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Awesome / Aquaman

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  • Aquaman stopping an army's actions simply by arriving on the battlefield with one of his own. Don't even think about picking a fight with the king indeed.
    • During the JLA Mageddon event, he single-handedly pacifies his own people driven to violence by the Warbringer, then mobilizes the Atlantean military to forcibly stop the global conflict until the various Heads of State are convinced to call a cease-fire.
  • DC vs. Marvel, and literally dropping a whale on Namor.
  • In JLA/Avengers, Aquaman "beats" She-Hulk by remembering that he just has to retrieve 1 of the 10 magical artifacts to win (and then does it), which is quite amazing on its own. But the real moment of Awesome comes when Superman is being beaten by She-Hulk, Iron Man, The Incredible Hercules, Vision and Wonder Man, only to be saved by AQUAMAN! (and some random giant sea dragon)
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  • During the New 52 run of Justice League of America comics, Aquaman pulled a maneuver similar to Batman during pre-flashpoint continuity. Remember how the caped crusader singlehandedly took down a quadrio of all but unstoppable, shapeshifting space conquerors? Well in the DCnU's Justice League comics, Arthur did him one better when the league and all of earth came under attack by a Mad God from old Krypton backed by legions of Kal-El's own people brought with him from the past to conquer the earth after its mightiest heroes thwarted his initial attempts. Aquaman; armed with the Trident of Poseidon, was beset by an army of kryptonians who talked down to him for his gods having abandoned him. How does he respond? by reciting a legend of his homeland and about how his trident makes him god of the seas by calling up an army of his own, cast in sea foam horses washing them all away.
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  • There's also his Justice League incarnation, who cut off his own hand to save his son, and his Batman: The Brave and the Bold incarnation, who is a walking Moment of Awesome in a universe that already runs on Rule of Cool.
  • During Brightest Day, Aquaman is tasked with finding the new Aqualad, Jackson Hyde, before he's captured by Siren and Black Manta. Black Manta finds him first and is about to kill his adoptive father.
    Black Manta: He is not your father. He is nothing more than another man I've killed.
    (He shoots a wrist-mounted harpoon at Jackson's dad's face, and just as the projectile is half an inch from his face, Aquaman catches it and breaks it with one hand.)
    Black Manta: Aquaman.
    Aquaman: Manta.
  • Black Manta's rise to power after having dispatched the old guard and taking the reigns of command when negotiations had all but fallen through. Manta sums up his displayed badassery in but a few words:
    Black Jack: Oh my god. What have you done?
    Black Manta: The king is dead, Black Jack.
    Long Live The King. Any Questions?
  • "King of the seas, remember?"
    • Combined with a CMoF as the villain Downpour attacks Aquaman... with water. He simply raises an eyebrow, says the line, then bitch slaps Downpour.
  • One of the absolute best, though, is one in which he isn't even present: at the end of Patton Oswalt's Justice League: Welcome to the Working Week, the Big Bad, despite having just been beaten, is gloating that it nevertheless took the entire Justice League to do so. The Big Bad then laments, "I'm saddened... your Sea King isn't here". The response is "You're lucky our Sea King isn't here!", because if he had been, the beating would have been that much worse...
  • Near the end of PAD's run, Triton has killed Poseidon and is kicking the crap out of Aquaman and friends. Aquaman lets Triton kill him, so he can get to the afterlife. Once there, he decks Charon, rallies the dead who couldn't afford boat-fare, jacks the ferry man's boat and runs him over with it, storms the literal Gates of Hell and pulls off one of Cerberus' heads before tossing it through the front door. He then marches right up to Pluto and barters to take Poseidon back with him, ultimately convincing the lord of Hades with a very solid Batman Gambit. On his way out, with Poseidon in tow, Cerberus is back and Aquaman has just one word for the titanic guardian of the underworld as he and the sea god make their way back to life:"Stay."
  • In the first issue of Aquaman since the relaunch, writer Geoff Johns destroys the Aquaman jokes and misconceptions throughout. This includes a group of bank robbers laughing at him when he pops in to save the day and try to run him over with a van only to get flipped over with his trident, smashed onto the road, ending with one of them tossed into a police car windshield after shooting him. When Aquaman leaves, the cops who initially pined about aquaman's worth outside the water with no fish around to summon for help joking about how they're going to get made fun of for being "upstaged by Aquaman".
    • In the same issue, Aquaman is just trying to get some fish and chips (yes, really), only to be harassed by a blogger. From the blogger, we learn that Aquaman is constantly thought of as the Super Friends version in-universe, and therefore largely thought of as a joke. The blogger questions Aquaman's ability to speak with fish (they aren't smart enough to speak, he just telepathically "pushes" them), what he does for money (treasure he finds at the bottom of the sea), and, best of all, how it feels to be "nobody's favorite superhero", to which Aquaman just grabs his trident in response.
      • Even cooler still is that in later issues the whole, "nobody's favorite superhero" bit gets overturned after saving a little boy's mom from becoming food for the trench, then he walks up to him and openly says; "you're my favorite superhero". Arthur simply gives a quaint smile before he and Mera leap off home. One cop still doesn't like him though.
    • Mera gets her fair share of the bad rap in the "Aquaman is useless" stigma also but is far less patient than Arthur is about any of it. For instance, while searching for some dog food, a sleazy store clerk who tried to feel her up ended up with a broken arm, and this was before two cops and a paramedic whom he laughed at for being frightened (with good reason) of Aquawoman came onto the scene. After that, she waterbends their pistols out of their hands after politely asking the duo to drop their weapons.
      • Continuing from that, Mera feigns surrender when she hears that a murderous domestic abuser escaped police custody after killing his wife over the radio, only to confront the killer at his own house as he holds his daughter at gunpoint. Said criminal also hurls snide remarks at her, boasting that he holds all the cards while Mera was too far inland to be a threat to him. How does she respond? Nearly mummifying the guy via slow, crippling dehydration of his bodily liquids, only stopping when the daughter begs her to, as he was still her father. Mera simply quips that she doesn't get any of these people before jumping away like a boss.
  • In general, Aquaman and Mera's relationship. They're both hypercompetent on their own, separate terms, yet they're equally devoted, supportive, and loving of one another, with Mera just as able and willing to move hell and earth to come to Aquaman's rescue as he is her, all but completely averting the typical damsel/distaff tropes.
  • The New 52's Justice League #6 - Aquaman stabbing freakin' Darkseid in the freakin' eye with his trident!
  • In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Aquaman is confronted by Captain Super (evil!Shazam) and warned by Batman to "be careful. They're stronger than you are." His response, in classic, Large Ham, 60s fashion? "That remains to be seen!" He then bitchslaps Captain Super across the Watchtower and through a parked jet.
  • Aquaman #7: The return of Black Manta.
  • Whether you're an enemy or a friend, Aquaman demands respect. And yes, that includes Superman as well as Wonder Woman.
  • The citizens of Atlantis and the creatures of the sea respect, fear, and love Aquaman more than they do Poseidon. Freaking Poseidon!
  • Everything Orm does in part three of Throne of Atlantis (Justice League #16).
  • Silver Age!Aquaman made a hospital to help injured fish.
  • It's bittersweet, but after the Throne of Atlantis story arc, instead of seeing Aquaman as a joke in universe, the populace is now scared of him.
    • Highlighted again during the Warhead story arc in DC Rebirth, after having to contend with the titular named psionic military cyborg. He got a psychic flash through the former about just how fearful the world populace might be of him.
    Random Thought: And I thought BATMAN was the scary one.
  • Justice League Tower of Babel. The entire League, aside from Batman, is hit with tricks and death traps by Ra's Al Ghul that he stole plans for from Batman and modified to be more lethal. In Aquaman's case, he's hit with a version of Scarecrow's fear gas that causes him to fear water, meaning he would eventually die from staying out of it. But he manages to power through and overcome the fear, and then goes on to rescue the rest of the Justice League (minus Superman, who'd been hit with Red Kryponite that drove him away from Earth till it wore off).
  • Aquaman tricking an insane Hercules into trying to drown him. When he gets dunked under the water, his injuries immediately heal, and Arthur's smarmy smirk says it all. He then proceeds to punch Hercules across the island and into the ocean, then beat him into unconsciousness.
  • The final story of the Sub Diego arc just before the post-Infinite Crisis time skip. Black Manta tries to take advantage of the destruction of Atlantis to loot and wreak havoc, but encounters Aquaman. They fight, Aquaman manages to gain the upper hand, then sends a school of sharks and other ocean predators to swarm Manta, leaving him to his fate.
  • In the pre-Infinite Crisis Justice League story "Crisis of Conscience," Despero is having a brutal fight with the Martian Manhunter, free-falling from space to the coast of San Diego. Just as Despero is about to kill J'onn, a makeshift steel spear pierces his shoulder. It's Aquaman, who proceeds to start whaling on Despero, tackling him into the ocean and commanding the sea life to "Make. Him. Bleed."
  • In the rising in popularity Rebirth titles of Aquaman, the title character gains an impressive leap in cool points backed by an impressive following. In-universe, Atlantis is recognized as a world power and Arthur himself a force to be reckoned with, while still very much feared if little more than respected by the masses of the world at large. Many of his new fanbase after his resolution of the near WWIII crisis staged by N.E.M.O. fondly dub themselves his Aquafans.
    Manta is one of the most dangerous and capable men I have ever known.
    And N.E.M.O.'s advanced technology has advanced him to an alpha level Threat. A Threat To The Entire Planet.
  • After nearly being killed and left for dead, Aquaman proceeded to take a page out of Batman's book to clean up the lowest part of Atlantis until he can reclaim his throne as of Issue #25 of the 2016 series.