The most well-known aquatic superhero, Aquaman is the king of Atlantis. Known underwater as King Orin, and by surface-dwellers as Arthur Curry, he strives to protect the seas and the surface using his abilities.He disappeared sometime after Infinite Crisis due to making a deal with the water gods to save the inhabitants of Sub Diego, after which he became the Dweller in the Depths, the mentor to the second Aquaman, Arthur Joseph Curry. Orin died at the end of the Sword of Atlantis series, murdered by the undead assassin Narwhal, but during the events of Blackest Night, he was brought back as Aquaman thanks to the White Entity.
Badass Boast: Even though Arthur is pretty humble, you can expect him to throw one of these towards anyone who underestimates him.
Aquaman: "I know there are certain benighted souls who think I'm some kind of third rate hero, Scavenger, but I think you of all people would know better! But since you seem a bit confused, let me make this perfectly clear...I was in the world saving game when people like Firestorm and Black Lightning were still in diapers...I've worked hard to earn the respect and trust of every living creature below the waves, and I take my job very seriously...so get this through your head, punk, I'm Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas...and I'm the BEST!"
Berserk Button: Harming any of his friends, and especially his wife, is not a good idea in the least. Why? Because unlike many other heroes, Orin does not have a no-kill code.
Dead Guy Junior: Post-Crisis, he's given the name "Arthur Curry" from his adoptive human father.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Constantly. Aquaman throws down with Gods and Lovecraftian Horrors on the reg. He apparently has a yearly pact with Etrigan to drive down a very Cthulhu-like beast down to its home.
Hour of Power: He could only stay out of water for only one hour in the Silver Age.
In a Single Bound: Being fully adapted to live in the pressure of the deepest sea trenches, he's able to leap miles at a time through the air, with Incredible Hulk-like jumps.
Knight in Sour Armor: Most modern depictions of Aquaman have him somewhat grumpy and anti-social, but at the same time he can be very empathic towards others and does care a lot for the well being of both humans and Atlanteans, even if he has a hard time showing it.
Lightning Bruiser: Impossibly fast and agile in the sea (and still far faster than any normal human on land), and can take blows from Superman like it was nothing.
Mentor: To Arthur Joseph Curry, the second Aquaman.
To both Aqualads too.
Papa Wolf: Threaten his kids? You'll be lucky if you live to see the end of the hour. Threaten Atlantis? You'll be lucky if you have anything left. There's a reason why no one with a brain in their head tries to directly confront him and instead just hires Manta.
Telepathy: Contrary to popular belief, Aquaman can indeed do more than speak to sea creatures. His telepathy extends to anything that's evolved from the sea. Which includes Atlanteans and humans and even Martians.
Taken Up to Eleven when he learned to tap into the Clear, a matrix that connects all sea life in the world which allowed him to see, hear, and feel everything that all live in the ocean have ever experienced.
Though as of the New 52, he is only capable of psychically moving sea life to do as he wants. And if their survival instinct is high enough, they can resist his orders.
Unscrupulous Hero: Has crossed into this realm here and there. He's still easily the most brutal member of the League even on his best days.
He tends to become this quite frequently in the New 52 too.
Aquaman II (Arthur Joseph Curry)
When Orin disappeared due to the circumstances of Sub Diego's rising, Arthur Joseph Curry eventually came to become the second Aquaman. His origin was similar to the Golden Age version of Aquaman in that he was the son of a human scientist who was born prematurely, so his father gave him the abilities needed to survive underwater. He was mentored by the Dweller in the Depths, who was actually the missing Orin.
Important Haircut: He can be distinguished from Orin by his hair, which is longer than Orin's crew cut.
The wife of Aquaman, her origins have ranged from being the Queen of Dimension Aqua to being the princess of a separatist colony of Atlanteans. Nevertheless, she is a capable ruler and fighter, often assisting her husband in fighting for protection of the sea.
Aquaman's first sidekick was Garth, an Atlantean who had the same powers as Aquaman. He was abandoned by an Atlantean group called the Idylists, but Aquaman took him in and raised him as his own. He was also a founding member of the Teen Titans like many other sidekicks of the day.He later obtained water-controlling abilities, after which he changed his heroic codename to Tempest. He was tragically murdered in Blackest Night by the Black Lantern of his former girlfriend Tula.
Trauma Conga Line: Following Infinite Crisis, Garth was turned into an albino and rendered powerless, and his wife and son were missing. Recently, he was restored to normal, only to learn Dolphin and Cerdian were both dead since Infinite Crisis. Was named King of Atlantis and then killed by Black Lantern Aquagirl (his ex-girlfriend) during Blackest Night, turning him into a Black Lantern.
Losing her parents at an early age, Tula was adopted by the Atlantean royal family and was given the title of Princess of Poseidonis. She eventually met and fell in love with Garth, the first Aqualad, and adopted the codename "Aquagirl" in order to honor him.
Lorena was once an ordinary inhabitant of the Californian city San Diego, but she was present when an earthquake sunk part of it. Aquaman retrieved her and nursed her back to health, discovering that she, along with every other resident present during the sinking, had the ability to breathe underwater. She adopted the name of Aquagirl, leading the effort to rebuild the sunken portion of the city as Sub Diego.
0% Approval Rating: In the New 52, after it's discovered he was the one behind the war betwen Atlantis and the US. Most people in Atlantis loathe him, to the point one of the guards once tried to take advantage on the confusion during an attack on Atlantis to murder and blame it on the battle.
Subverted in Comic Book/New52. He's rigged a war between the US and Atlantis just to force Arthur to reclaim the throne from Orm, who by all accounts was a perfectly capable leader, if one who believed too much in Divine Right and didn't like humans.
I Did What I Had to Do: How his New 52 incarnation justifies his war crimes; he genuinely believed forcing Arthur to take the throne was the best course of action for Atlantis
Aquaman's bastard son by the Inuit woman Kako, Koryak possesses the power to control water, and a whole host of parental issues. When his mother is apparently killed by the Deep Six, he allies with Aquaman to fight them, but later becomes jealous of Arthur's close relationship with Tempest. Responsible for freeing Kordax from his centuries long exile, Koryak temporarily sides with him against his father, is exiled to his village, and then finally aids Aquaman against Anton Geist.
The Queen of the Atlantean city of Thierna Na Oge, Nuada lost her arm when her sister Bres, deposed her and siezed the throne for herself, and gained a new, cybernetic arm instead. Imprisoned in the city's dungeons, Nuada aided a visiting Aquaman, also imprisoned by Bres, in escaping the city and defeating his brother, Ocean Master, before returning home and regaining her own throne from Bres. She has been his ally since.
Cain and Abel: With her sister Bres, resulting in the latter's death during the post-Crisis timeline.
Distaff Counterpart: She has a lot in common with Aquaman, right down to her rivalry with Bres, which mimics his problems with Ocean Master. Post-Crisis the similarities only became stronger, courtesy of his loss of his hand.
Black Manta is Aquaman's arch enemy. A sociopathic Psycho for Hire and pirate who's dedicated his life to ruining Aquaman's. Dressed in a combination scuba suit and Power Armour, Black Manta's most infamous act was undoubtedly killing Aquaman's son.
Arch-Enemy: One of the top contenders for the title, alongside Ocean Master.
Breakout Villain: He started out as a minor recurring villain, but eventually established himself as Aquaman's main enemy and since then has had more media exposure than any Aquaman character aside from Aquaman himself.
Card-Carrying Villain: "Y'see, deep down, in my most secret heart of hearts, I'm still a totally depraved sonuvabitch whose main goal in life is to watch you die. Slowly and painfully. Just like your kid."
Eye Beams: His signature ability. They're usually heat based laser blasts.
Freudian Excuse: Post-Flashpoint, Geoff Johns has given him one. Aquaman thought Black Manta killed his father, Tom Curry, when Manta attacked Arthur in order to get a sample of his blood for Dr. Shin, and Tom intervened. So, in revenge, Arthur killed Black Manta's father. It turned out Tom Curry suffered a heart attack and died in a hospital three days after he the attack.
He had two vague Freudian excuses Pre-Skip. The first one was that he was kidnapped and enslaved for an unspecified amount of time. He saw Aquaman and called out for help, but Aquaman didn't hear him. The other one was that he was autistic and underwent experimental treatment that left him angry and hateful.
Lack of Empathy: More or less goes without saying once you're dealing with somebody as sociopathic as Manta.
Ocean Master is Aquaman's jealous brother who wants to rule Atlantis. Originally depicted as a fully human pirate, utilising advanced technology, Orm became the son of Atlan the wizard and an Inuit woman post-Crisis, and a powerful sorcerer to boot. Whether he is human, Atlantean, or a mix varies, but one thing about Orm remains consistent: he wants the throne, and will trample anyone who gets in his way.
Archenemy: Aquaman's original one, and a strong contender for the title to this day.
The New 52 IncarnationOrm is a full-blooded Atlantean, half-brother of Arthur and the would-be heir Atlantis. This version is more of an Anti-Villain, as he is depicted as a good king and he doesn't hate humans, though he does view Atlanteans as superior. After an accidental attack on Atlantis by a human-submarine, he wages war with the surface world and his brother and his associates in the Throne of Atlantis storyline. He is defeated, and Arthur becomes king of Atlantis. He is sent to Belle Reve to await trial, but before he does attend trial, the Crime Syndicate set every inmate free, and Orm makes his way to the ocean. However, he ends up protecting a woman and her child for a while, but Xebus, the king of Xebel, finds him and tells him that the two must take their place among the Seven Kings and rule the world.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sure he attempted to drown a few cities, but it was in defense of Atlantis, from his perspective. He also seems to truly love his brother Arthur, a first for the character. He also became a sort of Parental Substitute for Erin's son Tommy, and stayed with them during the Forever Evil event.
The Evil Prince: Like Arthur, he is Queen Atlanna's son, and wants the throne for himself. However, he wasn't particularly evil until the Throne of Atlantis storyline, when he decided to wage war with the surface world.
The Good King: It is shown that he is actually this to the Atlanteans, and they do like him. The problem is he doesn't really like the surface dwellers all that much.
The Faceless: In his first appearance, Aquaman #14, his face is always obscured by shadows.
Fantastic Racism: This version doesn't hate surface dwellers, he pities them. That said, he does think they're objectively inferior to Atlanteans.
Green-Eyed Monster: This seems to be subverted. He seems to genuinely care for Arthur, and wouldn't mind him being king. However, eventually, he comes to think that he would be the better king, though it's still not driven by envy.
Pet the Dog: Protects Erin and her son Tommy when criminals released from prison by the Crime Syndicate, albeit reluctantly. Aquaman #25 reveals that he actually ended up staying with Erin.
Shock and Awe: His trident can generate and control storms through unknown means.
Super Strength: All Atlanteans have this. Though Orm is quite a bit stronger than the average Atlantean.
Villain Has a Point: During one of his discussions with his human advocate while he is in prison, he criticizes how the death he caused during the war qualifies as murders in the eye of the government, whereas Atlantean death are completely ignored.
Piranha Man (Charybdis)
The villain who caused the loss of Aquaman's hand, Charybdis was a terrorist who lost his wife, Scylla, in the same incident that gave him control over fish. He attacked Aquaman, and was mutated into a piranha/human cross in the process.
Freudian Excuse: He was already a wanted criminal, but losing Scylla did nothing for Charybdis' sanity.
A mutated Atlantean prince with blond hair and green scales, Kordax was exiled at birth, only to return later in life and make a bid for the throne. The horrors of his invasion of Atlantis, and Kordax's own unnerving appearance, sparked the legends that led the Atlanteans to see all blonds as cursed. Returning in the present day, Kordax tried to usurp the throne of Atlantis, coming into conflict with Aquaman.
Red Right Hand: Cora viewed Kordax's deformities as proof his evil nature and abandoned him accordingly. This ultimately resulted in Kordax being raised by his father, Dardanus, and turning out to be every bit as bad as you would expect.
Super Strength: All Atlanteans are, but Kordax is capable of matching Aquaman himself.
Telepathy: A pretty damn powerful one. When he psychically clashed with Aquaman, every creature in the sea was nearly driven insane due to the mental shockwaves. Fish and Atlanteans.
Of course Kordax wouldn't care if they were mindless husks either way.
The personification of drought, and the ideological opposite of The Waterbearer, The Thirst is an ancient attacked Aquaman after he became guardian of the Secret Sea. Taking the form of a golem made from dry river mud, The Thirst tried to drain the Seven Seas (the reservoir of human imagination), and the entirety of the world's rivers, all as part of its attempt at claiming Aquaman's soul.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: It's not as obvious as with some villains, but to anybody reading a comic about an aquatic auperhero, the presence of a being called "The Thirst" should instantly set off warning bells.
Necromancer: Can resurrect those that he has slain as mindless, zombie husks slaved to his will.
Six minions of Darkseid, the Deep Six are aquatic terrorists who carry out the will of their master. Originally dispatched to battle Orion, the Six were thought to have died at his hands, but resurfaced in Aquaman, during Peter David's run. It is revealed that this new Deep Six is made up of spawns of the originals, who were raised on Earth, and are thus more attuned to its oceans then those of their homeworld. They battled Aquaman, Dolphin and Koryak, after apparently killing Koryak's mother, Kako. The Six are Gole, Jaffar, Kurin, Shaligo, Slig, and Trok.
An Axe to Grind: Trok wields an axe on a leather thong, which he whirls about.
Super Strength: All of the six are stronger then your average human, and are capable of taking punches from the likes of Aquaman.
The sister of Nuada Silverhand, Bres launched a coup against her sister, gaining control of Thierna Na Oge for herself. A manipulative schemer, she came into conflict with Aquaman as well, when the latter arrived in Thierna Na Oge, hunting for Ocean Master. She was eventually deposed by Nuada, and post-Crisis, died when she allied herself with an alien force that sought to invade Atlantis.
The brother of King Orin I of Atlantis, Shalako was a sorcerer who grew jealous of his brother's position and power. Leading a group of exiles to live in Tritonis, Shalako manipulated events to transform them into fishlike merpeople. When it was revealed that this mutation was his own fault, his people ultimately killed him.
Expy: He's essentially a better looking Ocean Master. Given that he is supposed to be the originator of the prophecy about the brothers warring over rulership of Atlantis, and Ocean Master is a part of that prophecy, this is justified.
Face-Heel Turn: At one point he and his brother were genuinely close. Then the fall of Atlantis happened and it all went downhill from there.
Pride: His great sin. Shalako could not accept that anybody, including his own brother, might be better at something then he was.
Religion of Evil: Believed in dark gods and human sacrifice, ultimately killing his own wife on the sacrificial altar.
The son of Shalako, and the father of Kordax, Dardanus initially seemed like he would turn out to be one of the heroes. Having witnessed his father sacrificing his mother, Dardanus turned on Shalako, revealing to the people of Tritonis that it was Shalako, and not King Orin I of Poseidonis who was to blame for their mutated condition. Resurfacing as an adult, Dardanus proved himself every bit as bad as his father. He raped Princess Cora, impregnating her with Kordax. He later found Kordax after his abandonment, and raised him to be a weapon, eventually using his son as a pawn in a gambit to seize control of Atlantis.
Blatant Lies: Tells the people of Tritonis that their condition is Orin I's fault, despite he himself having revealed to them years ago that it was Shalako's.
Manipulative Bastard: Manipulated his own son, Kordax, into becoming a weapon, and played the people of Tritonis for fools.
Narcissist: Dardanus' every action was dedicated to his own advancement, and his egoism and sense of self-worth knew no bounds. Convinced the world revolved around him, and seeing almost everyone as a potential pawn, he was a textbook narcissist.
Patricide: Not directly, but by telling the people of Tritonis that it was Shalako who caused their mutations he ensured his father's death.
The architect, builder, and very first king of Atlantis, in the New 52. However, along with giving life to Atlantis, he also was the one to destroy it. He is also not Aquaman's ancestor. In fact, Aquaman descended from Atlan's brother, Orin, who killed his family and usurped the throne of Atlantis.
Cain and Abel: His brother, Orin betrayed Atlan and killed his family and servants to take hold of the throne.
Genius Bruiser: Physically strong enough to contend with Aquaman. Along with being the lead designer of the building of Atlantis, as well as having arcane knowledge which he used to forge the seven artifacts.
Fallen Hero: Even Vulko admits Atlan was a great hero while Aquaman's ancestors were the villains.
Magic Staff: His scepter, which can control the Trench, who are later revealed to be descended from the Atlanteans. Aquaman believes the scepter does not control them; instead, the Trench have a primal instinct that causes them to obey whoever holds the staff because of their shared ancestry with the Atlanteans.
Royally Screwed Up: After being woken by Aquaman's telepathy and re-taking the throne, Atlan enslaves any Arthur loyalists while he attempts to regain rule over the seven seas.
The Good King: He was this in the past. Not so much in the present.
Start of Darkness: Originally, Atlan was a wise and just king who believed that there could be peace between all species. His brother Orin and his advisers, however, were warmongers who betrayed Atlan and killed his family. Outraged, Atlan killed Orin and his wife and started a civil war. Using the scepter, Atlan sunk Atlantis.