Retro Review: Sub-Mariner #72

As promised, here I am to write about the second part of the DC/Marvel crossover begun in DC’s Aquaman # 56.  That story was cover dated April 1971, and the second and final part of the story took place in Marvel’s Sub-Mariner # 72, cover dated September 1974.  Yep, it took three years to finally complete.  The writer, Steve Skeates had in that time moved over to Marvel Comics and was asked to write a Sub-Mariner story.  His artist for the issue were Dan Adkins, serving as the penciller and Vince Colletta providing the inks.  Skeates decided to transform his unused, or at least unresolved, Aquaman plot into a Sub-Mariner story!  Hey they were both aquatic super-heroes, weren’t they?

The story in Sub-Mariner # 72 picks up the action, right where Aquaman # 56left off, and it even recaps the plot by showing an unidentified finger, but clearly, it’s Aquaman’s gloved finger, even though the glove is colored blue, rather than green, on a satellite destruct button!

Without much of an explaination, it seems that destroying the satellite somehow created another underwater slime creature.  And instead of Aquaman, in Lake Erie (remember he was in Detroit in his book) discovering that he’s lost his ability to breathe underwater and his telepathic powers, it’s the Sub-Mariner, in the ocean, discovering that becuase of the creature Aquaman inadvertently created, he’s lost his ability to see!  Don’t give it too much thought or your brain might explode!

But, hey, no problem, the Savage Sub-Mariner, just punches out blindly.  Needless to say, every ounce of Subby’s power is quite enough to defeat the creature that had been created by another company’s underwater hero!  Later in the comic he even gets his sight back and frankly that’s how the comic ends!  It took three plus years to bring the plot to fruition and that’s how it ends?  Rather anti-climatic if you ask me!!!

But in an ironic twist of fate, just like the first part of the story in Aquaman # 56, was in the last issue of Aquaman’s Silver Age comic book, the second part ran in Sub-Mariner # 72, which was the last issue of that title, as well !  Hmmn, I wonder if Steve knew that when he decided to wrap up his three year old DC story???

On the whole I really can’t recommend either book, but for the shear novelty of one of the first, if not very first, DC/Marvel crossovers, I also give this comic two (2) out of five (5) Legion Flight Rings!  Adkins art, with Colletta art never really does it for me and frankly without the knowledge that this was a continuance of the Aquaman story, it really ended Sub-Mariner’s SIlver Age, plus, run with a whimper, rather than a bang!

About Greg Turner

Greg Turner (@gregturner16) is Back to the Past’s archivist and an auctioneer. He writes the columns “Fabulous Finds” and “Retro Reviews” on alternating weeks for the website and spins classic 45′s each week for Vinyl Tuesdays.

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