|"The Traders' Trap"|
|First Published:||August, 1970|
|Previous Issue:||Aquaman #51|
|Next Issue:||Aquaman #53|
"The Traders' Trap"Edit
After being attacked by aliens, Aquaman found himself transported to an unknown dimension. In the course of his search for a way back home, Aquaman picked up a female traveling companion, an inhabitant of "The City". With no answers to be found in "The City", Aquaman escaped into "The Wilderness". Following a telepathic impulse, Aquaman, and the woman, discovered a colony of primitives. The woman's self-righteous judgement on these "sinful" villagers instigated a violent incident. One that embroiled Aquaman, and the woman, into pitched combat with the primitives. Into this conflict comes a new threat. Telepathic slave traders, intent on filling quotas, focus on Aquaman, and the woman, as they hold their own against the entire colony. Duly impressed, the slave traders project a force bubble around Aquaman, and his companion, to bring them onboard their ship. The slave traders' bubble is not merely a means of transport, but also paralyzes the individuals within. Aquaman, and the woman, are placed in glass cylinders for storage, as the slave traders head for home. Using every last vestige of his will, Aquaman manages to resist the paralysis enough to move one arm. He breaks free from the glass cylinder, and finds he is able to move freely again. The slave traders attempt to subdue Aquaman, but they are no physical match for the King of the Seas. With the slave traders unconscious at his feet, Aquaman next commandeers their vessel, piloting it back to the primitives' colony.
The slave traders begin to regain consciousness, forcing Aquaman to abandon the woman from "The City", while he escapes back to the primitives' colony. Still intent on following the telepathic pull coming from inside the colony, Aquaman again engages the villagers in combat. This time, they get the better of him, and render Aquaman unconscious. Meanwhile, in Atlantis, Queen Mera is in council with her chief advisor, Vulko, and Aqualad. The manta ship, signature vessel of Aquaman's nemesis, the Black Manta, has been circling Atlantis for several hours. From a view screen within the royal chamber, they watch as three men exit the manta ship, and descend to the ocean floor. At that moment, Aquaman is being dragged away, to his execution, by the primitives. He awakes to find himself passing the exact point where the telepathic pull is the strongest. He struggles against his captors, while, in Atlantis, Mera, frustrated and in despair, begins crying out for her husband. Aquaman suddenly finds himself growing. His size quickly dwarfs the primitives, and still he grows. Aquaman continues to grow until he finds himself bursting out of a ring worn on Mera's finger. Aquaman surmises that the, clearly, microscopic universe he was thrust into, by the aliens, exists entirely inside Mera's ring. Somehow, her great desire for his return was enough to pull him out of the ring world. With the manta ship still circling Atlantis, Aquaman opens a line of communication to the vessel. It's time to find out just what it is the Black Manta wants.
"Never Underestimate a Deadman"Edit
Deadman, traveling between dimensions with the Sddire, Tatsinda, returns home. As he re-emerges into his own dimension, he finds himself standing next to the Ocean Master. Deadman recollects that it was the Ocean Master who had enlisted the aid of aliens, bent on world domination, to eliminate Aquaman, once and for all. The Ocean Master planted several devices, around the world, for the aliens. In return, the aliens reduced Aquaman to subatomic size, exiling the Atlantean king to a universe held within his wife's ring. When Deadman had attempted to possess the body of the Ocean Master, a mental block broke down, releasing Ocean Master's suppressed memories regarding his true relationship to Aquaman. They were, in fact, brothers. The Ocean Master raced to warn his brother of the impending alien attack on his person. Deadman, meanwhile, focused on thwarting the alien's plan for world domination. A course of action which resulted in Deadman being banished to the home dimension of the Sddire, by the Sddire. Now, back on Earth, Deadman discovers that Ocean Master's warning came too late to save Aquaman. Deadman takes possession of Ocean Master's body, and makes for the alien vessel. Having no reason to suspect treachery from their human ally, the aliens welcome the Deadman possessed Ocean Master onboard their ship. Having successfully infiltrated the alien's camp, Deadman, through Ocean Master, begins pumping the aliens for information. If not stopped, the aliens' machine will quarter the mental acuity of Earth's entire population, making them docile and easy to enslave.
Deadman, as Ocean Master, lashes out at one of the aliens, then leaps into the body of another. The aliens, however, have experience in dealing with non-entities like Deadman. To a man, each of the aliens' minds locks down, preventing Deadman from possessing any of the aliens. Using the aliens' ship to pinpoint the location of all the devices that Ocean Master planted, Deadman circles the globe, possessing local fauna, at each location, to destroy each device. Deadman, however, needs a body to destroy the alien ship. He travels to Atlantis to enlist the help of Aquaman,who is still trapped inside his wife's ring. The aliens used amplified brainwaves to send Aquaman into the subatomic ring world. Deadman surmises that if he can just get Mera to concentrate strongly enough on her husband, she can pull him out of the ring dimension. The attempt succeeds, but it's already past the time that the aliens had planned to implement their device. When nothing happens, Deadman races back to the aliens' ship, just in time to see it ascending erratically to the surface. The Sddire, it seems, sabotaged the aliens' device, causing it to backfire on them, robbing them of a quarter of their own mental acuity. They are left with barely enough intellect to pilot their craft back to their home planet. The Sddire wanders away from Deadman, chastising the ghostly guardian for not paying her more attention, regardless of what body she happens to be wearing.