|"The Haunted Sea"|
|First Published:||October, 1962|
|Previous Issue:||Aquaman #4|
|Next Issue:||Aquaman #6|
"The Haunted Sea"Edit
On the hunt for missing ships, Aquaman and Aqualad are astonished to see an immense hand, comprised of ocean water, dragging a cargo ship beneath the waves. Diving down after the ship, they find it has vanished.
Suddenly, they themselves are caught in the fluid fist and feel themselves being transported away. They find themselves in a strange underwater world, imprisoned in glass capsules. Breaking free, they set about exploring this new world.
Almost immediately, Aqualad steps into a trap. With his legs immobilized, Aqualad finds that the giant clam shell he is within is slowly closing about him. Aquaman stops the shell from sealing shut around Aqualad, then sets the boy free. Warning Aqualad to keep a sharp eye out for traps, the pair soon discover the missing ships, their crews also encased in glass capsules. Aqualad races to free them, but Aquaman stops him. The capsules are full of air. If the men are released from their prisons, they will quickly drown. A rescue plan cannot be formulated until they can learn more about their surroundings.
Continuing their explorations, the pair are ambushed by two men in anachronistic attire. Aquaman and Aqualad easily defeat the dastardly pair, only to find themselves assailed by a third man, whose weapon fires a beam that pins the duo against the rocks. Despite being at a disadvantage, Aquaman begins furiously questioning this new foe. The old bearded man has quite a tale to tell.
Turning his weapon on the crews of the missing ships, Aquaman is astonished to see them begin to grow. As they expand in size, they begin to fade from view. Now, Aquaman understands the nature of this place. They are in a microscopic world. By returning the ship's crews to their normal size, they have been released back into their world.
The old man explains that the fantastic world Aquaman and Aqualad find themselves trapped in, exists in a single drop of water. One of the other men managed to construct a device that allowed them to bring others into their world. The old man identifies himself as Baron Dubois. He, and his men, were imprisoned in the water droplet by an evil sorcerer, called Merder, then cast into the sea. As their new world falls into the ocean, Merder offers Baron Dubois a solution to his dilemma. There is a vial of elixir, deep beneath the sea, sealed inside Red Coral Mountain. Consuming it will transform Baron Dubois, and his men, back into air breathers.
Aquaman offers to retrieve the vial for Baron Dubois. He and Aqualad are released back into their world, where they find the crews of the missing ships, bobbing about in the ocean. Summoning a pod of sperm whales, Aquaman commands them to carry the men back to shore. Aquaman and Aqualad make their way to Red Coral Mountain.
Following ocean currents, the pair find the secret entrance into the mountain. The passage is ringed with sharp coral spikes, which begin to close, as Aquaman and Aqualad proceed down the tunnel. Swimming as fast as they can, they barely escape a horrible death by impaling. The passageway, however, is now completely blocked off behind them. They are trapped in the chamber which holds the vial of elixir.
Aquaman summons a group of octopi to the mouth of the tunnel. The octopi feed an anchor chain to Aquaman, using the strong current to carry it down to the trapped heroes. Aquaman secures the anchor chain to two giant clam shells, which the octopi then drag back up, shattering the coral spines as it ascends. Vial in hand, Aquaman and Aqualad are brought back into the water droplet prison world of Baron Dubois. It is only after Baron Dubois takes possession of the elixir from Aquaman that he reveals that he is, in fact, the evil wizard, Merder, imprisoned centuries ago by a heroic mage.
Intending to maroon Aquaman and Aqualad in the water droplet world, Merder sets about growing his men out of the microscopic prison. Aquaman and Aqualad quickly dive into the expansion beam, though, before Merder can stop them, gaining access back to their world. Merder is right behind them, though. Through the power of his magical thundering rod, Merder usurps Aquaman's command of sea life, sending a pair of killer whales after Aquaman and Aqualad. The pair evade the orcas, only to find themselves assailed by octopi.
Using makeshift vines made of seaweed, Aquaman binds the octopi. He's barely had time to immobilize the octopi, though, before a school of swordfish are bearing down upon him. Gathering planks of floating driftwood, Aquaman and Aqualad block the piercing attacks of the swordfish. Summoning a torpedo ray, Aquaman instructs it to shock one of the swordfish, opening up a gap in the school, that allows Aquaman and Aqualad to race to a nearby islet.
Out of the ocean, the pair are safe from the swordfish, however, the swordfish are quick to surround the small landmass, leaving Aquaman and Aqualad with no way back into the ocean. Aquaman notices that one swordfish no longer seems to be following Merder's commands. It is the one that was stung by the torpedo ray. The shock apparently freed it from Merder's control. Summoning a school of torpedo rays, Aquaman orders them to shock the swordfish, releasing them from Merder's sway.
Aquaman and Aqualad are able to easily evade the stunned swordfish, returning to the ocean. Merder spies a ship on the horizon. His men urge him to attack it. Turning his magic on a passing whale shark, Merder orders it to ram the vessel. Instead it opens it's great maw, and out spring Aquaman and Aqualad. Surprised, Merder is too slow to react to the assault. Aquaman grabs the thundering rod, snapping it in two. Merder, and his men flee into the sea.
In their haste, the device that allows them passage back and forth to their microscopic prison is activated, returning them to the world inside the water droplet. Without the elixir to restore their ability to breathe oxygen, Merder has no choice but maintain his imprisonment, eventually, one day, to die of old age.
"The Haunted Sea"Edit
- Atlantic Ocean
- Red Coral Mountain