Cut off his hand! That’ll make it much harder to laugh at him.
Writer Peter David did excellent work rehabilitating Aquaman’s character into a truly formidable, kingly figure, and one of his earlier steps was having Aquaman lose a hand in somewhat ironic fashion in Aquaman #2.
The issue itself is fairly standard stuff until the end, but it’s executed well. Aquaman and his friend Dolphin (a woman named Dolphin, not an actual dolphin, though he does have friends who are dolphins, too, of course…) are captured by an unhinged villain who wants to steal his powers. They get free, and Aquaman confronts the guy on land, near piranha-infested water.
Earlier in the issue, David clears up a misconception. Aquaman doesn’t control fish—he communicates with them. They’re independent creatures, so whether they obey him is another matter.
Aquaman is king of the seas, but that doesn’t mean his kingdom can’t hurt him. This issue’s development leaves him with a constant physical, visual reminder of his vulnerability…but also his toughness in becoming stronger after the loss.
I didn’t start reading this Aquaman series until later, but I’m guessing this had to be a genuinely shocking ending when it first came out, especially when it wasn’t immediately fixed the next issue…or in the next several years.
This isn’t the Superfriends’ Aquaman.
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Marty Egeland
Inker: Brad Vancata
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology
Appropriate For: ages 12 and up