Aquaman (1994) #66
Title: Common Battleground
Cover Title: Aquaman Against the JLA
Cover Date: April 2000
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Paul Ryan
Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Noelle Giddings and Digital Chameleon
Lettering: John Workman
Editor: Tony Bedard
Cover: Mike Kaluta
Cover Price: $1.99
The future Garth continues his tale of war while his granddaughter, Donna, listens.
The JLA shows up just as the Atlantean army arrives in full power. Superman insists that Aquaman cease the attack, and he does so, ordering his troops to stand down. Aquaman tells them of Cerdia's attack, and Superman confirms that Atlantis has been destroyed. However, because there is no evidence that Cerdia did it, the JLA wants to stop Aquaman anyway.
The queen of Cerdia, Charlanda, doesn't like that Aquaman is calmly discussing the problem, and sends a false order to the Atlantean troops to attack the city. While the JLA tries to save lives, Tempest and Aquaman go after the queen. They arrive in the throne room only to find... Ocean Master.
The Cover: I'm not sure I like the expression on Aquaman's face here, but the rest of the image is just neat. The chariot reminds me of the story in which Vulko led the forces of Atlantis against surfacers. There is a lot of history in that plot-line.
The Art: I like Paul Ryan's art in some ways. It's more dynamic than Epting's work. But although it was good, it was also a little jarring in places. I can't put my finger on what is different, but there was something I didn't like about his body-shapes. I'm being hyper-critical, though: the art was really quite good.
The Story: I feel like we are getting somewhere now. So much of a monthly book seems to be treading water, this issue was stronger. I liked that Aquaman would try to discuss the problem with the JLA. I thought the reactions of each character were on the money. The problem was with what the JLA didn't do.
Number One: Superman, being so super, should have been able to "hear" that false communication to the Atlantean troops. For that matter, he can see all the way to the ocean bottom and witness the destruction Arthur spoke of, but he can't see Charlanda sending the false message or Ocean Master sitting around in the throne room? Don't say he didn't have a reason to look: The JLA is treading on thin ice as far as interfering with Atlantis' rights is concerned. He should be looking for evidence, not ignoring the obvious.
Number Two: Why didn't Martian Manhunter use his telepathy to find out why Arthur and Garth were convinced that Cerdia did the attacks? He's a detective! He would've agreed with their conclusions. You'd think that four of the most powerful beings in the world could do a better job of seeing beyond their noses.
Things to notice: Cerdia is a despotic nation with a poor class of people, an upper crust, and the military. Aquaman is careful to aim at the military, not the people, but the false message tells his troops to kill the people. The Cerdians used Atlantean materials to make the two bombs (one that nearly killed Aquaman during his television appearance, one that supposedly nearly killed queen Charlanda). Gee, wonder who they got Atlantean materials from? The Cerdian troops are videotaping the conference between Aquaman and the JLA (page 12, bottom right). An image of the city shows a mural of queen Charlanda with the caption "She IS Cerdia!"
A strong part of the tale.