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When Superboy Met...Aquaboy?!

This is "Foundationed Deep," a feature where we look at particular odd/strange/interesting instances of retroactively connecting different comic book characters (for instance, Uncanny X-Men #268 retroactively established that Wolverine knew both Captain America and the Black Widow from World War II). Today, we look at how Superboy met...Aquaboy?!

Last time out, we saw how Superman met Oliver Queen, his future Justice League teammate, when they were both teenagers in Smallville (yes, Oliver Queen lived in Smallville as a teenager for some reason - check it out, it's a weird story) and tried to get Oliver interested in archery, which he believed was his duty for whatever reason. So this time out, let's look again at the untold first meeting between Superman and one of his Justice League teammates. This time, it's Aquaman. However, unlike the Green Arrow story, where Superboy technically met Oliver Queen and not Green Arrow, so you could realistically say, "Okay, so when they were teammates later, Green Arrow wouldn't have a reason to say, 'Hey, remember me?'", this time there is really no good reason when Superman and Aquaman don't seem to remember having met each other when they were teenagers.

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The story appeared in 1970's Superboy #171 (by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Murphy Anderson). It opened with some fishermen in Smallville coming across someone completely covered in oil. Is Smallville now off the coast of an open body of water? That's interesting.

Anyhow, Superboy swoops in and realizes that there is a person under that oil...

So he takes the person to a detergent factory and cleans off the oil, but the teen under the oil is gasping for air, as he needs to be submerged in water to breathe! Superboy does do and he introduces himself to Aquaboy...

He then learns Aquaboy's story of how he got there. An oil tanker was recklessly spilling water and the oil drowned a porpoise. Aquaboy confronted them, but he was kind of incompetent (I guess he was just a teen), so he got himself covered up in oil, as well...

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This enrages Superboy, who decides to confront the head of the company in the U.S., and the guy just blows Superboy off. It's a pretty ballsy move, considering Superboy is, you know, Superboy...

So Superboy then begins to destroy all of their ships until they comply with his demands. It's a fascinating example of Superboy just going straight frontier justice on a major corporation. The corporation's oil supply is from the Middle East and their Middle Eastern partner helps them come up with a plot. They will trap Aquaboy and then hold him hostage. They rig him into a netting that, if it touched, will set off an explosion that will kill him. So if Superboy interferes with their plans, they'll kill Aquaboy. It's some messed up stuff.

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Superboy agrees, but then cleverly grabs Aquaboy at such high speeds that he's through the ship's hull before it explodes...

They then capture the executives and...I guess have them arrested for attempted murder? It's kind of unclear. The issue ends with Aquaboy saying, "Yeah, this is only one small skirmish in the fight against pollution" and Superboy's like, "Yep." But then we know pollution is much worse when Superboy is an adult, so I guess he just stopped following up on this thing? I guess that's the danger of doing a "modern" type story set in the past.

Okay, that's it for this installment! If you can think of a good example of two comic book characters being retroactively connected to each other, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com and I might feature it here!

P.S. I can't believe how few good images there were of Superboy and Aquaboy in the same panel together. The featured image I used was the best one I could find and it's obviously not even that good.

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