WoDC Connections - Who The Hell Is Aquaman?
By now, if you’re reading this, you know that Aquaman is getting his own movie. Many critics and fans have already seen it and the reviews are pretty good. The common adjective I keep coming across is “fun”. Right now, before its official release in the US, its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at a respectable 73%. That could change in either direction once the movie is officially released.
More to the point, many of you are probably wondering, not necessarily who Aquaman is, but why in Poseidon’s name is HE getting a movie? Isn’t he the guy that talks to fish and is useless unless he’s in or around water? If you agree with that it’s either because you’ve never heard of his escapades or you grew up watching Superfriends and the Aquaman cartoon. Let’s get one thing straight here: Aquaman will beat your ass and your daddy’s ass. He’ll beat your grandmother’s ass, but she has no business in the ring anyway, so that’s probably your fault for allowing that to happen. Anyone who’s read the comics or even watched the Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited cartoons can tell you he’s not to be trifled with.
Let’s take it back. Like the rest of comicdom, Aquaman has had several variations to his origin. The most common being that he was born Arthur Curry, son of Tom Curry and Queen Atlanna. He was raised by them both until her death where she revealed his royal lineage. His father raised him thereafter and somehow taught him to use his abilities. Then there’s the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the comics this was a huge, sprawling story that changed just about everything from power levels to origins for myriad characters. In this new universe, his origin was far more fantastical. It was said that he was the son of Atlanna and the immortal wizard Atlan who impregnated her in a dream (that sounds vaguely familiar..). The Queen was unable to produce an heir with the King so dream sex was the next best idea, apparently. The King was understandably upset, but decided that instead of being passive-aggressive for the duration of Arthur’s (named Orin, actually) life, he would just kill him by abandoning him on a dangerous reef. Because of Arthur’s ability to communicate with marine life, he was saved and raised by dolphins.
The next time he came across humans, he met with Tom Curry, a lighthouse keeper, who adopted him, named him Arthur and raised him. After some travel and a battle with a god, he was put in Atlantean prison where he was mentored by an Atlantean named Vulko (who will be played by Willem Dafoe in the movie). It was the Flash who gave him the name Aquaman after a team-up against a villain named The Trickster. Unfortunately, then comes the Infinite Crisis, another comic storyline. In it, it’s back to being the son of Tom and Atlanna. Yea, I know.
The movie will grab elements from all over the comics and perhaps craft a few of its own, but you can tell from the trailers that the lighthouse, the human father, and the Atlantean mother are all there, along with the tutelage of Vulko. So that’s where he comes from. Why can he stand beside the likes of Wonder Woman and Superman? Being a child of two worlds, he is a supernatural version of both species. He’s super-human and super-Atlantean. Atlanteans are already built to withstand the pressures of the ocean floor, but him more so. While his flesh can be pierced or penetrated, it is incredibly difficult to do so. His skeletal and muscular structures are remarkably dense and he’s strong enough to go toe-to-toe with the heavy weights in the superhuman arena. His speed and reflexes are also over ten times that of a normal human and all of these abilities are heightened underwater. He has sharp senses, and can see underwater to a far greater extent than any human. He is a master swimmer (of course), fighter, and diplomat.
Also, yes, he can talk to fish. Or, as he puts it in Justice League “The water does the talking.” By fish, I mean all marine life. It’s a form of telepathy that’s a bit deeper than your average mind-to-mind action. It’s akin to the connection Swamp Thing has to The Green (he can communicate with and control all plant life). In Aquaman’s case it’s called The Clear. He can see through the eyes of marine life or feel what they’re feeling. He can ask or even command them to aid him. He can do this from across the world. Apparently he’s just starting to understand what he’s capable of in this regard. He’s also shown to have some regular man-to-man telepathic ability as well.
All in all, this guy’s no joke. He deserves his spot at the table and I hope this movie is fantastic. All signs point to “most likely”. The Superpowered Review’s Aquaman movie review should be coming in this weekend so stay tuned!