Aquaman Annual #1
Title: Aquaman Year One
Cover Title: -none-
Cover Date: 1995
Theme: Year One
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Martin Egeland, Casey Jones, Jake Jacobson, Jim Califiore, Phil Jimenez
Inks: Howard Shum, Craig Gilmore, Craig Gilmore, Mark McKenna, John Stokes
Colors: Tom McCraw
Asst. Editor: Eddie Berganza
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Cover: Craig Hamilton
Cover Price: $3.50
Three divers, thieves, find the Aquacave. They search for treasure but don't find any. The leader notices Aquaman's diary, and starts reading it, hoping it will yield clues to where Aquaman has stashed his treasures.
Chapter One: Young Arthur first encounters Triton when he notices him riding a whale into strange waters. He follows, and asks the whale, Pakuul, what's going on. He realizes that Triton intends to force a woman swimming in the strange waters to love him, and decides to rescue the woman. He convinces Pakuul to lurch, throwing the god off-balance, and the woman into the water, then helps the woman get to shore. After a brief fight with Triton, with Arthur clearly losing, the whale smacks Triton and claims that he was trying to hit Arthur. Triton then goes after the woman again, but finds out that she is the daughter of Hippolyta and it would cause war. He backs off, and goes away in a huff. Turns out that Arthur was hiding in Pakuul's mouth. Diana and Arthur say farewell.
Chapter Two: Aquaman, king of Atlantis, is very fond of Mera, a visitor from another dimension, but doesn't think she loves him. At Garth's prodding, he takes her out on a date, and the two discover their mutual love for one another. Eros (Cupid) and his brother Eryx enjoy the show, thinking about how much it would annoy Poseidon and Triton.
Chapter Three: And annoy it does. A week later Poseidon comes gunning for Aquaman. On an island in the Bahamas, Aquaman is pinned under a fallen tree when Superman rescues him. Superman doesn't believe that a god is after Aquaman, and goes to try and stop the storm. Aquaman goes after him, knowing that Poseidon isn't going to be happy about it. Superman is knocked unconscious and into the water by the storm, and Aquaman rescues him. But Aquaman needs rescuing too, and struggles to wake Superman up. Superman, waking, takes Aquaman to the desert. They stay there for awhile, to let Poseidon calm down.
Chapter Four: Years go by, and Mera is giving birth to Aquaman's child. Aquaman waits ouside, after swearing to Mera that he will stay nearby. As he is alone in the waiting room, Poseidon appears. Aquaman is afraid, but Poseidon says he's there to congratulate him for being the new King of the Seas, and crown him with knowledge. He lets Aquaman hear Pakuul, the whale who saved him so long ago, calling in fear as he is hunted. Aquaman starts to go rescue him, but remembers his oath to stay near Mera. He is forced to choose, and he chooses to stay near Mera, and not save Pakuul. Poseidon tells him to remember this as the price of being called Sea King. As Mera safely gives birth, outside the city, a dead whale floating downward, towing behind it the ship that had speared it, destroyed by lightning.
The lead diver comments that Aquaman is delusional, thinking gods are out to destroy him. Aquaman, who had arrived while he read and tied up his compatriots, suggests that he's both.
Martin Egeland and Howard Shum did the framing sequence. The other artists each did a chapter.
This should be added to the Atlantis Chronicles and Time and Tide as a book that you ought to get for reference on the current Aquaman. It helps to have read these first stories.
This recounts Aquaman's first meetings with both Wonder Woman and Superman. The Superman: Man of Steel Annual had the same Aquaman/Superman story told from Superman's point of view, with crappy art.
This book has a disturbing lack of good credits. I don't know for sure that the editor was Kevin Dooley, and there are no letterer credits at all.
Look closely at the items on the walls of the Aquacave in the opening sequence. Some of them show up later in the stories.
Another must-read for the current Aquaman.