11 January 2016

Aquaman #85 - "A Night Off"

Aquaman #85 - "A Night Off"

Ever wonder what would happen if you let your thoughts get you distracted? Aquaman thought as he finally broke into a section of the neighborhood that had streetlights. He had absolutely no clue where he was, and he could tell there was no water near. Maybe next time I won't trick Rayner into taking my Watchtower shift. He had beaten Green Lantern in a best out of three battle of paper, rock, scissors, causing the young Leaguer to have to take Arthur's Monitor Duty. He had planned on returning back to Atlantis to try to recuperate after these hectic last few days. Not only was Atlantis attacked by the U.S. after being mistaken for a hidden enemy, he learned he had another son, Seren aka Aquaboy, and he had joined up with the Teen Titans. And to top it off Aquaman knew that Luthor had something brewing, he just couldn't put his finger on it.*

*See the last few issues.-Kelen

He had just walked alone for a couple of hours with those thoughts dominating his head, and he became so distracted that he had wound up here. "Except I have no idea where here is," he mumbled. He sighed and decided to go into a neighboring bar; at least he could get a beer.

As he entered, all eyes fell upon him. Some recognized him, others just quickly disregarded him. Arthur strode over to the bar, nodding his head to the other patrons who were staring. Satisfied, they returned to their plates of food. Aquaman smirked as he signaled the bartender. "Coors Light," he said in a gruff tone. The bartender nodded and went to fulfill the Sea King's request. "By the way, I'm a little lost, where am I?" he asked. A built, bald, motorcycle buff turned and looked hard at the hero.

"Oh you're in Gandolf, about an hour away from New York City," he said rather nicely. "By the way, my name is Herb Rogers, and I love your jacket," the biker smiled. Aquaman could only lean away.

"Thanks, I think," Arthur said as he took a drink of his newly arrived beer. This isn't so bad. I could get used to a life of beer and peanuts. He looked up at the television. And there's nothing wrong with The Man Show. He actually started to think this might not be so bad. That was when somebody new walked into the bar. He approached the seat just behind Aquaman, who paid him little attention. The man leaned close to Arthur.

"Nice weather we're having tonight," the man said. Aquaman whirled around. "Oh didn't mean to scare ya there pal, I'm Alexander," he extended his hand. The Sea King reluctantly shook it. "So where you from, stranger?" The Leaguer took a large swig of beer and rolled his eyes.

"Nearby," Alexander nodded readily. He took a drink of his glass of water and straightened his tie.

"Wow, me too! Maybe we should stop by to see each other sometime?" Alexander suggested as he put a hand on Arthur's back. He knocked the guy's hand off and looked hard at him.

"Look, I'm not that way, so you need to quit hitting on me!" he whispered harshly.

"Don't you know what type of bar this is?" Alexander asked. Arthur shook his head. "It's a gay singles bar," Aquaman put his hands to his head.

"It figures," he said as he finished his beer. Leaving the money on the bar, he turned to leave when Alexander called after him.

"Don't forget to call me!" Arthur just slammed the door, shattering the glass in the process.

"Contact sighted. Recommendation?" a mysterious figure around Aquaman's build asked into his communicator.

"Follow him, but do nothing without further instruction," the voice responded, its true sound distorted greatly. He nodded and cut the link. Watching Arthur go for another 200 feet or so, he silently bounded after him. It looks as if Aquaman is lost. Maybe I better knock some sense into him.

Arthur whipped around quickly, ready for a fight. Nothing. Damn bar, got me jumpy. Can't believe I just walked in there like a fool. Maybe it's time I head back to the Watchtower. Monitor Duty can't be near as bad as this. He stopped into a convenience store and soon came back out with a Dr. Pepper. "So what's it gonna be, Arthur?" he asked himself as he continued on.

"That's what I'd like to know!" the figure shouted as he leaped into Aquaman's path. The hero steadied himself and turned his hand into a trident. "You think that little poker can hurt me?" With Flash-like speed his hand whipped out and backhanded the Sea King away. "Bah!" A few feet away, Arthur was getting back to his feet.

"I don't know who you are, or what you want, but nobody does that and gets away with it!" Aquaman yelled as he attacked the villain. The two were evenly matched blow for blow, with each scoring hits. Finally the mystery man slammed his leg into Arthur's chest, sending him dazed to the ground. The Sea King tried to regain himself as he smirked down on him.

"All you need to know fool, is that I am Gauntlet, and I will be the instrument of your death," He produced a spear and proceeded to twirl it. "Ready to die?" he asked. Aquaman rolled away and was back to his feet. "Oh, so you still have some fight in you? Good." He attacked Arthur again as he had little trouble hitting home with his spear. Aquaman was mounting little offense and was taking a bad beating. Finally Gauntlet grew tired of this and kicked him against a wooden structure, which promptly collapsed. "Where is your fight, man? Where's that Sea King dignity now?" he screamed as Aquaman lay on the verge of passing out.

Rolling over, Arthur spit out blood coming from his busted lip and rubbed the deep cut he had taken from the spear. Damn alcohol, it's messing with my perception. That's why I need to stay away from the cheap crap. Looking up, he could see Gauntlet screaming, but he couldn't hear him. Suddenly his world began to swirl.

"You puked on my shoes!" Gauntlet screamed at a hunched over Sea King. A swift kick to his head put Aquaman out of his misery. "And now it's time I have some fun!" He picked up the fallen hero and headed into the darkness with him.

Minutes later, Gauntlet awakened Aquaman with a sharp kick to his stomach. "Wake up, Aquaman. Time to die!" Arthur tried to take in his surroundings but all he saw was rocks. He achieved a sitting position against a wall and glared up at his captor.

"So how much poison on that spear did it take to put me down?" Gauntlet looked at him, stunned.

"How did you know?" he asked as he moved closer.

"I can handle my alcohol," Arthur mumbled faintly.

"What?" Gauntlet asked as he moved closer.

"I can handle my alcohol," he said a bit louder. But Gauntlet brought his head closer still. Seconds later, Aquaman was bashing his skull into his knee. Gauntlet fell in a heap. "You must not be familiar with my bloodstream friend," he calmly said as he strode over to his downed foe. "That poison was nothing I couldn't shake off," he explained.

Gauntlet launched himself up and caught Arthur square in the head with his right leg. "You may be able to take a little poison, but let's see how you do against a real problem, fish," Gauntlet taunted. He lashed out, catching Aquaman across his chin twice. The Sea King retaliated with some crushing blows of his own. Now's my chance to finish him off, he thought as he closed in. Gauntlet whirled around with a 2x4 and nailed Aquaman across the chest, sending him down. He moved in on his quarry and was suddenly using heat vision, catching Arthur completely off guard. "Didn't know I could do that, did ya?" he proudly boasted. "By the way, Lex said to get in a few hits for that chair you ruined."

Aquaman quickly jumped to his feet and landed two solid blows across Gauntlet's face. Not wanting to give him time to breathe, Aquaman landed two more direct hits before he hit the ground. Gauntlet lay there, unable to collect himself. "Tell Lex I enjoyed every moment of it too," He lifted Gauntlet up by his shirt and looked into his dazed eyes. "Just because you got the power, doesn't mean experience isn't still gonna whip your ass," With that he elbowed him in the face, sending his body limp. Aquaman stood up and looked at their path of destruction. "Couple of half-destroyed buildings, downed trees…not bad for your first time," After gathering himself, he drug Gauntlet from the cave to the street.

He waved for a cab, surprised that cabs even knew were this place was. After one pulled in and Arthur explained the situation, he gently pricked Gauntlet with his poison spear as to assure his cooperation. As the taxi sped off with the prisoner in tow, Aquaman sighed. "I knew damn well I could handle more than one beer. If I can out drink Superman, I can hold one beer,"* He looked at his surroundings and remembered his Dr. Pepper he had left behind, and it was still there. Taking a long swallow, he looked at the stars. "So which is it: back to Atlantis or back to the Watchtower," he pondered out loud.

*From the infamous "JLA: Drinking Night"-Wait N See Kelen

"Or back home with me," a familiar voice chipped in. Aquaman turned around and gave Alexander a love tap across his chin.

"Enough to make you sleep the rest of the night," He headed down the street back towards New York City. "I think I'll go find a regular bar," With that he was gone.

"Was the target terminated? Answer my question!" the angry voice screamed into the phone. Silence.

"Well sir," they finally started. "No. Aquaman managed to escape and Gauntlet is in custody," Luthor slammed the phone down on the receiver.

"Damn fish, always ruining the best-laid plans," Lex complained as he sat back in his chair. But then a smile crossed his lips as he remembered the true goals he was working for - goals that would soon come to light. "Have your fun now, Sea King, but when the time comes, you will feel my wrath!" He then regained his composure and went back to reading the many documents spread on his desk.


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