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Cover of Aquaman #55
Aquaman #55 (1962)

Title: Return of the Alien!
Title (Story 2): Computer Trap!
Cover Title: Help Me! I Can't stop myself from shrinking into the world of the ring!
Cover Date: February 1971
Indica Date: Jan-Feb 1971 (published Bi-Monthly)

Writer: Steve Skeates
Artist: Jim Aparo
Lettering: Jim Aparo
Editor: Dick Giordano
Cover: Nick Cardy

Cover Price: $0.15
Page Count:


Story One: Return of the Alien!

With the help of the Atom's scientific expertise, Aquaman has Dr Vulko create a machine that will allow him to re-enter the world of the ring. He feels guilty about leaving the girl in the hands of possible slavers, and so returns to that world to find and help her. When he does find her, she tells him that she is happy, and doesn't want to leave. Mera pulls Aquaman back out of the world.

In the meantime, a rabble-rouser by the name of Noxden is claiming that Aquaman is going against the will of the people and demanding a democratic election for a new leader. To Tula's surprise, Mupo seems to agree with Noxden. Aqualad tells Aquaman that Noxden needs to be shut up, but Aquaman disagrees.

Story Two: Computer Trap!

Aquaman, taking a shortcut home, goes through a desolate city where he receives telepathic impulses that seem human. But they are from a computer that once controlled the city, and wants more people to control. It lost the previous inhabitants because it couldn't control anyone under 30, and the young ones left. Aquaman breaks free and almost destroys the machine.


The first story ties up a nasty loose end, what happened to the poor girl that Aquaman deserted. It's nice to see him go back and try to help her. It's also made clear that Mera has a powerful influence on the world of the ring. She wakes Aquaman up when he's knocked unconscious and accidently pulls him back home earlier than planned.

The girl tells Aquaman that, although she is forced to work for the slavers, she is learning things about her mind that her own people would never have taught her. She also points out that her own people tried to kill her when she helped Aquaman, so she can never go home.

Noxden is part of a larger plot, you can tell by the set-up. But it will be quite awhile before we see the end of the plot, as Aquaman was cancelled with the next issue. Another plot-line is being set-up with Tula and Aqualad. Tula comments several times about how she could go for Mupo if Aqualad weren't an issue, then Aqualad ignores her to report Noxden's activities to Aquaman.

The art in the story is pretty neat, including one panel with Aquaman and the slavers in shadow with a red background that impressed me. The artwork sometimes is experimental, and the panel layouts are often very odd, but the artist is good at his job, so it never gets confusing.

The second story is a real "never trust anyone over 30" situation. The younger citizens leave because their parents act like robots, working all the time, with no appreciation for art and beauty. They go to another colony, and their parents grow old and die in the thrall of the computer.

A two page letter column claims that they are "locked into doing full-length stories for the next two issues". Only one more issue was produced in this series.


Rating: 7

A couple of ok stories with massive amounts of set-up for future issues.

Review Date: 27 June 1999, By Laura Gjovaag