Cover date: June 2012
"...Here There Be Monsters!"
Writer: Kevin Hopps & Greg Weisman
Penciller: Christopher Jones
Inker: Christopher Jones
Cover: Christopher Jones
Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
The three heroes are no match for Ocean Master and succumb to a bombardment of evil magic which knocks them out. Awakening later in the company of Prince Orm in the chambers, the trio realize their failure. Orm tells them that word has been sent to Aquaman but the Justice League were away with an emergency. With no back up Kaldur'Ahm and Orin devise two search parties to explore the remote spots of Atlantis in hopes to find their missing Queen and unborn prince.
Aqualad will lead his covert team and Orm his most trusted guards.
The determined trio reach Old Roman's Trench and realize too late that they have fallen into a trap. Purists ambush them and block their escape route, could someone have leaked their location?
In S'Atiroman Cave, Ocean Master has a captive Queen at his mercy. His plot? To drain her magic power and use it for himself. As he strikes her with his trident we rejoin Aqualad and discover his back up plan. Mera's students, Garth, La'gaan, Blubber, Lori Lemaris, King Shark and Tula arrive and aid their friends. The attack on the chambers was so quick, so precise to avoid detection it had to be an inside plot, luckily Aqualad had factored that in and now they were ready to fight back.
King Shark attacks one of the Purists, intent on making a literal meal of him he tears through the garb of one before Lori intervenes and warns him to back off. At the very same moment Mera's life force begins to fade away. Ocean Master uses his boosted power to cast a spell which begins to drain the life forces of all the mix raced Atlanteans. Using his squid abilities Topo floods the vicinity with ink and helps mask his friends from the Purist's attack. Superboy uses his vision powers to see through the ink and attack their foes until they are weak enough for the students to tie them all up.
Kaldur initiates his secret plan. The Purist that Lori allowed to get away heads straight for the hideout but what he doesn't know is that a certain Martian girl is secretly tracking him and transmitting his location to Aqualad and his team. Kaldur instructs the students to stay behind as they are all feeling the effects of the draining spell while he and Superboy head to the rescue.
Above the ocean, in Teton County the mysterious men that dug up a body (last issue) begin surgery with laser scalpels. Searing the corpse of the woman in two reveals an android body and then the older man also reveals he has an android inside.
Back in the ocean Ronal arrives at S'Atiroman Cave overhearing Ocean Master's plot. He listens as Mera begs for the life of her baby and the Atlantean people and realizes that Ocean Master had manipulated the Purist movement in a plot for vengeance. Ronal confronts his former master and even with Miss Martian lending a hand they fall under his power. Superboy arrives with the determined students and leads an attack. Ocean Master rips off Superboy's oxygen mask and continues his attack. M'Gann races to her friend and shares her oxygen along with a deeply grateful kiss.
Garth uses his tempest power to attack Ocean Master breaking his concentration AND the draining spell. The vital seconds give the heroes a chance to regroup and surround their enemy. Ocean Master refuses to be trapped and with the last burst of his power he tears through them and escapes.
Later, as all the law breaking Purists are in captivity and King Orin is back by his wife's side, the citizens all celebrate Kaldur and his friends. King Shark is livid that Ronal received a pardon but now in life debt to Topo he agrees to stand down. Prince Orm steps forward and assures everyone that the sources that lead to the ambush would be dealt with (leaving out that it was him all along).
Aqualad cuts the trip short remembering that Megan and Superboy were due to enroll in high school the next day. Megan smiles and guesses that he is more interested to discover what their land bound teammates were up to while they were away.
To be Continued...
Story - 5: I've always thought of the 'Aqua' part of the DCU as a little dull. Aquaman always seemed a little lame and Aqualad, though armed with some cool water weapons had the personality of a cold fish - pun intended. This trilogy of issues have made me rethink that a little. Though the Tula/Garth/Kaldur triangle still lies unresolved and was the basis for the story it was nice to have this story explore Aqualad's roots. The kiss between Megan and Superboy was a touching moment. A great exploration of the team's tactical skills, I just hope the detective skills will catch up with them soon as Orm was pretty obvious.
Art - 5: Consistently great, consistently... consistent! The balance between story and art is superb neither overpowering or reducing the other.
Cover Art - 3: Perhaps my own personal feelings but again I've never felt the Aqua faction heroic or evil. So with Ocean Master hogging the cover with an evil eye I just don't feel the excitement I should. Maybe now the story is done, if they ever revisit Atlantis I'll feel differently.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2012.