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Aquaman’s 15 Most Embarrassing Fails

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Aquaman’s 15 Most Embarrassing Fails

Aquaman draws polarizing reactions; with over 76 years of heroics under his belt, the King of Atlantis has as many dedicated fans as he has haters. While DC has fought tooth and nail to reassert Aquaman’s status as a brave warrior of the sea, there are still plenty of individuals that see Arthur Curry as little more than a joke. And honestly, looking back over the years, there are plenty of ridiculous, shameful, and just downright embarrassing moments that support that claims of Aquaman’s perpetual lameness.

RELATED: Under The Memes: 15 Hilariously Dank Aquaman Memes

With Jason Momoa portraying Aquaman as a hard-drinking, hard-hitting warrior from the depths in Justice League, it seems as though the public may finally be ready to accept Aquaman as the proud, noble hero DC fans know him to be. But over the decades, Aquaman has dealt with ridiculous villains, he’s fought alongside silly sidekicks, and he’s even starred in more than his fair share of crappy TV shows and videos games. Regardless of what side of the “is Aquaman awesome” debate you fall on, you have to admit: Aquaman has had plenty of fails over the years. So join CBR as we take a look back and bring you a veritable hall of shame in Aquaman’s 15 most embarrassing fails!

15. EVERY APPEARANCE ON ROBOT CHICKEN

Aquaman Robot Chicken

Robot Chicken, Seth Green’s long-running stop motion send-up of all things pop culture, is known for never pulling its punches when it comes to comic characters. With a writer’s room filled to bursting with lifelong comic book fans, the writers of Robot Chicken delight in taking down the heroes and villains they’ve followed since childhood. And no character on Robot Chicken is taken down quite like Aquaman.

From jokes about his powers to jabs about his general uselessness on land, the Robot Chicken crew just loves to mock Aquaman. Across nine seasons, Aquaman has seen his trident used to unclog toilets, had his JLA teammates pull pranks on him, and he even joined the Legion Of Doom, only for the villains to become embarrassed at Aquaman’s presence. Only one word describes Aquaman’s treatment on Robot Chicken: embarrassing.

14. FIGHTS A SEA WEREWOLF FILLED WITH GHOSTS

Aquaman Sea Wolf

Aquaman isn’t exactly known for his stellar rogue’s gallery; after all, when your primary antagonist is a guy in a glorified diver’s helmet, the bar is set pretty low. But even still, the villain known as Sea Wolf is particularly embarrassing for Aquaman.

Debuting in Young All-Stars #1 all the way back in 1987, Sea Wolf is Nazi assassin that just so happens to turn into a werewolf when he touches water. Perhaps realizing that Aquaman’s rogues gallery was about as deep as a kiddie pool, writer Peter David pitted Aquaman against Sea Wolf in 1998’s Aquaman #42. During his scuffle with Sea Wolf, Aquaman realizes that Sea Wolf is not just a sea werewolf; in fact, he is actually a vessel of the souls of every target he has ever assassinated, making Sea Wolf a sea werewolf filled with ghosts. Sea Wolf would die in battle with Aquaman, but even killing this mess of a character can’t wash away the embarrassment of having the fight in the first place.

13. AQUAMAN TRAINS SHRIMPS TO BOX

Aquaman Boxing Shrimp

There are plenty of people that find joy in teaching their beloved pets to perform little tricks. Aquaman is clearly a fan of animal training, too, but your standard pet tricks just don’t cut it for the King of Atlantis. In an early Silver Age story, Aquaman found himself surrounded by a herd of killer sharks, seemingly moments from death. As the sharks won’t obey his commands, Aquaman is forced to find another solution. Should he summon more sharks to duke it out with the renegade sharks? Should we summon a giant squid to secure the animals?

No, Aquaman calls on a group of giant shrimp to box the sharks. These Mantis Shrimp — which are crustaceans that literally punch their prey to death — wail on the sharks and allow Aquaman to escape. Listen, maybe summoning giant creatures from the depths gets boring, so we get wanting to mix it up, but he could have gone for a much more elegant (or cool) solution. Not that champion boxer shrimp aren’t cool.

12. INFLATES HIMSELF LIKE A BALLOON

Aquaman Balloon Power

Aquaman might be a certified hoss in the modern age, but back in the day, writers struggled to figure out how to write compelling stories for a character primarily known for talking to dolphins. Deciding that Aquaman’s limited power set was the issue, he was briefly given the ability to inflate himself like a balloon. Yeah, we’re not sure what this has to do with Aquaman’s sea powers either– maybe something pufferfish related?

In this forgotten story, Aquaman was given a magical powder by a mysterious old man that imbued the hero with the power to inflate himself like a giant balloon. Using his weird new power, Aquaman carted a stranded boat back to safety, only to be sucked into a hurricane. The embarrassing power disappeared after this one-off story, leaving fans to wonder how Justice League could have turned out if Jason Momoa had the ability to blow himself up like a blimp. Talk about a missed opportunity.

11. JOKER KICKS AQUAMAN RIGHT IN THE PEARLS

Aquaman Joker

In a knock-down, drag-out fight, sometimes it can be detrimental to stick to your morals. After all, you may find yourself up against a foe willing to bite, gouge and generally fight dirty if it means getting the “W.” So while Aquaman may pride himself on fighting fair, the Joker has no qualms about delivering a swift kick below the belt.

When the King of Atlantis found himself in battle agains the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker pulled out every dirty trick in the book to get the upper hand against the hero, including delivering a brutal kick downstairs that left Aquaman cringing. After all, Aquaman may be the Protector Of The Seven Seas, but a kick to the aqua-nards still hurts. Aquaman eventually triumphed over Mistah J, but being cashew blasted by a villain is plenty embarrassing.

10. HIS BOWTIE-SPORTING OCTOPUS BUTLER

Aquaman Topo

When Aquaman isn’t busy defending the Earth from certain annihilation or ruling the kingdom of Atlantis, he finds himself with downtime. He might kick up his feet and read a book, or maybe do some cleaning around the throne room. Or, if the short story found in 1957’s Adventure Comics #227 is to be believed, he has dinner served to him by an octopus wearing a bowtie.

In this bizarre story, Aquaman is waited on hand and foot by Topo, the aforementioned bowtie-sporting octopus. Topo serves Aquaman a meal fit for a king, cleans up after the hero, and generally serves Aquaman’s every need. Topo would go on to serve as a short-lived sidekick to Aquaman, only to be reinvented as a massive kraken in the New 52. Topo may be a terrifying monstrosity these days, but we’ll never forget Aquaman’s embarrassing bow tied servant.

9. AQUAMAN’S FAILED SPIN-OFF

smallville aquaman 1

The teen-centric Smallville, which chronicled the life and times of Clark Kent pre-Superman, could be charitably be described as “divisive.” The show garnered plenty of fans while also amassing an army of haters. Still, The WB was clearly feeling optimistic about the show, as plans were laid for the first ever Smallville spin-off, set to focus on the Protector of the Seas, Aquaman.

After appearing in a 2005 Smallville episode, a pilot was shot for Aquaman, which followed a now teen Arthur Curry (dubbed “A.C.” in the  show) as he juggled his obligations as a hunky teen and the future king of Atlantis. Despite The WB’s enthusiasm for SmallvilleAquaman failed to elicit any interest, and the network ultimately passed on the spin-off, leaving this embarrassing failed show to linger in obscurity.

8. AQUA-MELVIN, HIS FORGOTTEN CLOWN SIDEKICK

Aquaman Aqua-Melvin

When you command the forces of the ocean itself, you would think a sidekick might not be entirely necessary. After all, when you can summon a shark or whale to swallow up a foe, there’s no need to saddle yourself with back-up. But Aquaman has had plenty of sidekicks over the years, including the truly lame Aqua-Melvin.

Aqua-Melvin was a normal clown until a blood transfusion from Aquaman gifted him with aquatic powers. Aqua-Melvin aided Aquaman in a fight against ruthless treasure hunters by playing pranks and generally using his newfound powers to be a nuisance. He then promptly disappeared, never to appear in a DC comic again. DC has seen plenty of terrible sidekicks over the years, but this embarrassing Aquaman hanger-on definitely takes the cake.

7. CAPTURED BY THE FISHERMAN

Fisherman capturing Aquaman

Aquaman commands the forces of the oceans with a thought. He has fought alongside the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman countless times. He is considered one of Earth’s mightiest heroes. And he once got captured by a man wielding a fishing pole.

The villain known as The Fisherman used a specially designed fishing pole to steal priceless artifacts, and would regularly use said fishing pole to menace heroes. The Fisherman became a longtime foe of Aquaman, and the King of Atlantis found himself ensnared in the Fisherman’s titanium-laced fishing line on multiple occasions. But don’t forget: this is a villain that wore galoshes and sported lures on his belt. Sure, a titanium-laced fishing line is nothing to sneeze at, but being trapped by a villain named “The Fisherman” is just the height of embarrassing.

6. TEACHES CHILDREN POTTY TIME POWERS

Aquaman Potty Time Powers

We get it: impressionable children are more likely to enjoy learning from characters they enjoy. As such, we totally don’t judge DC for using its roster of heroes to teach kids important lessons. But that lack of judgement totally ends when Aquaman begins espousing the power of “Potty Time Powers.” Then we just get worried, and a little weirded out.

In a toddler-oriented Super Friends book, Aquaman and the rest of the Justice League teach children how to properly use the restroom. While we are mercifully spared from seeing Aquaman teach proper wiping techniques, Aquaman handles the water-based aspects of the activity, speaking to children about the importance of flushing and washing up afterwards. Seeing the King of Atlantis splash children in a bathroom is not only weird, it’s downright embarrassing.

5. AQUAMAN: BATTLE FOR ATLANTIS

aquaman-battle-for-atlantis

There have been plenty of terrible video games based on comic books over the years. But when it comes to the absolute worst of the worst, there is one clear-cut winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it): Aquaman: Battle For Atlantis.

Released for the Gamecube and Xbox in 2003, Aquaman: Battle For Atlantis put players into the fish-scale-adorned pants of Aquaman, tasking the aquatic hero with protecting Atlantis from a laundry list of bad guys. Problem is, players found the controls sloppy, the graphics ugly, and the combat sluggish. Reviewers tore into the game, with Aquaman: The Battle For Atlantis earning a rarely seen 27% on Metacritic. This truly awful game is no doubt one of Aquaman’s most embarrassing fails in a history marred with embarrassing fails.

4. AQUAMAN ON SUPER FRIENDS

super-friends-aquaman-66cd0.jpg

When the Super Friends cartoon debuted in 1973, it helped to introduce an entire generation of children to the heroes and villains of DC. With Super Friends, fans learned that Superman is honorable and willing to help, Batman is mysterious and resourceful, and Aquaman is very, very lame. Of course, some of that might not be his fault, necessarily.

While hardcore fans know Aquaman is a bonafide hero, Super Friends presented Aquaman as a dolphin-summoning, fish-surfing, all-around-useless hero. With the release of Justice League, it seems as though the public might finally be ready to ditch their preconceptions on Aquaman — also in no small part thanks to the comics, which have been casting him in similarly spectacular light. However, thanks to Super Friends, it’s possible that Aquaman will always and forever be seen as embarrassing.

3. THE AQUAMAN & FRIENDS ACTION HOUR

Aquaman & Friends Action Hour

Aquaman has a long and varied history when it comes to animation. Since 1973, Aquaman has appeared in cartoons such as Super FriendsJustice League and Justice League Unlimited, amassing himself a legion of fans along the way. But you would be hard pressed to find many fans that remember the obscure cartoon that found Aquaman hosting a low-budget Latin American kids show, The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour.

This bizarre Adult Swim-inspired show cast a Super Friends-era Aquaman as a down-on-his-luck kids show host, complete with an audience of children and a grab bag of oddball sidekick characters (including a sock puppet named “Chuckles McMerry”). The show presented Aquaman as a world weary moron that missed his cues and failed to understand how to operate a puppet. This is not exactly the most positive portrayal of a beloved DC hero, to be sure, making this forgotten cartoon one embarrassing fail.

2. AQUAMAN’S HOME FOR SEAMEN

Aquaman';s Home For Seamen

Okay, we get it. Seamen is a term for a person who works at sea. It is a very common phrase for sailors, fishermen and other individuals that rely upon the oceans to make their livings. We get it. But that doesn’t mean we won’t laugh like idiots when reading about “Aquaman’s Home For Seamen.”

In Action Comics #208, Aquaman finds that an inventor has co-opted his likeness to create a line of “Aquadolls.” Initially upset, Aquaman eventually confronts the inventor, who promises to cut Aquaman in on the profits. Ever the philanthropist, Aquaman vows to use this money to open a retirement home for old sailors… which he names “Aquaman’s Home For Seamen.” No word on whether Aquaman would let other sea workers into the home, provided they had enough spunk. Okay, we’re done. Let’s all agree this is one embarrassing fail.

1. FALLS IN LOVE WITH A DOLPHIN

Aquaman and Nera

As King Of The Seven Seas, Aquaman regularly deals with the animal occupants of his domain. Over his storied career, Aquaman has relied on squid, sharks, whales, and other sea life to assist him in keeping the planet safe. As a result, we understand that Aquaman would likely form close relationships with some of these creatures. But while we totally understand phoning up an octopus to go grab a beer, we’re a little less understanding when romantic feelings enter the equation.

Aquaman fell head-over-flipper for Nera, a female dolphin that would regularly play with Aquaman in his younger years. Aquaman would consider Nera his first love, and would later experience heartache when Nera snubbed Arthur for a fellow dolphin. Mera, Aquaman’s wife and fellow hero, seems pretty cool with the whole “wanted to pork a dolphin” thing Aquaman had going, but this bizarre chapter of Aquaman’s life is by far his most embarrassing fail.

We love Aquaman, even with all of this foibles, but what do YOU think? Let us know in the comments!

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