Aquaman made his first appearance in DC comics with 1941's More Fun Comics #73 by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger but made a huge impression. He started out as a backup feature and moved on to multiple solo series. He was one of the founding members of the Justice League and has often been listed along with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as four of the most recognized superheroes in the DC universe. At the same time, he's been disrespected, especially after his weak portrayal in the 1960s TV show Super Friends. It's time to turn that around.
Aquaman may look like a regular human but he's got some weird things going on under the golden shirt and green pants so CBR decided to put the spotlight on Aquaman's body. We'll be going over his less known powers, and strange things that have happened to his body over the years. With Aquaman's revival in the DC Extended Universe, he's finally getting his due with Jason Momoa playing the hero in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League in 2017. Aquaman will be getting his own movie scheduled for release in December 2018 so let's go over 15 facts about Aquaman's body.
15 AQUAMAN COULD FLY
What's the one thing you wouldn't expect to see from Aquaman, the hero who lives at the bottom of the ocean? Flight. Yet thanks to some mystical powers, his body can do just that. Aquaman was given a mystical trident by the god Poseidon that gives him new powers including the ability to fly.
Aquaman is clearly shown hovering in the air alongside Wonder Woman.
This power has been used inconsistently in the comics, though. In some issues, Aquaman is shown leaping great distances including across a city. Yet in Aquaman #46 (Cullen Bunn, Vicente Cifuentes), Aquaman is clearly shown hovering in the air alongside Wonder Woman. Some people have found it kind of weird that a sea-based hero would have the power to fly but it sure makes it a lot easier for him to keep up with the Justice League when Superman and Wonder Woman are flying with them.
14 AQUAMAN CAN BREATHE UNDERWATER
Like his name implies, Aquaman spends a lot of time in the water and under the water, so it's a good thing he can breathe under there. He's amphibious (in his current version) so he can stay indefinitely in the air and in the sea. However, the way Aquaman breathes underwater has changed over the years.
In the original story, Aquaman was a normal child whose father found secret methods of teaching him to draw oxygen from water. Later, his origin was changed so that he was half-Atlantean, a humanoid species that's native to the sea. In some versions of Aquaman, he's had gills but most of the other stories gloss over exactly how he breathes in water. It's possible his lungs are somehow able to draw oxygen from water or he might breathe through his skin like frogs.
13 AQUAMAN'S FATHER MUTATED HIM
The original Aquaman started out as a scientist's son who learned the secrets of Atlantis but later on, his origin was changed so he was the son of a human father and an Atlantean mother. Since the Atlanteans could breathe underwater, Aquaman inherited that ability.
He lived his early life in a tank at his father's research facility...
In 2006, Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (Kurt Busiek, Jackson Guice) introduced a new Aquaman named Arthur Joseph Curry. Unlike the original Aquaman, he was fully human, the son of a marine biologist whose wife died in childbirth. With Arthur born three months premature, the scientist used an experimental mutagenic serum to allow him to survive but it also gave him the ability to breathe underwater. He lived his early life in a tank at his father's research facility until he learned about the existence of Atlantis and became Aquaman.
12 AQUAMAN COMMUNICATES WITH FISH
If there's one thing that makes Aquaman the butt of more jokes than his power to command sea life, we don't know what that is. The idea that Aquaman "talks to fish" is a popular joke on sketch and stand-up comedy but it's not really true. At least, not any more.
When Aquaman first appeared in comics, he could talk to fish "in their own language" but that didn't last long because fish don't actually have a language. This changed so that Aquaman's mind can use telepathy to communicate with any sea life. After the reboot in 2011 with the New 52 continuity, Aquaman lost most of his ability to communicate directly with marine life and can only push them with mental suggestions to do different things. He won't be going back to having conversations with halibut any time soon.
11 AQUAMAN IS SUPER-STRONG
One of Aquaman's least recognized powers outside of comics is his enormous strength. He needs to be strong in order to survive in the ocean's depths but his body has adapted to become one of the most powerful heroes in the Justice League.
He's not on the level of Superman but he's way beyond human strength.
This has been especially true since the New 52 rebooted continuity. A good example came in 2013's Aquaman #22 (Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier) when Aquaman fought the ancient Dead King. Aquaman picked up a sunken cargo ship from the ocean floor and dropped it on his enemy. Since cargo ships have an average weight of 153,222 tons and he had to push up against even more tons of seawater, it was a jaw-dropping feat.
10 AQUAMAN'S SKIN
Aquaman looks pretty fragile in his orange shirt and green pants but looks can be deceiving. If a normal human tried to go down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, he would be crushed to death by 1,086 bars of pressure or more than a thousand times the pressure at sea level. However, Aquaman isn't a normal human.
In fact, all that pressure has given his body the ability to withstand more than just tons of water pressing down on him. His seemingly thin skin is strong enough to withstand everything from machine gun fire to explosives. He even shrugged off a punch from Wonder Woman. While his skin isn't as strong as Superman's, it's still tough enough to take whatever most bad guys can dish out.
9 AQUAMAN AND THE CLEAR
One of the more mystical aspects to Aquaman's body was discovered in 1995's Swamp Thing #158 (Mark Millar, Phil Hester). In the 1980s, Alan Moore created a new element in Swamp Thing's mythology called the Green. The Green is an elemental force that connects all plant life and Swamp Thing bonds to it for his power. Later, other heroes discovered their own connections like Animal Man's animal-based force called the Red.
Aquaman discovered he was part of the Clear, a dimension that connected all sea life.
It was the Clear that gave him his telepathic connection to marine life and also gave him the power to control water. He could even control creatures like seagulls that had a connection to the sea. In more recent versions of Aquaman, his connection to the Clear has been downplayed or removed altogether.
8 AQUAMAN NEEDS WATER
Most superheroes had weaknesses built into their history. Superman has Kryptonite, Green Lantern has yellow and Aquaman once had a weakness to dry land. In 1959, Adventure Comics #256 (Otto Binder, Al Plastino) introduced the idea that Aquaman had to come in contact with water every hour or he would die. The odd thing is that Aquaman had no trouble staying on land for long periods of time before that.
That weakness stayed around throughout the Silver Age where Aquaman was always running off to find water. Superhero weaknesses have fallen out of favor, especially through the Golden Age so the water weakness began to be less used. In some cases, it was said that Aquaman could absorb humidity from the air so he would be fine. After the New 52 reboot, the whole weakness of water went away and it hasn't been back since.
7 AQUAMAN LOST A HAND
In the 1990s, it was decided to make Aquaman rougher and (in the process) cooler. That's why the new Aquaman series in 1994 started with him growing out his beard and mustache, but things took a turn for the worse when the villain Charybdis stole his power to control sea life. In 1994's Aquaman #2 (Peter David, Martin Egeland), Charybdis fought Aquaman and forced the hero's left hand into a pool of hungry piranha.
Yes, they ate off his left hand.
From there, Aquaman started wearing a harpoon's hook in place of his missing hand and moved on to a hook prosthetic which looked pretty awesome. At one point, Aquaman even got a magical hand made of water in its place. Eventually, after the New 52 reboot, Aquaman's hand came back but we wonder if he still feels it missing.
6 AQUAMAN CAN SWIM VERY, VERY FAST
It probably sounds like we're stating the obvious that Aquaman can swim fast but you probably don't know how fast. Aquaman isn't just a fast swimmer by human standards; he's actually the fastest swimming creature on Earth by a long shot. With his superhuman strength, he can rip through the ocean at speeds that rival even man-made machines.
A good example came in 2012 with Aquaman #11 (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reiss) where Aquaman was riding on a jet and jumped off to swim instead. At the speed he was going, someone commented he could outrun the jet, which could go hypersonic. That's much faster than submarines or speedboats. In other comics, Aquaman has been clocked at Mach 20, meaning he can swim faster than most aircraft.
5 AQUAMAN'S EYES
If there's one power that even hardcore fans of Aquaman almost never mention, it's his superhuman eyes. That's because they aren't as flashy as his super-strength or used as often as his communicating with marine animals, but believe us. He needs those weird eyes just as much as all of those other powers... if not more.
His eyes allow him to see clearly through the water up to 36,000 feet and in complete darkness.
Even in clear water, an average human can see 230 feet at the most. When it comes to the deep ocean with its clouds of microscopic plankton and lack of sunlight, your regular diver is almost completely blind. That's not a problem for Aquaman, whose eyes allow him to see clearly through the water up to 36,000 feet and in complete darkness. That also gives him razor-sharp vision on land as well as night vision.
4 AQUAMAN TURNED INTO WATER
Aquaman's body has spent a lot of time in water but there have been a few times where it's actually become water. In 2002, JLA #70 (Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen) dealt with the aftermath of a supervillain going back in time to keep Atlantis from sinking 3000 years earlier. He trapped Aquaman in a pool where he turned into a watery version of himself.
In another incident, Aquaman had a hand of living water that he used as a weapon, reviving an ancient spirit known as the Thirst. When he bonded with the Thirst, Aquaman became the Waterbearer and a liquid being. The third moment happened in Brightest Day #24 (Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark) when he was brought back as a water elemental to stop Swamp Thing, who had been infected by the Rot.
3 AQUAMAN CAN USE SONAR
Aquaman's ears may look human but they're way beyond ours. Normal humans hear sound because of the vibration of air against our eardrums, but sounds under the water can sound garbled and distorted to us. On the other hand, Aquaman can hear perfectly not only on land but under the sea. That's not just about hearing conversations with other Atlanteans.
He can also hear sounds bouncing off objects under the oceans to tell where and what objects are.
This is called echolocation, which is used by whales and dolphins. Also, since sound travels four times faster underwater than on land, Aquaman can hear sounds from miles away. Under the ocean, whales have special ears that protect them from being overwhelmed by the sounds but Aquaman's ears apparently aren't, which means he might be dealing with a lot of noise.
2 AQUAMAN IS A MARTIAL ARTIST
While some people think Aquaman is useless without fish around, his body is very well suited for fighting bad guys on the land. He's a highly trained martial artist who can use weapons or his bare hands to dish out the pain. He's been trained by Batman and Atlantean warriors, so he knows not only how to fight with martial arts on the surface but also knows some ancient martial arts that have been forgotten.
He also has the added advantage of being able to fight under the ocean even better than he can on land. When you combine his martial arts skills with his mystical trident and super-strength, a punch or kick from Aquaman can be ten times more effective than one from even the most skilled human fighter.
1 AQUAMAN COULD CONTROL WEATHER
Aquaman's main weapon has always been his trident. Classically, it was used as a strong, but relatively normal melee weapon, but in the modern DC universe, it holds enormous power. The trident was given to him by the god Poseidon and is nothing less than an extension of the god's power.
The power of Poseidon's trident is off the charts.
It can be used in battle, of course, but also gives Aquaman power over water in all its forms. The trident has been seen moving and twisting water, making everything from living elementals to tidal waves. Since the weather is so connected to the movement of clouds and humidity, it makes sense that the trident also lets Aquaman command it. He's made storms and even lightning which can flood ships and cities.