Welcome to part one of a series of five that will deal with traditionally "lame" characters. We are going to dive (no pun intended) past the dumb names, the cheesy stories, and the public misconceptions in an attempt to show what these heroes and heroines really are: awesome. And we're going to start with Aquaman.
For years, people have said that all he can do is swim and talk to fish. No, this man is not Dr. Dolittle. People say that his powers are useless because they are "confined to the sea." But, he is so much more than a shark whisperer or an environmental activist. He's a demi-god, with powers that would rival even Superman's.
Aquaman the Superhero
This is the Aquaman most are familiar with, the one who fights alongside Batman and Wonder Woman and that bratty kid named Shazam. This is the Atlantean that the world sees. And he's usually portrayed as a weak, underpowered character that almost anyone could beat. Let's dispel that rumor, shall we? Here's an abbreviated list of what Aquaman can actually do:
- Atlantean biology: Basically, this allows him to breath underwater, have increased vision (He can see at 36,000 feet below the surface of the water), enhanced hearing and smell. Though not quite as strong as Wonder Woman, or Superman, he's been known to lift thousands of tons, and can jump four stories flat-footed (on land or in water). He can swim up to 1,000 knots per hour. His reactions are at least 12 times faster than a human's, and he is immune to most small arms fire. While not totally invincible, he's withstood some of the strongest energy blasts in the DC universe.
- Marine telepathy: This is where a lot of the mockery comes from. "Fish Whisperer" they call Aquaman. Well, while that may sound lame, imagine what he can do in the water. Most beings aren't used to liquid-based realms, and would be totally out of their element. Aquaman can use any sea creature to his advantage. This telepathy, while limited, has had devastating effect on White Martians, and could be used on other things than fish.
- Expert in swimming, hand-to-hand combat, and tactics: Not only can he swim fast, but he can swim properly. Any competitive swimmer will appreciate that. He's also a master fighter (not quite Batman level, but he can go toe to toe with just about anyone), and can lead armies and troops with the best of them.
Let's review, shall we? We have a master fighter who can swim at speeds rivaling a jet plane, and can withstand most human-based attacks while using sharks to his advantage. Sound lame? I didn't think so. He's not the most powerful, or the fastest, or the absolute best, but he's well-rounded, and that can often turn the tide of battle. And we haven't even gotten to his trident. Let's do that, shall we?
Aquaman the King:
Besides being a founding member of the Justice League, Aquaman is also King of Atlantis. When I say Atlantis, I don't mean some mermaid-filled ruin of an ancient city. I mean a highly advanced, civilized underwater city, completely encased and protected. The people are cultured like the Greeks of old, and while they are isolated, this people is anything but backwards. Like an under-water Wakanda, their weaponry and transportation is advanced, and their soldiers are vast and well-armed.
Now, that is an army controlled by his half-brother, but it gives you an idea as to the power that The ruler of Atlantis can control. But, a king cannot live by the sword alone. Aquaman is a masterful diplomat, eloquent in speech and swift of wit. While he is unused to democratic rule, his forthrightness and keen intellect have allowed him to win the day through diplomacy and not by force.
So, Aquaman is a just king, and a leader of thousands of highly trained warriors, and an expert diplomat, but there is one more thing that grants Aquaman the right to rule and reign over 75% of the Earth: The Trident of Neptune.
Forged from Admantine and the spirit of Neptune himself, the Trident is a weapon that would rival even the famous Mjolnir. It grants divine right to rule the water to its user, meaning that it is not just a weapon, but a symbol of power. It allows the user to have complete and total control over water in all its forms. Tidal waves, whrilpools large enough to sink ships, and columns of hard water on which to stand are just a few of the things Aquaman can do with the trident. It also is able to release massive amounts of energy in bolt and shield form. Aquaman can also control the weather, and not just lightening, but all forms. Just like Thor's hammer, he can call down lightning and fire it at enemies. Some stranger powers allow him to cause things to turn invisible, and the trident can cause living beings to change form. About the only thing he can't do with it is fly, but, when you can ride on the backs of sharks, I don't think this is a large problem.
Oh! One more thing... Let me just leave this here:
Yes, that's Aquaman stabbing Darkseid in the face. Case closed.
Aquaman the Human:
The reason that Arthur Curry is able to be a bridge between both the our world and Atlantis is because his parents were of both realms. His mother was an exiled Atlantean queen who fell in love with a lighthouse keeper. When his mother Atlanna died, his father actually was the one who trained him to control his powers, and to fight. Mr. Curry taught his son that one day he would be the one to save the seas and become the rightful ruler of Atlantis. Curry's story has always been one of realizing who he was, and becoming the hero and king he was destined to be. As a human, Curry is as regal and diplomatic as he is as king. He is slow to anger, but is fierce in the defense of the helpless. Even as a "mortal" he acts like a true king.
So there you have it! All in all, he's not as powerful as Superman, or as dark as Batman, but, he's a highly underrated character both in personality and power, and that's just a shame, in my opinion. We could do with a little more Aquaman in the DCCU, and fortunately, we're going to get that with Jason Momoa starting in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. He won't be the blond haired, blue eyed boy that we often see in the comics, but an older, more experienced and bitter Aquaman, which might just take this character from being a second tier hero to being as well-loved as the trinity of DC comics.
So, why did I write this? This is the start of a 5 part series dealing with traditionally lame characters that are hitting screens both large and small over the next year. So, next up will be the Ragin' Cajun, Gambit!