Action-Plus: Lori Lemaris, Mermaid of Atlantis (September, 1977)
“The Weak Link!”
Writer – Elizabeth M. Smith
Pencils – Win Mortimer
Inks – Frank Chiaramonte
Edits – Julius Schwartz
From: Action Comics #475
It’s time for another Action-Plus piece that I’ve rescued from the vast Chris is on Infinite Earths Archives. I promise this feature won’t just be rehashes… and I’ll start peppering in some never-before-seen stuff before long.
But for today… I’ve got a bit of a confession to make. Ya see, I’ve become kind of obsessed with the DC Near Miss feature! And so, I’ve been spending much of my free-time compiling research for those pieces. They are surprisingly time-consuming, but in that weird way where if while I’m puttering away and look up to check the clock, I’m shocked to realize that like hours have passed! Man, I wish that idea came to me before I started grad school!
Anyhoo, I hope you’re all enjoying that feature… and I hope that this Action-Plus piece is new (or new enough) to most of you!
Today’s Backup isn’t just any back-up… it features Lori friggin’ Lemaris. This is bound to be excellent. As we open, she is caught… oh boy, in a fishing net. She’s nyoinked out of the drink by a group of Russians illegally fishing inside the United States’ 200-mile fishing limit. International intrigue at its finest!
She tries to telepathically call out for help… but Superman and Aquaman are out of reach. During some casual conversation, one of the fishermen says something about a “weak link” (hey, that’s the title of this story!) and it gets her to thinking… she might be able to telepathically control one of these numskulls… and that’s exactly what she does.
Fueled by suspicion, the Russians fight among themselves long enough for Lori to… uh, telepathically use their radio to call the authorities.
Then she calls her friends of the sea… and they take care of business. I mean, really… if you could summon a giant octopus, a sperm whale, and swordfish (by name!)… wouldn’t you just lead with that? Why all this “weak link” nonsense?
We wrap up with the arrival of the United Nations Security Force… and they arrest the baddies. They ask Lori to come on board too… to which, she reveals that (Holy Mackerel) she is part fish.
Well… Woof. I mean, it’s not like this was poorly written or anything… but, I gotta say, I feel it really didn’t require quite so many pages. After only a couple, it started to feel like a Dagwood sandwich… just so many unnecessary layers.
Find the weak link! Radio authorities! Call sea-pals! Certainly didn’t need all three… especially not the one the story was named for! Why get the Russians to argue? Lori’s a telepath… she could radio the UN anytime she wants! Or, better yet… just telepathically contact them! The Russians wouldn’t have a clue until it was too late… and by then, Shamu would’ve capsized the boat anyway!