Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Justice League Lore: Early Days of Mera

Behind every good man is a good woman, and Aquaman is no exception, having as his support, the love of his life, Queen Mera.
But, how did these two first meet, and eventually find true love?

These are the tales.....

The Doom From Dimension Aqua

Mera first met Aquaman in Aquaman #11 (September-October, 1963) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy, when the queen was exiled from her home dimension.  Mera had "hard water" powers (the ability to make water solid, and manipulate it to do her bidding), but those powers faded soon after she arrived in the oceans of Earth after an encounter with an oil tanker.  Mera was pursued by Xebel, who was the leader of the rebels who were against the queen, and even with the help of his sidekick, Aqualad, and mystical imp, Quisp, Aquaman was unable to prevent being captured (along with Mera and Aqualad), and taken back to her home dimension under Xebel.  Aquaman uses his power to communicate with fish to get help to escape, and the three return to Earth, where Aquaman figures out that oil removes the powers of those from Mera's dimension, and uses against Xebel and his forces, which allows Mera to return to her throne on her world.

Invasion Of The Giant Reptiles

Aquaman #13 (January-Februrary, 1964) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy has Mera's next appearance, but it isn't just for second date.

Mera (as well as some prehistoric creatures) are brought into the oceans of Earth due to a time warp opened by an undersea earthquake, where she has to help Aquaman fend off the giant reptiles...

....who are being controlled by criminals from the future with a mind control ray, who then turn the ray on Mera, who battles Aquaman for a time, but Aquaman turns the tables and gets both the prehistoric reptiles and futuristic criminals to their home times.

The Tyrant Ruler Of Atlantis

Aquaman was always a bit hard headed, but in Aquaman #14 (March-April, 1964) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy, it was proven that Aquaman was not hard headed enough. 

A head injury to Aquaman made him think that he was the king of Atlantis, so Mera and Aqualad took him to Atlantis for treatment, and in honor of his usually good deeds, the Atlanteans played along, until Aquaman became increasingly cruel. 

They place him in a watery prison, which Aquaman tries to escape from, hitting his head again, which seems to restore Aquaman's usually benevolent behavior, and clears him of the delusion that he was currently king of Atlantis.

Menace Of The Man-Fish

Aquaman #15 (May-June, 1964) with art by Nick Cardy, finds Aquaman and Aqualad helping scientist Dr. Deering with a formula of his that will allow surface men to breathe underwater, but the doctor is caught in an explosion which unhinges the man, as well as allowing him the ability to breathe underwater.

Deering uses a machine against Aquaman and Aqualad, capturing Aquaman as he tries to prevent the doctor from hijacking a ship.

Mera arrives to save Aquaman, and the pair stop Deering and his machine, whose powers and insanity wear off, and he can be taken in for treatment.

The Duel Of The Sea Queens

Mera has some competition for Aquaman in Aquaman #16 (July-August, 1964) by Nick Cardy, as Aquaman chooses to spend time with Sirene instead of Mera (and Aqualad). 

But, it is proven that that wasn't Aquaman who was getting rid of his old friends, but Rovere, Sirene's brother, who had shape-changed into Aquaman, and Mera has to rescue the original Aquaman while Aqualad finds out that the two aliens hadn't meant any harm.  Stellor (yet another of the alien race), arrives to capture Aquaman, Mera and Aqualad, and releases them in capsules into space.  Luckily, Aquaman is able to get back to the ship, overpower Stellor, find his friends and return to Earth, giving the ship to Sirene and Rovere.

The Man Who Vanquished Aquaman

Turnabout is fair play, and in Aquaman #17 (September-October, 1964) by Nick Cardy, Aquaman has to fend off a suitor for Mera, this time, the Olympian god, Poseidon, who has time-traveled to the present to claim Mera as his bride, threatening Mera's home dimension if she does not comply.

Aquaman follows the pair back in time, and gets Zeus' help in defeating Poseidon in a contest.  Being a sore loser, Poseidon takes Mera back to the present, with Aquaman following, and Aquaman rescuing Poseidon when he breaks his magic trident. 

Poseidon realizes the error of his ways, and returns to his own time, without Mera.

The Wife Of Aquaman

With Aquaman #18 (November-December, 1964) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy, Aquaman and Mera both find their lives changed forever.  With the death of Juvor, the king of Atlantis, the Atlanteans elect Aquaman to be their king, with the provision that Aquaman take an Atlantean woman as his bride (and their queen).  Aquaman rescues Mera from Oceanus, a renegade from Mera's dimension, learning that she left her home dimension to be with Aquaman (and Oceanus had removed her powers).  Aquaman tells Mera he cannot marry her, but the brokenhearted Mera flees before she can be told why.  Mera finds Oceanus instead, who convinces her to be his queen, then conquers Atlantis, throwing Aquaman into prison.  Aquaman escapes, confronting Oceanus at his wedding to Mera, where Oceanus nearly wins, but Mera saves Aquaman, proclaiming her love for him  Aquaman then wins, exiling Oceanus, and becoming king of Atlantis.  In honor of her help, the people of Atlantis make Mera an honorary Atlantean, which allows Aquaman to marry her, with his friends from the Justice League of America (as well as Aqualad, and his friend Robin, who had recently formed the Teen Titans), in attendance.

Aquaman and Mera have many ups and downs over the years, but eventually are able to put their problems behind them and work together, with only Aquaman #18 of the above reprinted in full-sized and in color, in Aquaman: A Celebration of 75 Years.  Let us hope the upcoming Aquaman movie inspired DC to swim through their vault, and unleash the treasures of Nick Cardy art, including the introduction of Mera (and later, the quest for Mera as well....with art by Jim Aparo).

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