Aquaman (1994) #68
Title: Blood Realm
Cover Title: Atlantis Has A Place For Her Enemies...
Cover Date: June 2000
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Steve Epting
Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Noelle Giddings and Digital Chameleon
Lettering: John E Workman
Editor: Tony Bedard
Cover: Mike Kaluta
Cover Price: $1.99
Release Date: 19 April 2000
Order Code: FEB00 0140
The conclusion to the war with Cerdia. Aquaman has been teleported into a mob of angry Cerdians, but can't fight them because he might hurt them. He talks them into a sort of calm, then the JLA arrives. With J'onn's help Aquaman talks to both the Cerdians and his own army, and explains what happened.
In the meantime, Tempest digs his way out of the collapsed grotto, but Queen Charlanda isn't so lucky. Tempest uses his magic to track down Orm, who sets him on fire. Despite the pain, he manages to teleport his child away from danger when Aquaman arrives to distract Orm. Aquaman creams his half-brother, then helps Tempest find the baby.
In the far future, Tempest takes his granddaughter Donna to see her birthright. The powerful country of Atlantis.
The Cover: I read a complaint recently about Kaluta's covers being not "macho enough" for Aquaman. I strongly disagree. I love the fantasy elements and the timelessness of Kaluta's work. I think his covers might bring back the female audience that was lost during the parody year. However, this particular cover is just plain weird. Aquaman and a bunch of naked, finned children examining a downed Cerdian helicopter? Very odd. This is the first Kaluta cover I don't really like.
Enough about the cover, though. This is the first Aquaman story in a long time that, after reading it, I found myself feeling like I'd read something truly, truly wonderful. The end of this story, the last two pages, makes the framing sequence worth the annoyance it caused me before. This is the Atlantis I want to read about. THIS is the mythos that Peter David set up, but never fully explored. This is the future that I REALLY want to read about Aquaman creating. I'm really eager to see this future happen. I really want this future to happen.
I like the new information about Donna, including that her powers haven't yet emerged fully. She also refers to the Blast Brood, apparently another group of young heroes. I guess the information that Atlantis survives makes all the hints of the future much easier to take.
From the beginning of this arc, Jurgens has stressed Aquaman's presence, his ability to affect people with his strength of personality. Even with that added effort on Jurgens' part, I found Aquaman's ability to talk the crowd out of beating him up just a tad unrealistic. Just a tad. I think what put it over the edge was the man who knelt to him afterwards. I'm not sure I believe a man who was ready to shoot Aquaman would kneel to him in a matter of minutes.
I fully expected Tempest to save Charlanda, but I'm not surprised, nor particularly upset, that he didn't. His abilities, although powerful, don't extend so far as to protect someone from tons of rock and water. They did grow in this issue, though. Using the traces of Orm's magic to find him and then the memory of Orm's teleportation to do the same with his son... very nice. Also worth note: Tempest tells Donna that at that point he's still far from mastering his powers. Just how powerful will Tempest be when he does master his abilities?
I want a TPB of these six issues. And every Aquaman fan needs to read them.