Aquaman (Mini 1) #3
Title: Orm's Scheme
Cover Title: Now Begins The Day Of Ocean Master!
Cover Date: April 1986
Writer: Neal Pozner
Pencils: Craig Hamilton
Inks: Steve Montano
Colors: Joe Orlando
Lettering: Bob Lappan
Editor: Neal Pozner and Dick Giordano
Cover: Craig Hamilton and P Craig Russell
Cover Price: $0.75
Aquaman and Nuada are brought by the Maarzon before Orm, who rules them as a god.
The armies of Vulko approach the coast of America.
Orm abuses Nuada and is generally cruel to Aquaman. He then throws them into a cave where a giant crab grabs them and carries them off. As they travel, Aquaman explains who Orm is, and gives his own background in the process.
Tom Curry rescued a strange woman from the waters near the lighthouse, and together they had a son, Aquaman. Tom was surprised when he learned his son could breathe underwater, but accepted it. On her deathbed, the woman explained that she was from Atlantis. Tom, grief-striken, threw himself into training Aquaman in his powers. It wasn't enough, so he married a normal woman from town, who gave him Orm. Orm grew up in Aquaman's shadow, and became bitter because of it. As the Ocean Master, he found weapons and technology in underwater cities that allowed him to breathe underwater and continually plot revenge on Aquaman.
The crab arrives at their destination, a palace made of ice in the Antarctic. Complete with Ocean Master, waiting to greet them.
At that same instant, however, The Ocean Master greets the Vulko and his army as they reach America, and blasts the heck out of them.
Orm goads Aquaman into attacking him, then blasts him painfully. He then explains how he got his powers. He found an ancient library and learned of the magic of Atlantis, then studied until he found one of the twelve crystals. Using its power, he got the Maarzon to worship him and established a power base. He then stole the Lia Fail and the Royal Seal. A fourth crystal was in Aquaman's trophy room in New Venice, the reason Orm blasted the town. A fifth he found in another ruin, and with five he is quite powerful.
Aquaman attacks him, but he vanishes after a few hits. Nuada tells Aquaman that he was never there.
With the cards laid out on the table, you simply don't know how Aquaman can possibly win. The only thing going for him is Orm's insanity, and that's one heckuva two-edged sword.
This is a good issue. The origin retelling is interesting and puts more detail into it than past tellings. The fact that it's very much out of continuity makes it hard to pay close attention to it, for me, though.
Orm is well-developed here, as both an ignored little brother and a homicidal maniac with lots of power. It's clear that Aquaman cares for him, despite all the terrible things he has done.
One of the Pre-Crisis Origins of Aquaman, this book has enough to interest even a casual reader. Definitely worth picking up.