Superman and Aquaman team up to investigate why and how the octopuses have evolved into super-creatures in "Eight Arms of Conquest."
Eight Arms of Conquest
Aquaman responds to the telepathic death screams of hundreds of fish. He finds an experimental S.T.A.R. Labs project on site, designed to lower the oxygen and salt content of seawater. Summoning pods of dolphins and whales, Aquaman commands them to carry the stricken fish out of the afflicted waters. En route to S.T.A.R. Labs to file a formal complaint, Aquaman is attacked by an octopus. Not only is the octopus able to resist Aquaman's telepathic commands, but it counters with a telepathic assault of it's own. Suddenly, the surrounding seas are filled with the strange octopi. Aquaman is overwhelmed by their combined telepathic attack. Superman delivers a specimen of extraterrestrial marine life to S.T.A.R. Labs new marine biology center. Aquaman, glowing, crashes through the wall and attacks the lead scientist, Doctor Pierre Marche. Superman attempts to restrain Aquaman, only to get punched to the floor. A blast of super-breath throws Aquaman into the wall, but does little to slow Aquaman, Superman steels himself for another hit, when Aquaman, having acceded his hour limit out of water, collapses. Superman activates the sprinkler system with his heat vision. The life giving waters have the dual effect of reviving Aquaman, and also clearing his mind. Aquaman recounts his battle with the mutated octopi. The S.T.A.R. Labs project to re-create primordial conditions in the oceans, coupled with recent nuclear testing has apparently evolved the indigenous octopi. Superman and Aquaman leave to deal with the threat. Unbeknownst to them, Marche follows, not content to allow an opportunity for scientific research to pass. Superman and Aquaman find the octopi, now even more evolved, using their telepathic power to command fish to dredge up the seabed.
Attacked by the octopi, Aquaman summons their natural enemy, eels, to force the octopi back. Aquaman and the octopi begin a telepathic duel for command of the fish. Superman uses his super-breath to propel the fish out of the combat zone, before the conflicting telepathic stress kills them all. Arriving in a small submersible, Marche interferes on behalf of the octopi, quickly falling under their sway. Marche fires on Superman and Aquaman. Superman disables Marche's submarine, while Aquaman takes down the octopus controlling Marche. Turbulence generated by the conflict uncovers an alien vessel, buried beneath the sea floor. The octopi turn out not to be highly evolved at all, but of an entirely extraterrestrial species. Summoning his pet octopus, Topo, Aquaman sets up a telepathic bridge between Topo and the aliens, allowing them to communicate with Superman and Aquaman. The death of their star forced them to seek out a new world to live upon. Arriving on Earth in the distant past, they found the ever changing chemical make-up of Earth's oceans devolved them to a primitive state. S.T.A.R. Labs experiments restored the octopi to their former selves. Now bent on world conquest, the octopi stun Superman into neural catatonia. Aquaman struggles valiantly against the octopi. In a last desperate move, Aquaman takes telepathic control of Superman's motor systems. Aquaman uses Superman's heat vision to flush the leader of the octopi out of the space craft, then has Superman carry the creature out of the ocean. Their dreams of conquest foiled, the octopi are loaded back into their space craft. Superman, once recovered, carries the octopi to a more suitable world, one without an indigenous population.
Whatever Happened to the Black Pirate and Son?
Jon Valor dreams of the day his son, Justin, was slain by Spanish conquistadors. Torn from his slumber, his wife, Bonita, tries to comfort him. On the day of his son's death, Valor revealed his identity as the Black Pirate to the King of England. The same day he retired that identity. Now, years later, the Minister of War presses Valor to take up the mantle of the Black Pirate once more, in service to the crown. The Black Pirate puts a crew together, and sets sail for a Dutch port in the Netherlands. Acting on information gathered from his spies, the Black Pirate investigates the potential connection between the Dutch and the pirates plundering England's ships. The Dutch port is filled with the King's enemies, Puritans. The Black Pirate attempts to discern the connection between piracy and the Puritans, running headlong into his son, Justin. The Puritans found Justin, half-dead and amnesiac, washed up on their coast. Nursed back to health, by the time Justin's memories returned he had become a Puritan. Rather than face his parents with the news of his conversion, Justin chose to remain "dead'. Justin leads the pirates his father has come looking for, plundering English merchant vessels to garner money for the Puritans. Money to fund their long journey to America, where they will be free of England's religious intolerance. English Men-of-War are sighted on the horizon, under the command of the Minister of War. Having only just been reunited with his son, the Black Pirate fights on Justin's side, against England. After cannon fire sinks the flagship, the rest of the fleet turns away, in defeat. The Minister of War reaches shore, only to be disarmed, and turned over to the Dutch authorities, by the Black Pirate. Justin puts on the traditional garb of the Puritans, says goodbye to his father, and sets sail for America. In a roundabout way, the Black Pirate has still ended the threat of the pirates to England's waters, thus fulfilling his mission.
- "Eight Arms of Conquest!" written by Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn, penciled by Irv Novick, inked by Frank McLaughlin, colored by Gene D'Angelo and lettered by Ben Oda.
- S.T.A.R. Labs Marine Biology Center is located at the Metropolis Harbor.
- "Whatever Happened to the Black Pirate and Son?" written by Roy Thomas, penciled, inked and lettered by Alfredo Alcala and colored by Carl Gafford.