It’s hard to recall a time when Aquaman was not considered a character worthy of ridicule. For decades, his appearance, deep sea-centric abilities, and nearly every other facet of his character rarely escaped mockery. However, in recent years, the tide's shifted, and slowly but surely, the King of Atlantis is beginning to earn the respect that’s long been owed to him. Such a shift most notably began in the 1990s, specifically during Peter David’s run on the character. This period of time brought about a hardened Aquaman, one who became memorable for having a harpoon for a hand. Furthermore, the Justice League animated series also elevated the hero to new heights, thanks to its adapting some of the character’s mythos from the 1990s. Other media, such as the Injustice series and Jason Momoa’s portrayal on film, have continued to bolster Aquaman’s image. Yet, a few strange traits about the underwater icon are often ignored.
While odd quirks do not make the Atlantean hero any less deserving of his meteoric rise to popularity, they do warrant mention. Qualities of this nature include, but are not limited to, long-forgotten bits of lore, peculiar character choices, and certain shortcomings. In many respects, noting these minor quibbles serves as another celebration of Aquaman’s continued growth as a pop culture figure. Plus, his numerous eccentricities make him all the more unique. Who would the King of Atlantis be without having surfed atop a small school of pink fish? Here are 20 Weird Things About Aquaman That Everyone Seems To Ignore:
20 AQUAMAN AND LOBO BOND OVER DOLPHINS
Lobo’s relationship with much of the Justice League is fraught with tension, yet, he and Aquaman once shared a moment of understanding. During a 1994 issue of Aquaman, “A Porpoise in Life,” Aquaman is on a mission to help his dolphin brethren. Meanwhile, Lobo arrives on Earth to exact revenge on whalers who are responsible for the demise of space dolphins. Their paths intersect, and, of course, a fight ensues.
The battle concludes in the oddest of ways, though. Upon hearing that Aquaman “hang[s] with dolphins,” Lobo ceases his attack on the Atlantean. These two characters seldom cross paths; thus, it’s interesting that this particular incident begins and ends the way it does.
19 AQUAMAN RIDES SEA ANIMALS
Anytime Aquaman’s name is circulated for a quick joke, the image usually accompanying said joke is the one of him in Super Friends, astride a seahorse or fish. In recent years, creators in comics, animation, and now film have effectively dismantled the negative stigma as Aquaman riding a menacing shark looks cooler. Who knew his surfing on a Parademon would get a rush out of audiences?
Regardless of the imagery’s transformation into a symbol of his rise to popularity, it’s admittedly still a bit odd. Perhaps this mostly depends upon which version of Aquaman appears in such imagery. Just because Super Friends couldn’t pull off certain Aquaman scenes shouldn’t keep Jason Momoa’s live-action iteration from embracing similar quirks.
18 FLASHPOINT AQUAMAN ATTACKS EUROPE
Flashpoint alters the DC Universe in myriad of ways. For the period in which this timeline itself exists, dozens of characters are turned inside out, and Aquaman counts as a notable example. During Flashpoint, the King of Atlantis wages war against the Amazons, following the elimination of his wife, Mera, by Wonder Woman’s hand.
The war between Aquaman’s Atlantean forces and the Amazons spans the world over. Consequently, Europe’s distress is enduring, as Aquaman floods much of the continent. Most interesting about the character’s behavior in Flashpoint is how it juxtaposes his identity in regular continuity. A figure who stands for peace and unity can become so enraged that he devolves into the antithesis of his former self. With regards to Aquaman, this notion merits deeper exploration.
17 TOPO WAS AQUAMAN'S FIRST SIDEKICK
Over the last several decades, Aquaman has had more than his fair share of sidekicks. The Aqualad characters represent the Sea King’s better known partners, and Aquagirl's mantle counts as a close second. Sadly, one significant character in Aquaman’s line up of sidekicks seems to often be forgotten: Topo the Octopus. Topo’s apparently diminished legacy is disappointing, primarily because of the sea creature's station as Aquaman’s first sidekick.
Though Topo’s first appearance dates back to the 1950s, he’s not a well known Aquaman character. In earlier comics, the creature can be seen playing instruments, as he does in Aquaman, or helping with household chores. Yet, Topo is no stranger to aiding Aquaman in the heat of battle.
16 HE LOST HIS HAND TO PIRANHAS
During Peter David’s famous Aquaman run in the 1990s, fans bore witness to the hero’s incredible character development. He needed an equally incredible look to match his then brooding personality traits. This is where the harpoon hand comes into the picture. The only way this adjustment to Aquaman’s appearance occurs, though, is because of his hand being eaten by piranhas.
While in combat, the villain Charybdis overtakes Aquaman, and upon gaining an advantage, Charybdis forces Aquaman’s left hand into a pool of lurking piranhas. Undoubtedly, it makes for a compelling story, but the whole situation is at least a little weird, especially when considering that Aquaman soon thereafter feeds Charybdis to the very same piranhas.
15 AQUAMAN'S SILVER AGE ADVENTURES WERE ODD
The advent of Barry Allen’s The Flash effectively gave birth to the Silver Age of comics, bringing science fiction to the forefront of the, then, nascent storytelling medium. Aquaman’s stories during this period, in many respects, benefitted from the shift to the Silver Age. Curiously, they also took a strange turn.
One Silver Age tale sees a growth serum turn the Sea King into a giant monster. Think Aquaman’s powers aren’t bizarre enough? In one instance, he begins to inflate like a balloon, an ability he evidently hid from allies such as Aqualad, Aqua-Melvin debuts as a clown who shares the same power-set as Aquaman, and Topo the Octopus learns how to fire a bow and milk cows. Of course, the strangeness doesn’t stop there.
14 HIS UNREQUITED LOVE FOR WONDER WOMAN
Aquaman’s inadvertent confession of fear in Justice League isn’t his first time falling under the Lasso of Truth’s thrall. Curiously, this instance also doesn’t serve as the most interesting, either. During the first issue of JLA 80-Page Giant, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are sent on an underwater mission together.
While holding onto the Princess’ magical lasso, Aquaman confesses how he likes her. Furthermore, he admits, she’s at least part of the reason he remains involved with the JLA. Evidently, the feelings aren’t mutual. This interesting moment between the two fails to receive much exploration later, but it’s odd that the scene itself doesn’t come up more often. Perhaps there are too few Aquaman and Wonder Woman shippers for anyone to care.
13 THE COSTUME ALWAYS REVERTS TO CLASSIC DESIGN
Since Aquaman’s 1941 debut, little about his so-called classic design has changed. The only difference to note is his once having yellow gloves. Regardless of whichever comic era or narrative continuity he exists in, Aquaman and his orange and green suit design are always reunited in some fashion.
Even after his fan-favorite garb in the 1990s, the classic costume returned to the fold and his live-action Justice League suit looks especially appealing on the big screen. Yet, the King of Atlantis’ classic suit reclaimed its crown during the hero’s solo film. If the orange and green attire has withstood the test of time, Aquaman’s appearance must require no further adjustment.
12 HIS REAL NAME WAS AQUAMAN IN THE GOLDEN AGE
Not every superhero origin story is perfectly depicted the first time around as some necessitate a trial and error approach. Aquaman’s origins have certainly gone through a number of trial phases, and one of his more peculiar origins dates back to the hero’s first appearance during the Golden Age in More Fun Comics #73.
In earlier tales, Aquaman’s scientist of a father is obsessed with designing a way for his son to breathe underwater. The scientist succeeds in this regard, even gifting his extraordinary child enhanced strength. However, he neglects to properly name him; thus, for much of the Golden Age, Aquaman is merely named Aquaman. Names such as Arthur and Orin aren’t introduced to the character’s mythos until later.
11 LOST HIS HAND MORE THAN ONCE
Aquaman’s lost his hand a few too many times. The most famous occurrence is when Charybdis feeds the Sea King’s left hand to piranhas in Aquaman #2 (1994), but he loses his left hand again in an episode of Justice League, “The Enemy Below: Part 2.” However, in this instance, Aquaman does the action himself in order to save his son. In Brightest Day #19, Black Manta takes the hero’s hand during an intense fight.
While these moments are always well conveyed and never wasted, that it keeps happening is rather bizarre. Even more intriguing is how the chopping repeatedly happens to the same hand. Someone seems to take great issue with the King of Atlantis having two hands.
10 CAN TURN INTO WATER
Aquaman’s ability to telepathically control sea life consistently gets reduced to “Aquaman talks to fish” jabs; yet, no one finds issue with his ability to transform into water. Sure, Atlantean sorcery gifts many underwater peoples with the power of hydrokinesis, but the Sea King’s transformation into the liquid itself represents quite a different feat.
In 2002’s JLA #70, Aquaman’s entrapment in a reflecting pool results in his being entirely composed of water. A similar event occurs during Brightest Day #23, where Aquaman is transformed into the natural element of water. These instances offer a compelling look into how far his powers can be taken. Still, on paper, it seems just as odd as communicating with fish.
9 CHOSE A HARPOON FOR A HAND
After losing his hand to a swarm of hungry piranhas, Aquaman could have gone anywhere in the world for a suitable replacement – he is royalty, after all, and a celebrated member of the Justice League. Even Atlantean technology may have provided him with a worthwhile limb protheses, but Aquaman instead chooses to replace his lost hand with a harpoon. Aesthetically, it’s an awesome addition to his overall ensemble, but it’s also a strange choice.
The harpoon-hand later receives technological augments. Additionally, during a run of Aquaman comics in the mid-2000s, the character possess a water-hand, which gives him hydrokinetic powers. As a result, the harpoon-hand eventually evolves into something far more useful.
8 RAISED BY DOLPHINS
Not until a few years after Crisis on Infinite Earths shook up the DC Universe did Aquaman receive a new origin story to coincide with the new continuity. The hero’s post-Crisis origins essentially boil down to Aquaman’s father, an Atlantean wizard, sacrificing his child to the sea.
Shortly following his abandonment, the baby is rescued by dolphins who hear his cries. One dolphin in particular, a female named Porm, becomes attached to the child and raises him as her own. Due to the origin story concerning Aquaman’s father being a lighthouse keeper is most well known, the Sea King’s more unconventional upbringing fails to garner as much ridicule as other facets of his character.
7 NEVER APOLOGIZES FOR AQUABABY'S DEMISE
Adventure Comics #452 features one of the most sinister acts committed by a DC villain. To deal a heavy blow to his nemesis, Black Manta eliminates Arthur Curry Jr., a.k.a Aquababy. Following their son’s passing, Aquaman and Mera grow distant from one another, which eventually culminates in separation.
The tension is borne of more than the loss of a child, though, as Aquaman’s behavior also contributes to their falling out. Mera blames him for the events saying that had Aquaman been more focused on family and less on heroics, their child would never have been taken. To an extent, there’s truth to her words; Aquaman even considers it during an inner-monologue, but he never so much as attempts to voice an understanding of Mera’s perspective.
6 AQUAMAN ONCE TURNED INTO A GIANT
The Silver Age was a strange time for Aquaman stories. They were so strange, in fact, that Aquaman was once accidentally transformed into a giant. Aquaman’s transformation occurs in the 21st issue in the hero’s first solo comic series.
During the story, a scientist named Professor Brant creates a growth serum, and as luck would have it, Aquaman gets some of the serum on himself. Soon thereafter, the serum works its magic, resulting in Aquaman’s exploding in size. However, by issue’s end, the problem resolves itself. Regardless, this fleeting misadventure still warrants acknowledgement as this particular brand of weirdness makes Aquaman all the more special.
5 AQUAMAN CAN GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH SUPERMAN
That Aquaman can take on the Man Of Steel certainly does not count as weird, but the fact often being forgotten is what lands it on the list. Without a doubt, mocking a seahorse-riding character with water abilities makes for an easy task, but would said mockery stand the test of time if that character’s ability to hold their own against Superman was common knowledge? Admittedly, this may be too hard to judge.
Perhaps Aquaman’s raw power has not received the limelight offered to his less than applause-worthy, sea-centric powers. Watching him go pound-for-pound against Superman could serve as a positive for naysayers that Aquaman shouldn't be relegated to just another water-based hero.
4 HE CAN FLY (SOMETIMES)
There often exists confusion as to whether or not Aquaman can fly unaided. For the most part, instances where Aquaman takes flight seem to wholly rely on the creative team leading his adventures at the time. In the DCEU, for example, it does not appear as though the character can fly at all, and akin to Buzz Lightyear, Aquaman’s big screen ventures with flight never exceed “falling with style.”
However, in the New 52, Poseidon blesses the Sea King with the power of flight. Still, the character’s only ever seen actually flying on a handful of occasions. His having this ability, and seldom using it, is quite strange, but being a superhero who primarily performs heroics on the sea means soaring through air is of little importance.
3 USES TELEPATHY TO INDUCE SEIZURES
Aquaman’s viciousness in combat should surprise no one. This particular DC hero is no stranger to eliminating his enemies should the situation necessitate such action. Yet, some decisions made by Aquaman during the heat of battle warrant further examination. The Atlantean’s interaction with ZüM in 1997’s JLA #4 serves as one such instance.
While the two stand ready to fight one-on-one, ZüM teases Aquaman, questioning the hero’s abilities. ZüM quickly learns the incredible range of Aquaman’s powers after pondering what the Sea King can do apart from “talk to fish.” Due to ZüM’s “marine ancestors,” Aquaman can tap into the villain’s basal ganglia, which results in the hero giving his opponent a seizure. Aquaman’s powers have arguably never been more formidable.
2 MARRIES HIS WOULD-BE ASSASSIN
Queen Mera’s first appearance in Aquaman #11 (1963) served as the meeting of one of DC’s most dynamic couples. She crash lands in Atlantean waters, escaping from Leron, a man who’d deposed her from her kingdom’s throne. For the most part, even post-Crisis, Mera’s backstory remains intact.
However, during Brightest Day #6, Mera tells Arthur the true reason behind her arrival in Atlantis. She was sent to end the Atlantean King, as part of revenge for the people of Xebel who were banished from Atlantis in generations past. Her love for Arthur obviously superseded any elimination attempt, but it’s strange he never suspected she could be part of a plot against his life. Should Mera ever abandon her commitment to Atlantis, she’d do well as an assassin.
1 HIS SIDEKICK IS HIS ENEMY'S SON
Prior to Kaldur’ahm’s debut in Brightest Day and Young Justice, Aqualad characters of the past had no prior connection to Black Manta. However, the most recent character to adopt the Aqualad mantle, in the comics and on television, is the son to Black Manta.
This list entry doesn’t count as weird, per se, but Aquaman’s mentoring of Aqualad is admirable, regardless of when he learns of the young man’s true lineage. The situation’s oddness, then, rests in the awkward nature of it all. Does Aquaman harbor regret over taking his nemesis’ offspring under his wing? Is there a part of him that wishes to lambaste Black Manta’s shortcomings as a father? There are numerous sides to these peculiar circumstances that are worth exploring.