YMMV / Aquaman

  • Broken Base:
    • The beard and hook hand. Some prefer the clean cut look, while others prefer his bearded, Viking/pirate look.
    • The casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman for the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe. Some think it's a brilliant move that will not only help redefine the character but also help permanently destroy his old reputation of being lame. Others think Momoa is hopelessly miscast and nowhere near talented enough to pull it off. And a further set think that Mamoa will pull it off, but it won't help the character as a whole due to the vastly different look (i.e 'Classic' Aquaman'll still be thought of as being lame, whilst only Mamoa's Aquaman will be thought of as awesome.)
    • In the Dan Abnett run, Mera adopting the identity of Aquawoman and wearing a version of Arthur's outfit. Some think it removes her identity and reduces her to a Distaff Counterpart to Aquaman, and doesn't fit the character. Others think it's a good look for her and it'll allow her to move beyond being just a supporting character for Arthur. Abnett seems to be aware of it, as Mera and Arthur themselves think the name is lame, and they admit to it being a marketing gimmick, albeit one that humans seem to like. She ditches the costume by the Rebirth series and even calls it embarrassing.
  • Complete Monster: Pre-New 52 Black Manta, real name David, makes his living as a brutal pirate, often in the employ of others, and is obsessed with destroying Aquaman at all costs. To this end, Manta killed Aquaman's infant son by trapping him in a chamber that suffocated the boy, despite Arthur's best efforts to save him. Manta continues to torment his nemesis by targeting and murdering those he can. Not even Manta's own family is exempt from his cruelty: his own son, the new Aqualad, was the target of Manta's wrath when Manta attempted to murder him with zealous hatred, for no other reason than rejecting the path Manta wanted for him. In Brightest Day, Manta tries to go straight, opening up a fish market, but when the customers rejoice that Aquaman is alive, Manta murders them with a knife, before burning down his own house and resuming his quest for vengeance. Manta is a vicious, hateful murderer who would poison the entire ocean just for the chance to hurt his nemesis.
  • Dork Age: Cullen Bunn's run on the New 52 title. The story is generic pulp fiction which Bunn himself even admits did not suit the character. At the same time, it also did its best to undo all the work the Johns and Parker runs did before it. Arthur is now hated by Atlanteans again despite the entirety of Johns' run focusing on his gaining acceptance. Mera is how hunting Arthur, destroying all the development their relationship went through in both previous runs, particularly Parker's. Literally none of the supporting cast return, not even Tula, who had been consistently used since being introduced. Arthur now has weird powers like teleportation thanks to Poseidon, who literally no Atlantean before this run made mention of, and who Arthur outright denied the existence of over in JLA. The reveal that Mera has an evil twin sister is laughed at for its incredible soap drama-esque nature. The mere cover of the first issue pissed fans off for very obviously trying to incorporate aspects of the movie design in with Arthur's classic look, the result being an incredibly ugly costume. The only redeeming factor of the entire thing was introducing the New 52 Garth (though this also ignores Johns' run which mentions him being a newborn), and even then, Bunn didn't do anything with him, and this was likely Executive Meddling since DC began pushing the original Teen Titans at this time (complete with their own miniseries), meaning anyone could've done it. The backlash to Bunn's run was so strong that Bunn wanted to leave the book before his first issue even shipped, and was convinced to at least finish his arc by his editor.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Orm's New 52 incarnation is pretty popular, if only because it made him an Anti-Villain and gave him depth, with his relationship with Arthur growing beyond simple Green-Eyed Monster. He got the Sinestro treatment in that Johns turned him into a much more sympathetic and interesting character, and many readers are waiting for his return.
  • Epileptic Trees: Secret Origins #2 has Dr. Shin state that the reason for Arthur's Super Strength is due to his mixed heritage. However, Orm is shown to be of equal strength, but is said to be the son of Atlanna and the then-Captain of the Atlantean Guard. While this could be because Jeff Parker wrote that expanded origin story while Geoff Johns wrote their fight, it could also mean that one of Orm's parents is human. Meaning Atlanna either had an affair with another human after being married, or that she isn't Orm's mother, meaning Orm isn't royalty.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: As you'd guess, calling him useless. Hell, this is one for the entire DC fanbase and is akin to Ant-Man jokes to the Marvel fanbase; basically stopped being funny two decades ago and screams, "I don't actually read them."
  • Growing the Beard: Literally. Also, generally, once writers started writing him as a more serious character, the stories became a lot better.
  • Memetic Badass
    • During the 2000s run in an Ostrander Aquaman was described by several people. Each one described him in a different way: an even grittier version of the Scraggy Bearded Barbarian of the '90s; the old, clean cut Aquaman of the '60s with an extended Aquafamily; a powerful humanoid composed of water and as a perfect lover.
    • Mera, instead, in Johns' 2011 series discovers to her utter dismay that the large public knows her as Aquawoman, a red haired mermaid who gains human legs whenever she's dry.
    • Black Manta, a Scary Black Man whose dickery rivals that of Professor Zoom. The kicker? He is just a Badass Normal with Powered Armor who is enemies with the ruler of Atlantis, who is naturally more powerful than him.
  • Memetic Loser: Aquaman often gets hit with this, (to the point where we could probably successfully rename it "The Aquaman") mostly due to his memetic Superfriends incarnation. We even named a trope for the inane hoops one has to jump through to make Aquaman's hyper specific skill set seem useful in a team setting. Though he's starting to shed this due to the public being introduced to his more badass interpretations (such as his appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us).
  • Never Live It Down/Ink-Stain Adaptation: His stint in the Superfriends cartoon means that even now he's still known as the useless one.
    • In-universe Black Manta likes bring up the fact that he murdered Aquaman's infant son.
    • In-universe Aquaman and Mera enjoy some sort of "floating reputation", being both described as useless mockery of heroes or as powerful beings on their own. See Memetic Badass and Memetic Mutation.
  • My Real Daddy:
    • Phil Jimenez has this reputation in regards to Garth, since he was the one who gave him the Tempest name and power upgrade.
    • Geoff Johns seems to be acquiring some of this now thanks to his successful relaunch of the character in the New 52.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Trench. When you realize that we still have no idea just what lives in the bottom of the ocean, there's an equal chance that those things may or may not be real.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: "Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis" is universally considered one of the worst videogames ever created. So bad it even inspired its own special category for awful video games on gaming show X-Play: The "Golden Mullet Award."
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Basically, this is the single thing that DC has been trying to do with the character since Superfriends came out. Amongst many hardcore comics fans, it's worked (particularly with Peter David's run), but as far as pop culture as a whole is concerned, he's a joke character.
    • At least until Batman: The Brave and the Bold came around, in which Aquaman actually manages to get fans, he's even the freakin' Ensemble Darkhorse!
    • Don't forget the Justice League incarnation of Aquaman, who was awesome. He cut off his freaking hand to save his son!
    • He even uses Summon Bigger Fish to call forth Cthulhu. Enjoy.
    • His resurrection in Brightest Day has resulted in him saving children from pirates with Mera by summoning undead sea monsters. So perhaps getting rescued again.
    • The Smallville version even got a pilot for a live action television spin-off after the numbers for the fifth season revealed that his debut episode was the most watched episode of the season.
    • The first issue of the recent Aquaman reboot seems to have this as its goal: it mostly involves Aquaman being badass and addresses a lot of common misconceptions about him. Four issues in it seems to have worked. Aquaman is being praised as one of the best series DC has, and Aquaman himself has gotten a big boost in appreciation without using more badass aspects like the harpoon hand and beard.
    • His appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us was very well-received.
  • Tearjerker: The death of Aquaman's son. No parent should have to go through that.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Aquaman