Aquaman (1994) #64
Cover Title: Childhood's End
Cover Date: February 2000
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Steve Epting
Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Noelle Giddings and Jamison
Lettering: John Workman
Editor: Tony Bedard
Cover: Mike Kaluta
Cover Price: $1.99
Tempest and his grand-daughter Donna continue to discuss the events of the war with Cerdia. Tempest claims that this attack changed the lives of all Atlanteans, forever.
Tempest leaves Dolphin, Vulko, and Mera with his new son and goes to help Aquaman in the battle against the coral creatures, and the subsequent rescue efforts. While Tempest holds off the creatures, Aquaman figures out how to send the coral that makes them up a message, and he and Tempest manage to destroy the creatures.
In the meantime, Vulko and Mera are attacked by some mysterious invader, who then steals Dolphin's baby.
Aquaman has to protect surfacer tourists from angry Atlanteans wanting revenge against surfacers. Then he learns of the collapse of the school, and the death of over 600 Atlantean children. Arthur learns of Tempest's child and his kidnapping in the course of less than a minute, and swears to get the child back.
NOTE: This is the highest numbered Aquaman ever published, a new milestone!
The Cover: The first thing that springs to my mind is "Uneasy hangs the head that wears the crown". The second thing is "Why is Vulko so stumpy?" It isn't the finest cover I've ever seen, but it has a nice composition that has been lacking in the recent past. The background of children's faces hints at the plot of this issue.
Note that the regular logo has returned.
The Art: Epting actually draws fishes! Wahoo! His artwork is consistent and clean. If there's any problem with the art, it's that the colors on some pages seemed a little dark.
Epting has a strong grasp of what this book needs, it seems. He draws sea-birds and fish, and makes the world seem populated instead of barren and sterile. The stupid headband on Aquaman still has got to go. Yuck. Mera is drawn well throughout, a nice change from previous artists. He also includes nice touches like names of buildings (in both Atlantean and English!) on buildings.
The Story: Future Tempest is a depressing man, and it sounds, from his speech, that Atlantis is gone. Say it ain't so! Donna is writing a term paper that she's calling "The Atlantis Chronicles". Just make her the official keeper and get on with it!
Overall a strong plot, even if I don't like the direction it's headed as indicated in the flashback. The interplay between Tempest and Aquaman is better than it's been since this series started. Mera actually uses her powers, a bonus.
I like the point made by Ensign Sh'hasc about Aquaman's protection of the surfacers. Aquaman does indeed seem to spend more time protecting surfacers than his own, a point which has been brought up before in various incarnations of Aquaman series, but never so bluntly as this, I think (except maybe in the McLaughlin series, which just strengthens my thoughts that Jurgens is loosely following McLaughlin's interpetation, which is fine with me).
Nitpicks. I got a few of 'em this time:
As a last note, the more I nitpick and complain about this story, the better I feel about it. It really is a good story, despite my complaints, and I'm looking forward to the next issue.
How soon until the next issue?