Aquaman #45 (On Sale: March 4, 1969) has a cover that just leaves me gasping in admiration. This is just one of those perfect covers that Nick Cardy was known to create in these years where he was given free reign. First it is impeccably drawn, full of all the emotional impact Cardy can give it. The sun rising on the body of Aquaman, awash in the surf, the grieving woman, fallen to her knees, her face buried in her hands, the sun rising behind her head. Second, look at the coloring; with the exception of the woman's dress, the entire cover is done in Aquaman's colors, orange, yellow and green. If you always wondered what perfection in a comic book cover looked like, this is it.
"Underworld Reward Part 2" is by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Continuing his search for Mera, Aquaman tracks down a kidnapped woman who was taken by the underworld because they think she was given information by the Sea King. Once the girl is safe, Aquaman tracks down the head of the mob in an underground lair. A fight ensues which leads to an explosion. Aquaman escapes through a window to the ocean. Disoriented from the explosion he is caught in a whirlpool like the one that masked Mera's disappearance. When he finally breaks free and reaches a nearby beach he is shocked to find Mera standing in front of him.
Meanwhile, Aqualad continues his battle against the Bugala. The men of Eldfur, who were supposed to help him, panic and abandon the fight. Aqualad is left to fight alone. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #496.
Edited by Dick Giordano.