Aquaman (3) #19
Title: Brother's Keeper
Cover Title: In The Coils Of The Ocean Master!
Cover Date: April 1996
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Marty Egeland
Inks: Howard Shum
Colors: Tom McCraw
Lettering: Dan Nakrosis
Asst. Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Cover: Dave Johnson
Cover Price: $1.75
Ocean Master reveals that he got his new powers from Neron, and those powers have one fatal catch: he must hold onto his staff at all times.
In the ship, Orin buzzes a boatload of dolphin killers. Then he and Dolphin talk about her killing of the High Seer. Aquaman feels he can no longer trust her completely.
Atlan, in his sanctuary, is attacked by some unknown force, which he flees.
Aquaman and Dolphin land in the Himalayas, and Dolphin asks what Atlanteans are doing up here. Aquaman tells her that some early tribes migrated here and used science and sorcery to build themselves a home.
As the two climb to get to the city, Ocean Master snags them by Arthur's hook and line, and sends pain through it. Dolphin jumps and hangs on to a ledge, Aquaman goes up to fight Ocean Master. As they fight, OM triggers an avalanche, and Arthur saves Dolphin.
Strom tries to get into Arthur's ship and is punched out by someone he recognizes, who freezes him in place.
Arthur and Dolphin climb to the top, and meet the people of the city, who lead them in. When Arthur asks who is in charge, he receives a blast from OM's staff.
When he awakes, he is hanging over Dolphin, with two large boulders hanging from his feet. OM blasts away the supports, and Aquaman is put under intense strain. As OM is gloating, Arthur's ship blasts through the wall and frees Aquaman. At the wheel? Garth, formerly known as Aqualad.
I kind of like the cover to this one, though it is nothing compared to next month's... The cover, btw, has nothing to do with what's in the book.
Ocean Master makes it very clear that Neron is the source of his new powers in the first pages. More interesting is the character Staci. It seems slightly off for OM to recall the name of any of his minions, so I could only conclude that these weren't ordinary minions.
The continuing theme of telepathic violation is actually brought out in words in the discussion between Dolphin and Arthur. PAD seems to be establishing that telepathic probing is flat-out wrong. This issue will come up powerfully and nastily later in the series.
Atlanteans living in the Himalayas seems a bit odd.
Aquaman is NOT expecting Ocean Master at all. That's OK, Strom is not expecting Garth.
Garth is sporting a new outfit, and a scar over his right eye. You can find out more about what happened to him in Showcase '96 #1.
An interesting aside: Major Disaster (Aquaman #14), Ocean Master (this issue), and Black Manta (Superboy #20) all got new life/powers from Neron. Says something about the level of Aquaman's villians, yes?
Ocean Master is not my favorite villian, but his appearance here is fairly good.