|"Underworld Reward! (Part II of II)"|
|First Published:||June, 1969|
|Previous Issue:||Aquaman #44|
|Next Issue:||Aquaman #46|
"Underworld Reward! (Part II of II)"Edit
Aquaman is on the waterfront, beating down two would-be assassins. Aquaman interrogates the first man to regain consciousness. The man doesn't know who put the price on Aquaman's head, but he does give up the name of a go-between, who is in charge of the pay out. In disguise, Aquaman journeys to a seedy dive bar, taking a seat near his quarry. Eavesdropping on the man's conversation with another lowlife, Aquaman learns the young woman, that he tasked with informing the police about a murder, has been abducted. Aquaman tails the kidnapper to a warehouse. There, from the skylight, he finds the woman, tied to a chair, being threatened by three hoods. Aquaman leaps down, attacking the woman's abductors. Despite the addition of two other criminals to the melee, the fight is brief. Aquaman escorts the woman uptown, to a safe haven,
Back in disguise, Aquaman returns to the bar. Confronting the go-between, Aquaman ushers the man outside, into the alley behind the bar. Aquaman physically coerces the name and location of the syndicate boss, who has marked him for death, out of the go-between. Meanwhile, in a valley outside the decaying village of Eldfur, Aqualad, wielding only a spear, is forced into a confrontation with a monstrous creature, known only as "The Bugala". Aqualad is quickly disarmed by the creature, and finds himself on the defensive, struggling to just stay alive. Back on the surface, Aquaman approaches an abandoned subway entrance, the first marker leading to the syndicate leader's underground hideout. Making his way down below, Aquaman finds the entrance to the secret headquarters. Quickly, he takes down the two guards posted outside the entryway. The commotion alerts the syndicate leader, who takes it upon himself to rub out Aquaman, personally. During their fierce confrontation, Aquaman and his adversary come crashing into the next room, which houses an enormous machine. In subduing the syndicate boss, the machine is accidentally activated. The scientist working the machine informs Aquaman that if he can't get it under control, they'll all die in a terrible explosion.
As the scientist sets about bringing his machine under control, the revived guards enter and attack Aquaman. While Aquaman subdues the guards, once more, the scientist, in his frenzy, accidentally electrocutes himself. With little time to spare, Aquaman races out, desperately searching for a means of escape. No sooner does he discover a window that, surprisingly, leads to the ocean, then he is sent crashing through it by the first explosion. Somewhat stunned, Aquaman is in no shape to avoid a rapidly forming, artificial, whirlpool. One that has, apparently, been generated by the scientist's machine. Caught in the vortex, Aquaman is helpless, as he is spun around at faster and faster speeds. Dizzy and on the verge of unconsciousness, Aquaman is unable to pull away from the vortex. A second, much more massive explosion, erupts out of the underwater fortress. The force of the blast dissipates the whirlpool, freeing Aquaman, but also hurtling him at incredible speed into the ocean depths. Aquaman passes out. When he awakens, he finds himself, somehow, on the beach. More surprising than his location, is the figure that kneels over him, tending to his injuries. It is Mera, his, long ago, abducted wife. Believing himself to be hallucinating, Aquaman, once more, lapses into unconsciousness.