|First Published:||August, 1969|
|Previous Issue:||Aquaman #45|
|Next Issue:||Aquaman #47|
Due to severe injuries suffered during an explosion, Aquaman is rushed to a local hospital. While en route, Mera reflects on the past events that have brought them to this point. The Atlantean royal family had been enveloped in a mysterious whirlpool. Mera found herself cut off from her family. In shot order, Mera was abducted by Atlantean thieves, long ago exiled from the underwater city. Though she cried out to her husband for rescue, Aquaman was laid low, by a blow from one of her abductors. Mera's captors released her to a group of surface men, who took the Queen of Atlantis onboard their submarine. To Mera's astonishment, Narkran, the leader of Atlantis in the Royal family's absence, was revealed to have aided in her abduction. The long submarine journey to the surface left Mera in a weakened state, due to water deprivation. Arriving at an underwater fortress, Mera was deposited in a flooded cell and left to contemplate her fate for several hours. Within the fortress, the syndicate leader outlined his plan. Mera's ability to create hard water constructs coupled with the syndicate's artificial whirlpool generator would make any cargo vessel vulnerable to their pirating operation. To coerce Mera's cooperation, the syndicate boss led Mera to believe that her husband, Aquaman, was also a prisoner of the syndicate. She was given an ultimatum. Comply with the syndicate's demands or else Aquaman would suffer a slow, agonizing death.
Though Mera doubted that Aquaman was truly being held by the syndicate, she, nonetheless, agreed to their demands, not willing to risk her husband's life on a hunch. Days passed. Then, Mera became aware of a strange electronic sound, which was followed by her cell door sliding open. Stepping out into the corridor, Mera was surprised to find her captors nowhere in sight. Unbeknownst to Mera, Aquaman's struggle with the syndicate's goons had briefly shorted out the main electrical system, thus, inadvertently, freeing her. Mera raced through the cavernous fortress, searching for the submarine berth, and a way back to the sea. Encountering two syndicate thugs, Mera struck hard and fast, beating them quickly into submission, lest they bar her way to freedom. Finally, she located the moored submarine, and exited into the ocean. No sooner had Mera escaped into the sea then Aquaman came crashing out a fortress window, into the ocean, propelled by an explosion. Before Mera could reach him, Aquaman was enveloped in a rapidly forming whirlpool. Mera's efforts to extricate the Sea King from the vortex proved fruitless. A second, much greater explosion followed, dissipating the whirlpool, but sending the monarchs of Atlantis hurtling through the sea, at an extreme velocity.
Aquaman had been quickly rendered unconscious. Only by forming a hard water bubble around herself, had Mera been spared the same state. Mera extended her shield around Aquaman. Once they had ridden out the shock wave, Mera tended to her husband's injuries. Determining that his injuries were more severe than she was equipped to deal with, Mera carried Aquaman to the surface, and garnered medical assistance. Thus bringing her back to the present. Meanwhile, in Atlantis, a great unrest had befallen the underwater city. A recent sea quake had unsettled the populace. Making matters worse, Narkran's rule had descended into tyranny and madness. Aquagirl, at a loss for how to best deal with Narkran's despotism, finds herself investigating the shady movements of some of the Atlantean youth. Her investigation leads her straight into the middle of a brewing revolution, led by a young Atlantean named Mupo. Mupo has been slowly building his forces, and very soon, he plans to strike and overthrow the tyrant, Narkran. Aquagirl pleads with Mupo to consider the lives that will be lost during an insurrection, but Mupo will not be swayed. Soon enough, the revolution will come to Atlantis. Back on the surface, Aquaman has recovered from his injuries and relates tales of his search for her to Mera. Returning to the sea, Aquaman and Mera begin the long journey back to Atlantis. Aquaman intends to bring Narkran to justice, for his role in Mera's abduction. Despite the serious business that lay ahead of them, the monarchs of Atlantis are also looking forward to being reunited with their infant son, as well as Aqualad and Aquagirl. What they don't know is that, at that very moment, Aqualad is away from Atlantis, in the fight of his life against the oceanic leviathan known only as "The Bugala."