Aquaman (3) #13
Cover Title: Arena!
Cover Date: October 1995
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Marty Egeland
Inks: Howard Shum
Colors: Tom McCraw
Lettering: Dan Nakrosis
Asst. Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Cover: Marty Egeland and Howard Shum
Cover Price: $1.75
We pick up from the last issue, with Aquaman in the Guillotine, and the man about to release it. Aquaman frees his left hand and stops the blade, then spins his hook, sending the blade flying. Dolphin ducks just in time and it kills the guard holding her. Aquaman identifies the man as Thanatos, and they fight. As Aquaman wins, a bright light encompasses them all.
In Tritonis, the Poseidonians are preparing to enter the tunnels despite Iquila telling them they can't. Koryak threatens to destroy the Temple housing the entryway unless they are let into the tunnels.
Aquaman is now in a jungle, and hears a scream that sounds like Mera. He finds Thanatos attacking Mera with a dinosaur. Aquaman attacks the dinosaur and Thanatos kills Mera. The dinosaur throws Arthur into its mother, but before he can be eaten he is blinded by a bright white light.
Iquila lets Koryak and his people into the tunnels, and prays that only the Poseidonians will be damned by it.
Mera appears in the place where Dolphin and the boy are, and tells Dolphin that they are in hell.
Aquaman awakes in an arena, about to fight Thanatos.
The boy explains that the "others" run this place and that Thanatos has now sealed off all the exits. Mera says that Thanatos is trying to get out of this place, to be granted new life by the "others". So he and Aquaman are fighting to prove that Thanatos is ready to leave.
Vulko and Koryak talk about Koryak's leadership, and Koryak admits he let King Thesily die. Vulko tells him that he knew.
Aquaman wins the battle, but refuses to kill Thanatos. The "others" let Thanatos go, but tell Aquaman he will stay until he becomes evil, or the end of time...
The way Egeland draws Vulko really annoys me. All the other Atlanteans are skinny, without fail, but Vulko looks like a hot air balloon.
The boy has grown up thinking Thanatos is Aquaman.
The "others" want to nuture the darkness in Aquaman. They would be proud to see what he later becomes.
As frequently happens with PAD's writing, it seems to take forever to conclude while you are reading it, but on the reread it seems rushed. This issue almost feels like it was condensed out of two to fit into the Underworld Unleashed timetable, but when I first read it I was wishing that it would go faster.
Thanatos vs Aquaman, yet again. Good story, but only taken all together with its other parts.