As the DC movies continue to come out, there is one on the horizon that brings with it a great deal of intrigue. Aquaman will be arriving in theaters late next year and during the buildup, there is sure to be plenty of people who say the same thing: "Aquaman is lame." The jokes have been out there forever. The costume’s color scheme is too bright and, well, too orange, for anybody to be intimidated by it. And well, the whole “talks to fish” thing has been the butt of many jokes. It is difficult for those who have not fully versed themselves in the comics to truly appreciate this character.
The truth is that Aquaman is far from lame. He is actually an amazing character with an incredible world and supporting characters to go along with it. He occupies a space in the DC Universe that is quite exclusive. He has stood alongside the world’s greatest heroes and even lead teams of them. The idea of a solo movie taking this character seriously and giving it the scope it deserves should have fans excited. Once you’ve looked at these reasons, you will not doubt be ready to count yourself among those ready to see Aquaman become a serious part of pop culture.
Telepathic communication with marine life is pretty powerful in and of itself, while Aquaman's Trident of Neptune packs a punch and may be even more powerful than we know (more on that later). But just based on pure physical strength, Aquaman is already a heck of a lot stronger than most people give him credit for. His punches can even send Superman flying!
Being able to withstand the depths of the ocean’s pressure will do that to you. He can also breathe underwater without the need of scuba gear, he can leap miles in the air -- which is practically as useful as the ability to fly -- and he has been able to move various types of ships, each of which weigh several tons. On top of this, his swimming speed is unrivaled, his vision works in practically total darkness and he has the ability to use sonar. This is in no way a weak character. Perhaps what was lacking was how writers chose to portray him while using his powers over the years.
Yes, you read the headline correctly. MTV Geek once ran a poll to determine the answer to this question. The options to choose from included the likes of heroes normally drawn to be the pinnacle of physical fitness, including Batman and Superman, as well as charming egotists like Iron Man and Constantine. Let's not forget the amount of influence the artist drawing the images has on how a comic book character may look.
Some may even find the notion of sexy superheroes odd. But in this case, Aquaman won out. Was it the blond hair? Maybe it was his dreamy blue eyes. Either way, this poll was before there was ever an actor attached to the movie role. This is quite a prestigious honor for any character to achieve. Maybe ladies dig orange more than we thought.
Some heroes have a strict policy against killing. This is not true of Aquaman and it is likely a direct correlation to his being a leader of an army. One of the most admirable qualities of someone commanding an army is their willingness to fight alongside their soldiers. Arthur does not merely sit on a throne and direct, he is a man of action.
While some deaths are swift and brutal involving sea creatures attacking others, deaths such as that of Black Manta’s father was more of an accident in the difficult vision of a stormy boat. The fact remains that Arthur will cross the line if he must. He knows the cost of war, the feeling of loss of those close to him, and so he is a hardcore military commander.
The ability to “talk to fish” is what makes Aquaman’s claim to lame so pronounced. However, if you were to ask Aquaman himself, he would now tell you that his ability allows him to do something much different than that. He can actually manipulate parts of their brains to make them take certain actions, like a type of telepathic control over them.
Marine life doesn’t have the ability to talk, but some marine life has the ability to hurt people. Aquaman has demonstrated this through the focus of everybody’s favorite television week of the year, sharks. Nobody looks at shark attacks as something to laugh at. Aquaman can unleash one at any moment. And it won’t be just one shark, it may be many sharks. It kind of makes Black Manta and Ocean Master, the villains willing to take this risk in order to battle him, look a little tougher when you think about it.
Pick a time period and you will find that Aquaman is part of the first Justice League. From the Silver Age to the post-Crisis JLA: Year One to the New 52 Justice League, his place on the roster is a constant. Characters like Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter come and go, but Aquaman does not. This emphasizes his importance in the pantheon of DC characters.
Beyond this, he even dissolved the JLA at one point and started a new team with heroes who were more willing to devote all their time to the team. While this “Detroit” era of the Justice League isn’t always remembered fondly, it is a great example of Aquaman taking charge to lead the team. Arthur ultimately left the team to resolve personal matters, but the fact remains that Aquaman is a person other characters respect and respond to throughout history.
Men with beards are almost never associated with the word lame. Beards are considered to be a sign of greater character in many cases. So why is it that we are so quick to forget that Aquaman sported one of the best beards in superhero comics for many years?
The beard look often went with a costume that was quite different than the one which is ridiculed so regularly. In fact the animated Justice League series used this look to great effect. The movies are taking a cue from this as well. Sometimes Arthur chooses to forego the razor for a while, and upcoming images of the next artist on Aquaman show that we won’t have to wait for long to see this look again. Maybe beards do really make the man.
As far as weapons go for superheroes, this one is pretty awesome. Imagine being given command of 75 percent of the Earth by a single object. Then imagine taking that object and stabbing Darkseid in the eye. Some older variations have it granting the power to control water and subsequently weather. This is an object with history that traces back to ancient Greek mythology, getting its power from Poseidon or his Roman counterpart, Neptune.
Did I mention its capability to fire bolts of energy as well? So, maybe some people think a ring that channels willpower is cool, or a lasso that makes people tell the truth could be useful, but Aquaman is wielding something with the potential to do far more damage. Take that, batarangs!
A select group of superheroes can call themselves war veterans. As far as DC Comics goes, most of these guys are in the JSA. However, due to some of the original JSA members being under a different publisher for a time, Aquaman was never made a regular part of the team. However, there are some Golden Age stories where Aquaman is really giving More Fun Comics its name by having him take on German U-boats and other members of the Axis army.
This is not a period that is well known by the fans who spend their time focusing on the negative with Aquaman. When you consider his contribution to the cause of the allies, it should grant him a great deal of respect. Continuity can’t take away the bravery of Aquaman.
Have you ever had your hand chopped off? I hope not, but Aquaman has, and it hasn’t stopped him one bit. For a guy who has spent a great deal of time dealing with pirates, Aquaman knows exactly what to do to replace a hand. Clearly, one must get a sharp hook to take its place! Aquaman’s hook-hand started off as more of a harpoon, but not for long. He later took to S.T.A.R. labs for some upgrades.
It became much more than a harpoon, now telepathically controlled by Aquaman and armed with multiple blades, capable of shooting energy and able to drill into things. Another variation of the replacement limb consisted of a liquid hand from Atlantean tech that could do all of the above and then some. It could even take the form of a regular hand. Aquaman made the loss of a hand better than having the hand in the first place.
Losing your hand is one thing, but losing a child is a whole different catastrophe. This child was an infant at the time, and he was murdered by one of Aquaman’s greatest foes and a highly underrated villain named Black Manta. This story took place in the mid 1970s and is about as disturbing as it gets.
The baby is suffocated by Black Manta while Aquaman is busy being forced to fight his sidekick, Aqualad, to the death. Clearly this is a lot for anybody to overcome, and this is to say nothing of the effect on his wife, Mera. She struggles to forgive him, but it is in battle with another great Aquaman villain, Ocean Master, when they rediscover their love for each other. The truth is that Aquaman exemplified human struggle on multiple occasions, but he shows his true colors as a leader and a warrior.
In terms of Aquaman, there are two villains who have iconic status. The first is Ocean Master, who also happens to be Aquaman’s half-brother. Whenever you are the heir to the throne of Atlantis, there will be sibling jealousy, and power corrupts as usual. There is a sense of family here, but the actions of Ocean Master push Aquaman to have to fight back. One way that Ocean Master can manipulate things is through his manipulation of conflict with the surface world. He has successfully orchestrated small-scale wars between the U.S. and Atlantis and those tensions continue.
The actions of Black Manta have been covered, but he is also just a man on a quest for vengeance against Arthur for the accidental death of his dad. Recently, he has created a terrorist organization set on increasing the tension between the United States and Atlantis.
During the Geoff Johns New 52 run on Aquaman, a group of heroes were introduced that had worked with Aquaman for years. They were tasked with keeping various Atlantean relics from Black Manta. Each had a fairly unique backstory and there is likely more to do with these characters in terms of backstory.
One is military man who is the only surviving member of his company who is haunted by making peace with the families of his fallen comrades (appropriately called the Prisoner). Another is a secret agent-type that is battle-hardened called the Operative. There is even a female with the ability to telepathically link to various wild cats and people named Ya’Wara. There are, in fact, others. The point is this history and supporting cast is a whole new canvas providing a lot more room to explore.
Game of Thrones is pretty popular. The amount of talk when a season of this show is in full swing is almost overwhelming for those of us who don’t watch it. So for Warner Brothers and DC to cast a well-known actor from that series to play a character that some are skeptical about is a huge win. There seems to be a general level of respect for Momoa and he seems to really be embracing the role.
Everything that has come out thus far visually has been stunning. The Mera costume on Amber Heard looks pretty much spot on as well. With the critical success of Wonder Woman, could this be the beginning of the DC movies turning the tide? The level of respectability and hopeful potential for an Aquaman movie that exists right now is probably higher than anyone would’ve predicted and that can be attributed to its leading man.
Behind every great man is an even better woman. That is how the saying goes and in the case of Aquaman it could very well be true. The character of Mera really came to shine when she began to be featured by Geoff Johns in Blackest Night and the subsequent Brightest Day and Aquaman runs.
She is an extremely strong female character with leadership ability and a real loyalty to Arthur that overcame her original mission to actually kill Arthur. But once she learned the truth about him and Atlantis, she backed off and the two eventually fell in love instead. Her powers can form “hard water” objects and she possesses many of the super-strength abilities Arthur has as well. She has at different points been married to Aquaman and is right now engaged. These two make a true power couple.
Arthur Curry is royalty. And he is not the kind of royal that struggles in the role, but rather embraces it. This leads to a lot of things that other superheroes never have to deal with. He has had to negotiate with the governments of the surface world, fight wars on behalf of his people and deal with others trying to usurp his power. Sometimes this makes him come across as a bit more pompous, or entitled to lead, but maybe this is because he is actually the most suited to lead.
His experiences shape him just as much as lost planets or parents do. In many ways, if you are fighting an alien threat to the Earth, this is the first guy you would want on your side. He could have sharks, his army, and his wife take the fight to the enemy in an instant. Long live the King!
Have we convinced you that Aquaman is actually one of the best superheroes? Let us know in the comments.