Return Of The Alien!
After consulting with the Atom, at a meeting of the Justice League of America, Aquaman prepares to return to the microscopic world within his wife Mera's ring. While previously trapped in the ring dimension, Aquaman had been forced to abandon a young woman to slave traders. This act has never sat well with the King of the Seas. Aquaman is determined to return to the ring dimension, and rescue his former traveling companion. As Mera maintains some form of psychic influence over the ring world, it is up to her to concentrate on finding the girl, and leading Aquaman to her. Once Vulko readies the Atom's device, Aquaman shrinks down to subatomic size and re-enters the ring dimension. Almost immediately, Aquaman in attacked by one of the giant, cyclopian amoebas that dwell in "The Wilderness". Aquaman chooses to flee rather than face the creature. Following Mera's telepathic pull, Aquaman is drawn to the slave trader's colony. Aquaman is attacked, just outside the colony, by a contingent of slave traders. Mera can sense her husband's peril, and it's all Vulko can do to stop her from willing Aquaman back out of the ring. Meanwhile, Aqualad attends a political rally being held by the Atlantean politician, Noxden. Noxden demands that Aquaman be replaced as KIng, for turning Atlanteans back into water breathers. Aquagirl, too, finds that the former insurrection leader, Mupo, agrees with Noxden's position. Atlanteans should return to being air breathers. By defying that idea, Aquaman has turned against the interests of the Atlantean people.
Aquaman is defeated by the slave traders, and taken prisoner. Sensing this dire turn of events, Mera concentrates on reviving Aquaman, and the Sea King awakes. Breaking loose from his captors, Aquaman quickly locates his quarry, the girl from "The City". He is surprised to find that she does not wish to be rescued. Though the slave traders do force her to work, they have also opened her mind. The prejudices she grew up with in "The City" have largely been abandoned. Besides, accompanying Aquaman into "The Wilderness" was a forbidden act. Were she to return to "The City", she would be put to death. At a loss for words, but grudgingly accepting her wishes, Aquaman departs. He finds he must fight his way through a veritable army of slave traders, however, if he is to escape their colony. Fearing the seeds of a new revolution are being planted in Atlantis, Aquagirl seeks out Aqualad's advice. The teen hero, though, brushes her concerns aside, intent on warning Aquaman of the unrest being sowed by Noxden. Once again sensing her husband's peril, Mera cannot stop herself from willing his safe return. Aquaman begins to grow, quickly returning to his normal size, exiting the ring dimension and returning to his wife's side. Aqualad informs the KIng of Noxden's criticisms. Aquaman holds fast to the right of free speech in Atlantis, and sees no threat in Noxden's words. No action against Noxden will be taken.
En route home to Atlantis, Aquaman passes through the ruins of a once thriving, advanced, undersea colony. He feels the pull of a telepathic transmission, and follows it to it's source. Within a cavern, Aquaman discovers a still active computer system. Suddenly, Aquaman finds himself paralyzed. The computer begins broadcasting images into Aquaman's mind, while also attempting to gain control of it. Aquaman sees the colony's history, many centuries past. The adult populace were enthralled by the computer system, and worked tirelessly on improving and advancing the colony. The colony's youth were immune to the computer's control. They abandoned the colony to seek out a place where things like art and beauty, not endless toil, were valued. The computer was left with no further generations being born to maintain it's labor force. When the current population grew old and died, the colony fell into ruin. The computer, however, was able to continually upgrade itself. In time, it became able to broadcast a telepathic summons that would lure new workers to it. Aquaman is the first to answer the computer's call. Feeling his will slowly being subjugated by the computer, Aquaman telepathically summons electric eels to short circuit the computer's systems. Free, Aquaman summons an armada of fish to help him collapse the cavern behind him. Though buried under tons of rock and debris, a small spark still lingers in the computer. It begins the long process of self-repairing it's systems. Aquaman elects to never pass through the ruined colony again. He will also warn the Atlanteans to avoid this area in the future.