Legends of the DC Universe #26
Title: The Fishy Laugh
Cover Title: The Fishy Laugh Part One of Two
Cover Date: March 2000
Writer: Steve Englehart
Pencils: Trevor Von Eeden
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Colors: Rick Taylor and Digital Chameleon
Lettering: Sean Konot
Editor: Bob Schreck
Asst. Editor: L.A. Williams
Cover: Tony Harris
Cover Price: $1.99
After being defeated by Batman, The Joker enters the water and is surprised to see an army on the floor of the Gotham River. He unsuccessfully tries to flee, but is captured. He battles Aquaman, who defeats him and then questions him as to why the fish have Joker faces. The Joker happily lies, telling Aquaman that he's the king of landwalkers, and that the Joker-fish were a tribute to him by misguided citizens. Aquaman swallows the story, hook, line and sinker.
Aquaman asks the Joker to reverse the process that made the fish into Joker-fish, and when the Joker agrees Aquaman takes him to Atlantis. There the Joker uses his charm to corrupt everyone around him. He turns the fish back to normal, but convinces Aquaman's council members to vote him out.
This Legend picks up right after the infamous "Joker-fish" incident (Detective #475 and 476, 1978, also animated in the Batman Animated Series episode "The Laughing Fish").
The Cover: Not bad! I couldn't tell at first glance whether the Aquaman pictured was the original or the hooked one, but it became clear on a second look. The Joker looks odd, but then he would underwater. All in all not a bad cover for a Legend about Aquaman.
The beginning is very abrupt. I wasn't able to find the original story in time to read it before reading this issue, but it wasn't confusing in the least. I was at least familiar with what had happened in the Joker-fish story.
The continuity of this story is totally Silver Age. Aquaman is the elected king of Atlantis, his father was Arthur Curry, a surfacer. Absent are Aqualad and Mera, the mainstays of Aquaman's cast during his Silver Age run.
These are the most diverse Atlanteans I've seen in a long, long time. The costumes are all very different. Unfortunately, Vulko looks like some wizard out of a Tolkien book. He has hair up there, even in the Silver Age, and he doesn't have pointed ears!
I don't get how Aquaman could be fooled by the Joker. Especially if the Batman had mentioned him as a villain during a JLA meeting. Aquaman has spent enough time on the surface by this point to be familiar with a situation like this. Even for a silly Silver Age tale, Aquaman seems overly naive.
Nice additions to the Aquaman mythos in the form of the Royal Council members. While their personalities are stereotypes, they were played nicely and worked well in the context they were used. And having an Atlantean doctor fall in love with the Joker is very amusing.
A fun tale, even if some bits were a bit fishy.