|"To Win is to Lose!"|
|First Published:||February, 1969|
|Previous Issue:||Aquaman #42|
|Next Issue:||Aquaman #44|
"To Win is to Lose!"Edit
Aquagirl, concerned over the rising tyranny of Atlantis' substitute ruler, Narkran, looks to Aqualad for advice. At the Atlantean hospital, where Aqualad has been recovering from his injuries, Aquagirl discovers that Aquaman's young partner has checked himself out, much to the surprise of his doctors. Suffering from memory loss, Aqualad has departed Atlantis, intent on aiding Aquaman, in recovering Mera, from the shimmering village of the sea sorcerers. Upon arrival at the site, Aqualad can find no trace of the medieval village. Pondering his options, he is unaware that he is being watched by a trio of lavender-scaled fish men. They surround and attack the young hero. Though Aqualad fights back valiantly, he is overwhelmed, netted, and dragged away. Meanwhile, Aquaman, suffering badly from an injury sustained in a recent battle with the Black Manta, continues the search for his missing wife, Mera. Spying the same churning water phenomena that beset him just prior to Mera's abduction, Aquaman investigates. Entering a large cavern, Aquaman discovers a hidden Greco-Roman colony of immobile giants. He is not alone in his discovery. A deep sea diver is also on the scene. The purpose of his presence unknown, Aquaman warily approaches the man from the surface.
Aquaman succumbs to the severity of his injury. When he recovers, he finds himself on board a submarine. His wound has been tended to by the deep sea diver. He identifies himself as Phil Darson, an amateur undersea explorer. Darson reveals that the giants are not actually paralyzed, but are, in actuality, just moving at an incredibly slow rate. Darson has been studying the colony for some time. During the course of their conversation, Darson reveals that surface scientists have worked out a method for creating the churning water effect that led to Aquaman's investigation of the colony. Aquaman considers the possibility that Mera's abductors came from the surface world. Meanwhile, Aqualad has been carried to the decaying underwater city of Eldfur. Free of the net, Aqualad attempts to flee his captors, but is once more overpowered. He is left in a cell to recover, then dragged into a crumbling arena. The Eldfur leader gestures, and a large, blade wielding Eldfur warrior steps into the arena. He immediately charges Aqualad, with weapon raised.
Aqualad is in the fight of his life. The Eldfur warrior is bigger, stronger, and far quicker than his size would suggest. The gladiatorial combat rages for long moments. Aqualad takes a defensive stance for much of the fight. Suddenly, Aqualad strikes back. Aqualad begins hammering away at his adversary. To his surprise, the Eldfur spectators begin to applaud and cheer him on. Taking a blow to the head clears Aqualad's memory loss. He recalls that the shimmering village had turned out to be a dead end in the search for Mera, and that Aquaman had left there, for the Maarzon colony, weeks ago. Lost in his reverie, Aqualad, nonetheless, never stops battering his opponent. Finally, the Eldfur warrior collapses under the fury of Aqualad's blows. Thunderous applause fills the stadium. Aqualad is baffled by the response to his victory. His captors enter the arena, and, once again, beat Aqualad into submission. At that same moment, in Atlantis, a massive seismic upheaval assails the city. The panicked populace looks to their chief scientist, Vulko, for information. Vulko fears the worst. Atlantis may be on the verge of destruction. Back in Eldfur, Aqualad's unconscious body is carried into a dungeon cell. The Eldfur leader is pleased by what he has seen. Aqualad has defeated Eldfur's mightiest warrior. It is the Eldfur leader's hope that Aqualad is the champion the dying village has been seeking. Their race has long been assailed by an oceanic leviathan, known as "The Bugala". Over the years, Eldfur's armies have dwindled in repelling the creature. Outside help is their only hope now. If Aqualad cannot defeat the Bugala, once and for all, it will be the end of the Eldfur society.
"To Win is to Lose!"Edit
- Mera (In flashback only)
- Phil Darson (First Appearance)