand his questions. In exasperation, he asks if there is anyone else he can talk with. She tells him that Brother Warnn is the only one... as the frightening Brother Warnn enters the room.

Story Two: Deadman Rides Again

Deadman, who has been resting in the Himalayas, intends to go back out into the world. Rama Kushna, a powerful being, directs him to a strange craft. Piloting the craft is none other than Ocean Master. He plants a device on the ocean floor, then meets with some aliens on the surface. Deadman learns that he has planted the device in return for the aliens eliminating Aquaman.

Deadman chooses to rescue Aquaman by taking over Orm's body. When he gets in, though, he finds that part of Orm's mind is blocked off. He opens the blockage, but the effort makes him leave Orm's mind. To his surprise, when Orm's memory returns, he goes to warn his brother, leaving Deadman free to pursue the aliens.

He learns the aliens intend to reduce the mental capacity of the world and then take over. But when he tries to control the aliens, he learns that they have weapons against people like him... a chihuahua-like creature that expels him into a noplace!


A striking cover, with a stream of green bubbles apparently launched from a tower in a futuristic city attacking, and apparently overpowering, Aquaman. The cover also mentions Deadman's appearance in the book, though it is technically not an "extra" feature since it is interwoven in the plot.

The issue starts with Aquaman in the strange world, and uses flashbacks to both establish the plot and get Aquaman to clear his head.

Aquaman can't communicate with the giant one-eyed monster that attacks him. He is rescued by a woman with a dart gun, and tries to telepathically tell her to aim for the creature's eye. She has a really good reason not to aim for the eye, though, as Aquaman finds out.

The telepathic noise that Aquaman hears is represented in the book by nonsense words in the background. Except the words aren't nonsense to anyone who knows comics. On page 8, the word is "Giordano", on page 11 it is a mass of names, including "Bridwell", "Orlando", "Skeates", "Broome", "O'Neil", "Kashdan", "Kubert", "Cardy", "Boltinoff", and many, many more.

Aquaman thinks the bubble gun is a joke. I don't blame him. The art of him fighting off the bubbles is some of the best in the book, though.

I know nothing about Deadman, so I'm sure I missed some important information about his appearance here. The key thing about the back-up story is that it explains why Orm had gone to warn Aquaman.

The aliens intend to reduce the mental powers of every one on Earth by 25%. I wonder if they suceeded in our universe?

This story is reprinted in Adventure Comics #502 (Aug 1983).

There is a circulation statement in this issue. Here are the numbers: The first column is the average over the preceding twelve months, the second is the exact numbers for the issue nearest their filing date (October 1st, 1969). The total number of copies printed: aver=298,000 and exact=275,000. The total subcribers: aver=307 and exact=247, and through dealers: aver=156,000 and exact=145,000. Total paid circulation: aver=156,307 and exact=145,247. Free copies sent out for both columns was 346, which made the total number of copies distributed: aver=156,653 and exact=145,593. Leftovers: aver=141,347 and exact=129,407. Compare these numbers to today's sales numbers for a bit of a shock.


Rating: 7

A good enough start, with enough interesting plot lines and twists to keep you reading.

Review Date: 15 April 1999, By Laura Gjovaag