|"Underworld Reward! (Part I of II)"|
|First Published:||April, 1969|
|Previous Issue:||Aquaman #43|
|Next Issue:||Aquaman #45|
"Underworld Reward! (Part I of II)"Edit
Aquaman's search for his abducted wife has brought him to the surface world. As he emerges from the ocean, he hears a gunshot ring out from a nearby pier. Investigating, Aquaman discovers the victim of a gang land slaying. The dying man mutters something before he dies, but Aquaman cannot comprehend the gurgled words. Resolving to inform the police, before resuming his search for Mera, Aquaman finds himself the target of gunfire. The murderer has doubled back, and set his sights on Aquaman. The Sea KIng attempts to maneuver around behind the gunman, only to place himself back in the crosshairs, narrowly avoiding a second shot. Aquaman hurls himself through an open basement window. As he leaps into the darkened room, he slams headfirst into a low hanging pipe, knocking himself unconscious. The gunman searches the streets for Aquaman, but can find no trace of him. He finally gives up the chase, opting instead to report the situation to his boss. The syndicate leader is furious to learn of Aquaman's involvement. That his underling has failed to remove the aquatic hero as a threat only adds fuel to his fury. The word goes out. A price is put on Aquaman's head. As Aquaman slowly recovers, a shaft of light pierces the basement darkness, followed by the sound of footsteps.
The lights come up. Aquaman finds himself face to face with an attractive brunette. One who is very puzzled to discover the Sea King in her basement. Aquaman reveals that he witnessed a murder, and that he, himself, has been targeted for execution. He gives the woman a personal note, instructing her to deliver it to the head of the local police's homicide division, personally. Long out of water, Aquaman finds himself growing weaker by the second. He exits the woman's home and makes his way back to the sea. On the street, he is recognized by a passing lowlife, who draws down on the aquatic hero. The man gets one missed shot off before Aquaman can subdue him. The commotion attracts more criminals looking to cash in on the reward for killing Aquaman. He is attacked by two more men. In his weakened state, it is all Aquaman can do to triumph over his attackers. He continues to push onward to the ocean. Stumbling down an alley, on the verge of unconsciousness, Aquaman is again assaulted by two more thugs. Meanwhile, in the decaying village of Eldfur, Aqualad's captors remove him from his dungeon cell. The purpose of his captivity soon to be revealed. Back on the streets of the surface world, Aquaman's strength gives out. Though he fights back valiantly, he has been too long out of water and is brought down by the two would-be killers.
As one man levels his gun on Aquaman, preparing to execute the Sea King, the second man, suddenly, violently, disarms him. Declaring that the reward for killing Aquaman rightfully belongs to him, he attacks the gunman. A vicious struggle breaks out between the two men. While they trade blows, Aquaman slips away. Within moments, Aquaman has reached the waterfront, and dives into the sea. His strength and vitality instantly return to him. He begins to resume the search for his missing wife. Meanwhile, in Eldfur, Aqualad's captors take him to the outskirts of the village. Forcing him to march out into an open valley, armed only with a spear, Aqualad soon finds himself face-to-face with the oceanic leviathan, known only as "The Bugala". It is clear that the men of Eldfur expect Aqualad to slay the monster. Back in the surface world, the young brunette woman delivers Aquaman's message to the head of homicide. Her action though does not go unnoticed. Back on the street, she is abducted, at gun point, by a particularly unsavory "gentleman". Out at sea, Aquaman's conscience gets the better of him. He decides to suspend the search for his wife for a brief interval, until he can resolve the situation back in the city. Returning to the surface world, Aquaman is immediately attacked by the same two men who nearly killed him in the alley. The life giving waters of the ocean, however, have completely reinvigorated the Sea King. It is a very different Aquaman the city's criminal element now faces. This time, they haven't got a chance.
"Underworld Reward! (Part I of II)"Edit
- Mera (In flashback only)
- Aquababy (In flashback only)
- Bugala (First Appearance)
- Max (Single Appearance)
- Redman (Single Appearance)
- Reynolds (First Appearance)