New "Facts Page" for this issue
After saving a diver from a giant clam and octopus, Aquaman learns that Black Jack is alive and has taken over Pearl Island.
Aquaman finds an islander trapped by a giant clam and being attacked by an octopus. After defeating the monsters, Aquaman takes the man to his hidden lair and revives him. The man identifies himself as Keoki the Diver, and tells Aquaman that his sweetheart is in the hands of Black Jack. Aquaman is surprised at this, so Keoki explains how he and the chief found Black Jack washed up on the shore of their island. They helped him, but he killed the chief and took over. When he learned that the island is called Pearl Island, he made the natives dive for pearls.
But the pearls they brought up weren't big enough for Black Jack, so he took Loana, Keoki's girlfriend, prisoner and told Keoki to find bigger pearls or he'd never see Loana again. Aquaman says he'll fix that, and goes to the island with Keoki on his heels. He attacks Black Jack, who orders the islanders to attack Aquaman. They do so, and Black Jack escapes with Loana. But when Keoki comes out of the water, he tells the islanders that Aquaman is their friend, and the whole group go to help free Loana.
Keoki tries to reach Loana, but Black Jack has a gun and shoots him in the arm. Aquaman pulls him back, and then goes the back way, past a shark, to take out Black Jack while the other islanders hold back Keoki and distract Black Jack. Because Aquaman has conquered their chief, the islanders want him to be chief, but Aquaman nominates Keoki instead. Keoki's first act as chief is to spare Black Jack's life and set him adrift in a small boat.
This story jumps right into the action, with the splash page acting as the first panel of the story. Keoki is being attacked by a giant squid while being held by a giant clam, and Aquaman is in the background rushing to his rescue.
Aquaman takes Keoki to his "sea-fortress", a temple in the lost city that his father found that is kept free of water and filled with his possessions. A fore-runner to the aqua-cave. An interesting point about it's location: Pearl Island is near it, somewhere in the "Southern Seas". From the look of the islander's clothing and houses, they are meant to be in the South Pacific. In that case, the lost city isn't Atlantis at all, since Atlantis is in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Europe and Africa, by most accounts.
Again the art is dynamic and interesting. Some of the viewpoints are as inspired as any current artist could manage. The coloring is interesting too. I've already noted the yellow gloves that Aquaman wears in the Golden Age, but in this story it is strikingly obvious that the fins on the back of his legs are also yellow.
It's only the third story and we already have the return of a villain. This story continues directly on from the last. It's almost a story arc, but each part stands alone. I would love to see current comics manage as much in 22 pages as were packed into eight pages in the Golden Age.
This story has no title. The title used by the Grand Comics Database Project is The Return of Black Jack. This title was applied to this story by the indexer, and is in no way official.
This review was made possible by the Microcolour microfiche reprint of this issue.
Other notables about this issue: Superman's Secret Message (Code Mercury No 1) SFNFNCFS ZPVS QMFEHF: TUSFOHUI, DPVSBHF, KVTUJDF, a short story called "Thoroughbred" by Edgar Weston, and an ad for Sensation Comics #1 (featuring brand new character Wonder Woman, endorsed by Former Undefeated World's Heavyweight Champion Gene Tunney).
Aquaman is three for three so far.