Episode Title: “Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure!”
Original Air Date: January 8, 2010
So if you’ve ever wondered what National Lampoon’s Vacation would be like if Clark Griswold was the King of Atlantis, well today’s your day, because we’ve got it in this episode. We get to join Aquaman and his family on a farcical romp across America in a rented RV. This seems like a different type of episode, but in this series different has come to be expected.
The teaser has Batman back in WWI flying a bi-plane of some troops engaged in good old fashioned trench warfare. Some bad guy with tentacles coming out of his face (in the rich tradition of Cthulu) is firing a laser canon at what I assume are the good guys. While Batman is attempting to give some air support, he enters into a dogfight with the Enemy Ace. After a brief conversation with his adversary about how unsporting the laser canon is, the two join forces to take it out. No explanation is offered as to why Batman is a WWI era pilot, but that’s ok, I’l just go with it.
The main story starts with Aquaman, his wife Mera, and his son Arthur, Jr cruising the Western United States in a Winnebago. It’s established early on that this is Mera’s idea, because Aquaman is daydreaming about beating up villains while Arthur, Jr stares blankly at his underwater equivalent of a Nintendo DS. As soon as I see Jr. my mind immediately recalls how he meets his brutal demise in the comics at the hands of Black Manta before he ever gets to adulthood. Is that where this episode is going? The murder of a child before his parents eyes? Probably not, what’s wrong with me? Anyway, the first stop on the Atlanteans family tour is a diner in Star City. Aquaman encourages his family to try the apple pie while he sneaks out and phones Batman looking for a taste of adventure. The Dark Knight brushes off the underwater lord as he is more than a bit preoccupied with the Penguin and his henchmen.
Luckily for the Sea King, Star City’s own Green Arrow is stopping a bank robbery by the Clock King. The Aquatic hero joins the fight without an invitation and helps apprehend the punctual super villain. Green Arrow expresses some annoyance at the situation, but not as much as does Mera when he returns to the Diner.
The next stop is a Ghost Town near El Paso, Texas where Aquaman runs off the help the Blue Beetle battle the Planet Master. Unlike Green Arrow, Reyes is quite excited to be joined by the boisterous A-lister from the deep. After stopping the villain who uses representative powers of the planets in our solar system (Blue Beetle cleverly quips “you don’t want to see him use the power of Uranus”) Aquaman sneaks back with his family none the wiser, until the local news shows is battle on the television and he is busted by Mera. Now red faced and red handed, Aquaman vows to do no more super heroics on the family trip.
The group travel through all the fiction cities in DC’s America while Aquaman has to grin and bear it as he stumbles upon one super conflict after another. As the family finally make it to the east coast, Aquaman receives a call that alerts him that Batman has been captured by the Penguin, and desperately needs assistance. Aquaman detours his family to Gotham City under the guise of seeing it’s wonderful sites, which is innately hilarious because Gotham is nothing short of a cess pool. Arthur and his family get captured as well, before Mera finally give her husband the green light to be a hero again. Aquaman frees his Family and Batman, then Mera and Junior join in the butt kicking of penguin and his henchmen. After the situation is well in hand, Aquaman apologizes to his family and suggest they get back to vacation, but they decline admitting that they too prefer to beat up bad guys.
The family vacation has probably been a staple of family humor as long as families, humor and vacations have been a thing. As both a parent and allegedly a former child I have been on my fair share of bad vacations, but none of my bad vacations have been as entertaining as popular culture would suggest, that’s why I am currently a huge advocate of stay-cations. Next time you have a week off work, just stay home and watch this episode with your family. It’s really entertaining, and it did something that I thought was impossible, it made the Jamie Reyes version of the Blue Beetle interesting.