Aquaman (3) #25
Title: Betwixt And Between
Cover Title: Uneasy Hangs The Head That Wears The Crown!
Cover Date: October 1996
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Marty Egeland
Inks: Howard Shum
Colors: Tom McCraw
Lettering: Albert De Guzman
Asst. Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $1.75
Aquaman discusses the problem of Ahk-Orrd's "offer" with Dolphin, Garth, and Power Girl. Garth doesn't believe Ahk-Orrd will keep his part of the bargin, and Power Girl is all for just taking out the aliens. Arthur explains that the problem is more complicated: if they fight off the aliens, the surface world will turn against them, and they will certainly have a war of a different type.
While they are discussing, however, they get a rather rude interruption. Kordax, Koryak, and Tiamat crash their party. Power Girl attacks Tiamat, while Neptune Perkins attempts to get the President out of danger. Aquaman and Kordax fight. Kordax tells Aquaman he's been under the influence of the ship, and unwitting slave to its will.
Garth and Koryak have it out, Garth fighting harder when Kory calls him Aqualad.
The rest of Arthur's task force fights at Basilia (Nuada Silver-hand, the Guardian of Hy-Brasil, the Sea Devils, Tsunami, Deep Blue, and Spought). They fought off one attack, but now the sky is filled with tons of the ships.
As Power Girl trades insults with Tiamat, Arion joins the fight against her, as does Ahk-Orrd!
Arthur has Kordax in a painful headlock. Dolphin tells him to let Kordax go or she will kill him. He tells her to fight it, and she reveals that she has been fighting it for a long time, back since she shot Charybdis. She was supposed to shoot Arthur that day. And now she can no longer resist. She owes Kordax her life. He freed her from the aliens who experimented on her.
Kordax takes the pause in fighting to his advantage and slashes Arthur, and Dolphin shoots Kordax in a panic. Kordax deflects the bullet back at her, hitting her in the chest. Aquaman attacks Kordax with all his long-blocked mental powers, and Kordax, realizing that he cannot defeat Aquaman, kills himself.
Aquaman's troops are fighting the Aliens, who destroy Basilia moments after the troops escape.
Ahk-Orrd and Tiamat discuss the current state of alien politics, when they are interrupted by Aquaman who aims his formidable powers at her. He forces her into one of Atlan's portals. Then Aquaman begs Arion to save Dolphin.
Aquaman and Ahk-Orrd discuss what happened. Ahk-Orrd opened the potential in Aquaman, that potential which he had offered to him before the interruption by Tiamat and Company. Ahk-Orrd's people will give what they ask, but they will first destroy what already exists to create a new foundation to build on. They, of course, did not tell the surface dwellers what they planned. Aquaman has taken the liberty of broadcasting this discussion to the world, however, so now the whole world knows the plan. Ahk-Orrd leaves in peace, unwillling to level the planet completely to help it.
Dolphin recovers as Garth and Atlan are leaving.
The cover features an older looking Aquaman than I'm used to, but is absolutely gorgeous.
Kordax, Koryak, and Tiamat visit the White House. Why, oh why, don't the land-based heroes start showing up? You gotta wonder. I doubt any of them would believe that Aquaman has the situation under control.
Tiamat didn't die back in issue #15, she got better. If you are to believe the letter col in another issue, this is the "first" Tiamat, the one that all the others modelled themselves after.
When Kordax tells Aquaman that the link to the ship has made him a slave Aquaman clearly believes it. More of that telepathic violation.
Ahk-Orrd joins the fight against Tiamat, which confused the heck out of me. What, exactly, is this invasion, anyway? Well, let's go back and work it out. 1) The Hunter/Gatherers hunted the dinosaurs into extinction, then came back and colonized the world by interbreeding with the natives. 2) The HGs got conquered by Tiamat's people. Because the HGs had too many colonies to take in one easy swoop, the Anunnake (Tiamat's crowd) left watching posts and concentrated on pounding the snot out of the HGs. 3) The conquered HGs became prized warriors and slaves, and started to help the Anunnake retake the colonies. 4) The HGs, however, have actually taken control of the "empire" and are now preparing their former colonies for some great threat. They do this by destroying the existing infrastructure and replacing it with their own. 5) The watching posts left on Earth all turned against their former masters, and are intent on protecting the planet. 6) Tiamat was left in stasis in one of the watching posts.
Ok, all clear now?
Dolphin's big secret is revealed also. She is a creature of Kordax, and only her love for Aquaman finally breaks the control, barely. She almost doesn't survive.
Ahk-Orrd gives Aquaman a mental push, then tells him that it is only a pale reflection of Aquaman's real powers. The new story arc about to start (yes, those first 25 issues were ONE arc) is about Aquaman's powers. But first we must deal with Aquaman's limits as a ruler.
Garth and Atlan are off to the Tempest mini-series.
No letter col, but there's enough information in this one to digest without having to deal with a bunch of thought-provoking letters...
Rather than being thrilled at the great story, I was just relieved that the plot was finally over. This issue is definitely a capper to the plot, and would be absolutely nonsensical alone.