Ask some people around, especially non-comic book people; “what are Aquaman’s powers?” Most of them will answer, “he can talk to fish.” I, too, was once among those mere surface dwellers (though, I still am), thinking Aquaman was a joke of a superhero.
There even was a time when the word “Aquaman” was an insult. Now, that time has come to an end since the Justice League character is finally being given, well, justice in film. So we at Forever Geek set out to deconstruct the obvious: why Justice League Aquaman is now a total badass.
A little background may be in order. Since let’s face it, Aquaman is too overshadowed by the two poster boys of DC, one is an alien boy scout and the other a billionaire with issues. Aquaman, a.k.a. Arthur Curry is actually a founding member of the Justice League. He was there alright and probably even prevented Supes and Batman catfighting over who gets to be the leader. Additionally, out of all the Justice League members, he has the most political influence, it even spans the seven seas, beat that Bruce Wayne.
That’s only a few of the reasons why he is now cool. Here’s an ocean’s worth of reasons why Justice League Aquaman is not lame anymore. Just kidding, it’s just nine significant ones:
Jason Momoa who? This guy is Khal Drogo, he was born as Khal Drogo, change my mind. Anyway, depending on how well he pulls off the solo movie role, Momoa just might change his image from a Khal to a King… of Atlantis!
Despite not having the same ethnicity as his comic book counterpart (Aquaman in comics is clearly a blond Caucasian), there was little to no backlash over it. Unlike some other <ahem> notable miscasting backlashes over actor ethnicity. No, this is a superhero facelift done right. To quote one superfan who got, er, “wet” over Momoa being cast as the superhero, “You took Aquaman from guppy to Great White.” We all have Zack Snyder to thank for that.
He’s a king
Of Atlantis, yes, but Atlantis’ domain is the Earth’s waters. Guess what? 70 percent of the Earth is water. Anyway, when he is not using his Aquaman powers; superhuman strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, and durability to defend both land and water, he is also dabbling in Atlantean politics. Gotta have an army when you’re king and they have to be wearing your Aquaman logo.
The title of King of Atlantis is no joke, it is only given people who truly deserve to rule Atlantis, meaning despite being born half-a-monarch, Arthur Curry still had to work for the approval of Atlanteans. That means the people love him, not because he is rich or godly, but because he is worthy. He certainly does not answer to anyone, being a king, not even to some billionaire playboy with a Lambo.
A worthy Black Panther-esque film villain
Just as some superheroes have evolved to a point where they do not fall into a goody-two-shoes type of day-saver (thanks Deadpool and Venom), villains have also begun showing more depth. This is especially true in Aquaman and you can bet that the primary villain in the upcoming live-action film is a deep character… no pun intended.
For those who are unfamiliar with him, his name is Orm a.k.a. Ocean Master, half-brother of Arthur Curry and was raised in Atlantis. His motivations are not as simple as wanting power or destroying the world. He actually wants to make the world better, and unfortunately, humans are making it worse by polluting the oceans and rivers. So he wants to wage war on the surface world once he becomes King of Atlantis… unless Arthur can do something about that. It’s pretty similar to Erik Killmonger’s goals from MCU’s Black Panther.
By the way, Orm is not the only villain present in Aquaman, apparently, Black Manta will also join the fray. Unlike Orm, Black Manta’s no idealist, he’s pretty much a Boba Fett (also as badass as him) and works with personal gain in mind.
He has a hot wife… who is also a superhero
If there was one male superhero in DC who does not need to come to the aid of a damsel in distress, it would be Aquaman. His queen and wife, a red-headed hottie named Mera, also shares the same Atlantean physiology as him to a certain extent. That means superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, and durability as well.
Oh, and she can also control water and weaponize it too. Did we also mention she’s hotter than Wonder Woman?
Yeah, no contest, Atlantean redhead > Amazon brunette.
He fights Cthulhu every year… and wins
A king’s gotta show off and flex just how kingly he is. So every year, Aquaman competes in an interplanetary Olympics since he pretty much owns 70 percent of Earth and is a perfect representative of the planet. There, he basically fights Cthulhu and saves other planets every year from him. That means he has not only saved Earth but also other planets as well. He pretty much does Green Lantern’s work on a regular basis.
By the way, he’s also punched death in the face. Not even Superman could do that without dying, speaking of the Man of Steel…
He can go toe-to-toe with Superman
Sure, everyone makes fun of Aquaman, that is until Superman goes berserk and murderous. By then, the only handful of heroes that can distract him long enough for Batman to do wonders with his Kryptonite is Wonder Woman… and Aquaman. Maybe Shazam! too, but that’s a topic for another time.
We did mention that Aquaman does have superhuman strength paired with the magical Aquaman trident that can injure Superman. That is enough to give him a fighting chance against the unanimously strongest character in DC. While the most recent “Justice League” movie from DCEU shows Superman trashing all the Justice League members, that movie is not very faithful to its comic book counterpart. It is worth noting that while any version of Justice League Aquaman can take on Superman, he’ll likely not win against the Man of Steel. Sadly.
His powers are so much more than just talking to fish
While he can communicate with aquatic life through telepathy, this sort of telepathy is also not just limited to water creatures. To some extent, he can actually influence mind powers to land dwellers too, often to hypnotic lengths.
He actually caused one powerful villain to have a seizure just by concentrating. The poor bugger ended up having to kill himself to end the said seizure, something Aquaman would not lament or brood over because…
He kills baddies
Unlike Superman who will beat a godly enemy to an inch of their life but not kill them or Batman who will torture and maim enemies only to send them to a crazy house, Arthur Curry has a more permanent solution, execute the evildoers. He does show no qualms about killing his enemies, especially since he is a king, and he probably treats any enemy as a potential usurper.
One would wonder why Aquaman is the one being made fun of when both Supes and Batman refuse to end dangerous enemies that can wipe out a planet or a city.
He’s dealt with more loss than Bat--
Okay, okay, losing your parents as a kid is not something to scoff at. However, Arthur Curry was raised by a single parent, his son was killed by Black Manta, his marriage crumbled soon after that, and he also lost his arm doing the things he needed to do, meaning, in a sense, he had to sacrifice it. To make him more badass, he replaced his missing arm with a harpoon tip for the time being before an actual replacement was found.
Despite all his loss, he still remains the king of Atlantis and a valued Justice League member both in spirit and mind.
That about sums up why Aquaman is no longer the blond out-of-place Justice League member. The rest, you will have to… sea to believe. Okay, that doesn’t make sense but make sure to remember that while watching the upcoming Aquaman movie later in December!