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The Kingdom of the Deserters
- What happened to the Atlanteans who made the Desert Kingdom? If they made it to the Sahara, and built an underground citadel, then they must have thrived and flourished there. They must have adapted like Bedouins to the desert, so how could the place be empty? How could they die out?
- It is stated in the movie that the citadel was there before the Sahara turned into a desert. Since all their technology was dependent on water, this led to their downfall. Recall that pun aside, their nation was the Kingdom of the Deserters.
- It may be followed up in future films' mythologies, but in the comics, this branch of Atlanteans eventually interbreeds with humanity. Their children become sorcerers like Doctor Fate, Zatanna, and the wizard Shazam.
- In the comics, it's mentioned how a gentle prince of Atlantis deserted (thus, accounting for the Deserters name in the Cinematic universe) during an attempt of the Atlantean Army to invade Egypt and spent his life with the local population, spreading the half-warped myth of Atlantis to mankind as a way to protect humanity and make peace with his heritage. Most likely, when the Sahara ran out of water, the Deserters died or mingled with Egyptian people to the point of erasing every traces of their DNA save for small embers (as told in the former point, accounting for individuals like Nabu, the first Doctor Fate, the wizard Shazam and his first protegeé Black Adam and the most famous magicians of ancient times).
Where's the Justice League?
- Superman Stays Out of Gotham trope aside, surely, the idea of Atlantis warring on Earth would merit Arthur putting in a call to them. If nothing else, Superman would be searching for the cause of the tidal waves and Arthur should know the League would be a huge aid to him.
- It's probable they're busy cleaning up the messes of those tsunamis and too busy to track down the source.
- In most solo stories in DC featuring cataclysmic events, usually the explanation is pretty much the above. Though it doesn't always explain why they never attempt to get in touch with their colleagues who more than likely are the cause of said issue.
- If the League were to search for the cause of the waves, they wouldn't have much luck as none of them are experts in oceanography.
- The point of Arthur's mission was to win over the Atlantean people and become king in accordance with their traditions. Showing up with a team of superpowered surface dwellers would only alienate them.
- They wouldn't be very useful underwater anyway, as they would move and swim pretty much like normal humans without Atlantean biology (with the most likely exception of Superman), even with breathing equipment for those who would need it.
- Assuming the same or similar powers to the comics, the only JL members who are just like normal humans underwater would be Batman and Cyborg. Superman and Wonder Woman can fly (WW flies at the end of her solo movie after absorbing the lightning powers) and can do so underwater. Being a Kryptonian and Amazon, they can either hold their breath for hours or don't need to breathe. The Flash, due to the speed force, is basically frictionless and can create his own breathable air. Cyborg may have underwater adaptations but his current design doesn't look watertight. Batman is... Batman. He probably has a batsub if push comes to shove.
- Wonder Woman was in kind of a Super Mode at the end of her film, she merely hovered in the air after jumping. At no point in Batman v Superman and Justice League is she shown flying on her own, we'll have to see if there's more to this in Wonder Woman 1984. She was shown fleeing the tunnel flooding with the others in Justice League so keeping up with Atlanteans underwater likely wouldn't be easy for her.
- They are busy doing the same thing as the Amazons and the Atlanteans were while Zod was about to destroy Earth's biosphere.
- As noted above the problem isn't a lack of power, it's stopping the war before it starts. Any of the League showing up would just give Orm further ammunition ("Look, the surface dwellers send their freaks to kill us!"). If the war actually openly began on the surface naturally they'd be involved but it never came to that and Arthur is the only Atlantean they know so any investigation into the tsunamis is going nowhere.
- To elaborate some: Arthur's only got two chances to simply pick up a phone and call anyone (after landfall in the Sahara and once they hit Sicily). Given Arthur's comments downplaying his involvement in superheroics in this movie, he may not even know a way to get in touch with anyone.
- One further step, of course: Steppenwolf's defeat or no, Atlantis and Themyscira still aren't on speaking terms. Diana's presence in particular would jeopardize Arthur's efforts.
- That's only if you go by the comics. Nothing has even been said about contact and diplomacy between Atlanteans and Amazons in the DCEU so far.
- Didn't Arthur say that they went to war with the Amazons when in route to the battle with Steppenwolf in the Justice League movie?
Atlantis a myth
- Given this is a world where an alien is a major superhero and an Amazon warrior has been around for a century, would the public be so dubious as to Atlantis being a myth? As pointed out, a guy who can breathe underwater and talk to fish should be a key piece of evidence it exists.
- Aliens can be one thing but accepting an undersea kingdom hidden from the world for centuries is something else.
- Also, that there is a metahuman that can breathe underwater and talk to fish doesn't necessarily translate into evidence in favor of the Atlantean Myth, as those usually don't involve such elements.
- They have to believe in aliens because of the Kryptonian invasion, but there's no real evidence of Amazons or Atlanteans existing.
- It depends whether or not Diana talked about her people as she's now public knowledge, and whether or not King Arthur of Atlantis/Aquaman chooses to make his kingdom's existence known to the surface world after the end of Aquaman.
- Diana's still maintaining some kind of a secret identity per the Justice League movie, and was laying low before joining Bruce and Clark in BvS. People know a superheroine exists, and presumably call her Wonder Woman. That's probably about the extent of knowledge.
- Diana is seen working alongside the police to arrest some art thieves at the end of Justice League, in broad daylight and with kids coming at her, so people definitely know of Wonder Woman's existence when Aquaman starts.
- We know that Wonder Woman has been talking to the public (from one of the newspaper clippings shown in Aquaman — apparently she's denied dating Aquaman), but there's no indication she's mentioned Themyscira (though there's no real indication she hasn't, either).
- Freeze-Frame Bonus from Batman v Superman: Lois Lane wrote an article titled "Amazon woman and the Batman help combat Lex Luthor's plans" after the Doomsday fight. So the public knows Amazons exist.
- "Amazon Woman" could be taken several ways, not necessarily that she was one of those Amazons. We use the term in real life without meaning that a woman is a mythological warrior.
- Lois would've more likely used "warrior woman" if Diana didn't tell her she is an Amazon. The straightforward words of other newspaper articles by her suggest she wouldn't go that poetic.
- The existence of Amazons does not necessarily prove the existence of Atlantis the same way it doesn't prove the existence of any other myth, such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Also, Atlantis is a very secretive society that does not want to be discovered, and Arthur himself values his privacy. If Diana told the world about Amazons, she may have refrained from confirming Atlantis to avoid upsetting anyone.
- Originally, Atlantis only appeared as part of an allegory in Plato's The Republic as an enemy of Athens, and while it's been theorized that he might have been inspired by older civilizations, Atlantis specifically has always been fictional, the myths around it just sort of ballooned in the following millenia. DC's pseudoscientists could apparently not offer any further proof than those in the real world could, and one guy who can breathe underwater and talk to fish could just be a random mutation in a universe with superpowers.
- Saying that Aquaman proves Atlantis exists is like spotting one of the Trench and saying that this proves R'lyeh and Cthulhu exist. Sure, the Trench are a lot like the Deep Ones, but that doesn't mean they are, anymore than the existence of someone who could, if he wanted, live entirely underwater means he's from Atlantis. Now, we know Arthur is Atlantean, but for the people who live in the DCEU, proving the existence of Atlantis is going to require more evidence than one guy who happens to be able to breathe underwater.
- The red spot on the map they found in the Deserter kingdom showed that they needed to go to the northern coast of Sicily. This means that any object facing the sea (a statue for example) would be pointing north. This means the Kingdom of the Trenches must be between Sicily and Italy/France, which has a distinct lack of trenches IRL.
- Artistic License Geology
- It doesn't even need to be that. The geography of Earth in all versions of the DC Universe is just different to the real world.
- It's canonically larger than real world Earth.
- Sicily ties into the Greco-Roman connection of Atlantis's past.
Why not just get back onto the surface?
- So the backstory of Atlantis is kinda similar to the one in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. There is this powerful artifact that makes Atlantis a technological advanced civilization back when the rest of the world is still in the archaic age, but then the king messed around with it and resulted in the whole city sinking into the sea. The difference is, this Atlantis continues to thrive underwater. Its people manage to rebuild the city and make it even more advanced than before. If they have the ability to do that, why didn't the Atlanteans just get back to living on the surface?
- Atlantean biology problem. Only the high born (Atlantean royalty, Xebellian royalty, Vulko...) can survive on the surface. Low born Atlanteans like Murk are the majority, and they can't survive in a dry environment. To them, re-adapting to the surface might be anywhere between "impossible" and "plausible depending on how advanced Atlantean science is and likely not without suffering", i.e. not worth trying. If it is indeed impossible for low born biology to re-adapt, they would have to permanently live with Mobile Fishbowls in the surface world, which is not practical.
- I think the OP is asking why the Atlanteans even bothered to adapt their people to the sea when with their advanced tech they could have just as easily (far more easily likely considering all the effort fully adapting themselves to the sea would have taken) evacuated the population of Atlantis, headed to land, and lived there instead. With their massively advanced technology even back then the Atlanteans could have easily located to some sparsely populated corner of the world if they wanted to settle somewhere peacefully or conquered the entire rather primitive planet if not. In short, there doesn't seem to be any good reason why Atlantis took the path it did.
- Evacuating was impossible given that the tsunamis caused by the trident took the city by surprise. The trident might have been used in emergency by king Atlan to save the inhabitants who took refuge in remaining buildings (the rest died when hit by the tsunamis or crushed by collapsing buildings), mutating them so they could adapt to underwater life.
- It's likely most of their technological water-based wonders wouldn't have happened had they not been forced to live underwater. They had an unmentioned power source and tech before, and their water-based tech came after the sinking annihilated the former.
- It's mentioned that the Trident not only caused the sinking of Atlantis but changed its people at the same time. Given that it was a gift from Poseidon, it would make sense that its magic would allow turning something into a sea-dwelling creature but not likely to do the reverse.
- Don't forget that Atlantis didn't just vanish. Despite the snobbish views of the Atlanteans in the backstory, they'd already had rivals with the Amazons. It might be better to pretend to be dead while recovering, than to risk an enemy striking at their moment of weakness.
The submarine/Black Manta's father's death.
- So the guy activates a grenade to pressure his son into abandoning him. 2 problems: If his son had been more stubborn he could easily have died too, and he nearly scuttled the submarine they were hired to capture. What was he thinking?
- Saving the sub and letting his son die was presumably NOT an acceptable option, so doing any more damage to the sub if it got his son to leave safely would have been just fine. (It was already thoroughly banged up anyway, and it didn't, in the event, have a very demanding job to do.) If his son did not leave, he'd die too, so risking his son dying in the explosion instead of the incoming water isn't too much of a risk. But the grenade made his father dying (and no longer being someone to hang around trying to save) certain, imminent, and easily timed, as well as a very familiar thing to fear and flee. He's effectively committing suicide, his son cannot stop that, and getting to a safe distance means taking the first steps to getting out and living.
Will Orm be punished for his crimes against Atlantis?
- Mera says that after helping Arthur escape in defiance of then King Orm's will, she could never go home because Atlantis is notoriously unforgiving for slights against the Kingdom. She points out that even Atlanna, daughter of revered King Atlan, was sent to the trench to die for the crime of fraternizing with a land dweller and producing an illegitimate, half-breed heir, an insult to the throne of Atlantis. Atlanna and Mera were both deemed traitors and nearly killed by the reigning kings for "crimes" that didn't actually hurt anyone. Orm did far worse, murdering the King of the Fishermen, instigating a civil war against the Kingdom of the Brine, not to mention outrageously lying and conniving to Atlantis as whole to wage a war that would've killed millions on the low end. It's implied that he would be jailed because Arthur is gracious to his younger brother but don't the Fishermen and the Brine have the right to demand justice for the massive damage he inflicted on their individual kingdoms? Is Arthur's forgiveness enough to protect him from the fallout of murdering one king, attempting to murder a second, and ordering a hit on Arthur that risked the life of the princess of a third kingdom?
- That depends on how absolute the power of the Atlantean monarchy is. If Arthur is the final authority on all matters within Atlantis then he can punish as he sees fit. If there is a version of the Common Law that even the king cannot gainsay then he can't. There are middle grounds here as well, say even as the king Arthur couldn't order him freed but can decide the severity of the punishment. As for the Fishermen and the Brine there may be diplomatic issues there but then again both kingdoms may just be grateful enough that Arthur saved them that they'll let him decide how to punish his brother.
- It also depends on how common the knowledge is with Orm's murderous behavior. Remember, the Fishermen and Brine were largely token members of Orm's force, more to do with him claiming title and legal status than about their actual military ability. If Arthur refuses to execute his brother, they might not be able to do much about it.
- Atlantis is his king, basically, and the rule of Kings is absolute. So much that regicide among princes is handwaved as mere trial by combat with Gods' consent. Atlantis was a cruel, cold and unforgiving kingdom because Orvax and Orm were cruel, cold and unforgiving individuals. Atlantis used to be a kind technocracy when Atlan was the king, and lost his ways when Atlan went greedy and exiled himself to atone with his own life. With Arthur as a kind, wise and good natured king with a kind, wise and good natured queen at his side, counseled by a kind, wise and good natured visir, there's no reason for Arthur to lie to Orm. When he agreed with getting him just imprisoned "but having a talk with him when he'll be ready to do so", he literally meant that. Orm will likely be imprisoned until he shows some repentance, periodically visited from Arthur and Atlanna to try to hasten his repentance.
- Unless we're going to get in the future a Legion of Doom movie with Orm breaking out from prison to become a villainous, non-Atlantis sanctioned Ocean Master on his own...
- It looks like Black Manta is already being setup to fill that niche.
Do The Trench remember?
- After Arthur claims the Trident of Atlantis, he is able to communicate with and command The Trench to help him stop Orm and his Atlantean allies. Is it possible that The Trench have not completely regressed and still retain memories of King Atlan, or at least the Trident of Atlantis, even after a millennia of devolving into a feral species?
- Several generations have likely passed, nothing indicates the Trench we see in modern day are millennia old. Arthur's control of them is the same as on the other sea animals, the Trident is a Mind-Control Device. When he grabs the trident for the first time, we see its power reaching the nervous system of every non-sentient sea creature, and the Trench are among them.
- There is a possibility that The Trench aren't actually all that mindless, just feral, but they may have their own language and tales of King Atlan have still been passed down in their own primative way, also Arthur being in control of what is essentially a Kaiju probably helped matters of "don't mess with this guy"
Is Thomas Curry intended to be Māori or not?
- On one hand, Thomas has clearly displayed Māori tattoos on his arms and Arthur seems to do the opening of a Māori haka a few times during the movie. On the other hand, Thomas seems to speak with an American accent and Maine, where he lives, is the second-most homogeneous (read: whitest) state in the union, so someone coming all the way from New Zealand to be a lighthouse keeper seems a bit circumspect. I first thought they might try passing Curry off as a Native American, perhaps Wabanaki, before I saw his tattoos.
- It is possible Thomas' parents or grandparents were the ones who initially came over for a better job and Thomas settled on a more meager life as a lighthouse keeper.
- Maybe Thomas' father was in the 2NZEF's Māori Battalion during World War II and contact with American soldiers motivated him to move to the USA after the end of the war.
- Thomas is intended to be parallel to Black Manta's father, suggesting the above might be correct.
- Thomas Curry or his family moving from New Zealand to Maine for some reason is a great deal less weird than his non human girlfriend's immigration.
- Alternately, while the coast of Maine is homogenous, a lighthouse keeper's a pretty isolated job. Maybe he doesn't like the locals much beyond drinking.
- They might be intended to be Native Hawaiian with Māori roots, which is Jason Momoa's real life ancestry. Thomas or his parents moving from Hawaii to the mainland U.S.A. is slightly more plausible than moving all the way from New Zealand.
- As they're leaving the bar, just before Mera's appearance, Thomas talks about working on Arthur's tā moko, and that Arthur's grandfather would be disappointed in their lack of progress on it. So yes, it's a safe conclusion that the Currys have Māori heritage.
What did Arthur get from Mera in Justice League?
- In Justice League, Arthur meets Mera briefly and at the end of the exchange, tells her "I am gonna need something from you". The next time we see him, he has his mother's trident, implying that Mera got it for him. This movie shows he has always had that trident. What did Mera give him?
- She most likely gave him the Atlantean armored suit he wears in the film, which might be some sort of royal heritage she might have had access to since she's betrothed to Orm, or perhaps the Xebellian royal family kept it after the sinking of the original Atlantis. The ancient Atlantean king who led his people in battle against Steppenwolf ages ago wore a similar (albeit more golden) suit.
- We're, uh, all going to just ignore that he went all the way to Mera in Justice League, clearly knows her, gets a favor off her, and doesn't even know her name yet?
- Nothing really indicates that he knows her in Justice League (she probably recognizes him because his tattoos are obviously not Atlantean), but he somehow did know where the Mother Box was (not in Atlantis, as confirmed by James Wan recently). He is familiar with the surface world, so he's the most likely dude around her to go immediately after Steppenwolf, and he's the son of the Atlantean queen who raised her, those two reasons are enough to provide him with an armor.
- Also, nothing really indicates he didn't know her in Justice League despite not knowing her name. We know that Mera hangs around Vulko more than anyone else in Atlantis, and Vulko doubled as Orm's vizir and Arthur's teacher. Thus, we can safely assume Arthur knew Mera for as much as he knew Vulko, but as the "cute but crazy redhead hanging around Vulko and sometimes telling me useful stuff".
- Maybe Vulko told Arthur about her, and told her about Arthur as well. Maybe one day he saw her coming on the surface to seek Vulko for whatever reason pertaining to Atlantis while he was training with him and they didn't exchange much words.
Why did Mera keep the bracelet?
- It's a gift from a man she clearly dislikes and yet she decides to keep wearing it all the way to Italy until Arthur points out Orm is tracking her through it. Even if she forgot about it, she somehow missed it while stripping off her formal dress and getting new clothes at the Sahara. Did she just like it a lot in spite of who gave it to her?
- Orm told her when he gave it to her that it belonged to his mother, it's stated that Mera held her in high regard so it makes sense that Mera kept it. Given that it was a tracking device Orm most likely lied about it belonging to his mother to ensure that Mera would keep it even if she ran off.
- Adding to that, before Mera realized it was a tracking device, the only reason to discard the bracelet would be to spite Orm. Mera doesn't hate Orm. She just wants to stop his war by whatever means. Tossing his mother's bracelet in the trash would be a huge insult to him that could come back to haunt her in a big way if she tried being diplomatic with him later.
- It's easy to forget about a bracelet in the middle of a rescue/getaway. And later on her clothes for land appeared to be robes she could throw on easily over her Atlantean attire, so it was less deliberately keeping it and more carrying it along till it was noticed.
Atlan the first...and last?
- King Atlan was the first king who united ancient Atlantis and was also the last because his messing with the trident resulted in Atlantis sinking (otherwise there was no way he could have gone on his exile with the Trident as his skeleton is the one holding it in it's resting place). Only one question: Who was the Atlantean king that fought Steppenwolf? According to Wonder Woman, Atlantis was still aboveground when he invaded the first time. Their sinking was their reason for staying out of surface affairs until present day. Could that flashback secretly be his Early-Bird Cameo?
- The Atlantean King in the Justice League Flashback had a different armor and trident from Atlan's. So it was most likely Atlan's predecessor on the throne.
- All Atlanteans (or at least highborn) are implied to have some degree of hydrokinesis (note the trick Vulko taught Arthur that he later used to defeat Orm). Why is Mera the only one to use it regularly?
- As with the Mera in the comics, she could have a stronger degree of telekinesis. While the highborns must channel their powers in some way (it's clearly stated that ever single royal willing to engage into combat had his or her trident crafted for that purpose), Mera is powerful enough to do without a focus.
He knew he was a traitor the entire time?
- If Orm knew Vulko was helping Arthur the whole time, why did he wait until now to arrest him?
- Vulko still did counsel him well for his whole life. He just planned to sponge off Vulko's knowledge and diplomatic connections until he could, then toss him away shortly before the planned showdown between him and Arthur, get Vulko jailed or killed, Mera forced into marriage or given to the Trench and cement himself as the Ocean Master for life.
- Also, there was likely a bit of uncertainty in just how deep the loyalists ran. Vulko was the one he was certain of, but others could have been involved as well. He was waiting to find out. After Mera defected, and with nobody else going with, he felt certain that he could get rid of Vulko
- Orm valued Vulko, but knew he could turn on him. He saw him as someone to keep close for as long as he needed him, but not to be overly trusted.
Suddenly, Aquaman costume
- Not that it's a serious plot snarl, but where did Arthur's full orange-and-green suit come from? It's like nothing Arthur has ever worn, and neither is it any sort of ceremonial armour; Atlan wears a more traditional sort whenever we see him. The trident might grant some sort of magical clothing, but for it to zap you with an extremely distinctive metal body-suit with no precedent seems like an odd design choice.
- Actually, if you pay close enough attention, Atlan IS wearing the same armor that Aquaman dons to wear during the climax, simply with a breastplate on top of the scale armor. His corpse is seen still clad in it when Arthur goes to claim the trident. He likely put it on before emerging from the waterfall, considering he knew he was going to get involved in a conflict with Orm in some form or another, so he would have wanted protection.
Shouldn't Atlanteans be albinos?
- I know this is a really petty thing to get hung up on... but why do creatures who evolved well out of the sun have such hearty complexions? Shouldn't they, like, beyond-Scandinavian-pale? We can give Arthur a pass since he has a dark-skinned human father and darker genes tend to be more dominant and he probably gets out in the sun a lot more, but the rest of them?
- Most Atlanteans don't seem to live so deep as to be totally beyond the reach of the sun, plus even real world abyssal creatures are not all pale (some are practically black in color). Also, Atlanteans make heavy use of other forms of light.
- Well photosynthesis can only occur in the first 660feet of surface water, the average depth of the ocean floor is ~12000feet. Point is there would be no biological advantage to melanin so everybody should be very pale. However, very limited access to sunlight inhibits vitamin D production so perhaps their light sources give out UV rays. Or they have tanning salons; seeing as only the elite class could ever get a tan I imagine it would be appealing to be tanned.
- Arthur can take an explosive missile to the chest without a scratch. So how did he get all those tattoos?
- In an attempt to answer my own query, his skin must get tougher with age.
- Atlanteans are durable, but not invincible, depends how he got them, either the pin-point pressure of a modern needle is enough to pierce the dermal layer enough, or, tying in with his roots, he got them the traditional way, which is tap tattoos.
Why does Arthur have a claim to the throne of Atlantis?
- If Diana, Princess of Wales got pregnant by one of her many extra-marital affairs, the child would have zero claim to the succession of UK, because they're not descended from the actual line of kings. Was Atlanna the queen regnant and daughter of the previous king, and Orvax was just some dude who became king jure uxoris? If that's so, how did the Atlanteans justify him taking the throne by himself after Atlanna was exiled, instead of plopping Orm directly on the throne?
- Both brothers claim to the throne come from their mother. She was already Queen when she met Tom, Aquamans father. He just seemed to be the one who had more control in practice either due to being male or due to general support. It isnt unheard of for a noble to hold as much power as the monarch, and that might be why it was an arranged marriage in the first place. After her death keeping this power could have been through force or simply because his Son was to be king, so he was made regent. Its never stated.
- As for why Arthur has a claim without marriage, its never fully explained, but a lot of characters state its strong including King Nereus, Mera, and possibly Orm who accepts this when he baits Arthur into the combat of champions which is a fight for the throne. King Nereus even says it's stronger while Mera calls it his rightful place to sit on the throne. The system could therefore be something like Agnatic seniority, where the oldest of a generation gets the throne or something like the Ottoman empire where it just goes to the strongest son, and where half-brothers were always considered a problem. Maybe even just primogeniture where marriage in Atlantis could be formal agreement to confirm heirs without any actual law binding only those children. We dont see anyone, royal or otherwise, take a mistress and the one time someone does, in this case Arthurs mother, its considered enough that she was executed. Maybe marriage just isnt as important for inheritance. Essentially the laws are anything but the laws the UK has.
- To draw an idea - in the Iliad, the reason Menelaus (King of Sparta) needs to take his wife Helen back from Troy after she eloped with Paris, was because Helen was the daughter of the previous King of Sparta: Helen was the rightful heir to Sparta, and anyone who was HER husband was King. Helen leaving Menelaus for Paris was a potential booting Menelaus off the throne, because Menelaus married into the position. Perhaps Atlanna was the real heir to the throne of Atlantis, but somehow only men rule, and whoever the female heir marries becomes King. Therefore, Arthur has a better claim to the throne than Orm by simply being Atlanna's eldest. Sure, he'd probably have to fight someone or deal with a lot of political difficulties (if he tried to press his claim without Orm attacking the surface), but that could be the situation.
- It's mentioned that the Atlantis is made up of Seven Kingdoms and ruled by a Council of Kings (Orm and Mera's father being two of them in the present day), and that Queen Atlanna was betrothed to King Orvax as a child. It's my theory that Atlanna was the heir to Atlantis proper and Orvax was the king of another kingdom and that their betrothal was some sort of alliance between the two kingdoms (possibly Atlantis and Xebel, with Nereus and Orm inheriting the respective crowns when Orvax died). And that when they refer to something done by Orvax or "by order of King Orvax" they mean he petitioned the Council of Kings (or perhaps held sway over the Council). Could be a WMG on my part, though.
Shouldn't Orm be deathly afraid of Superman?
- Nevermind how inexplicable it is that Superman would have ignored the tidal wave attack, there is a bigger problem. Thousands of years ago, an army of Atlanteans, Amazons, Olympian Gods, Green Lanterns, and humans were - all together - barely able to defeat Steppenwolf and his army. A few months ago, Superman basically no-sold everything Steppenwolf and his army could throw at him, crushed him like a bug, and then took apart the mother boxes (with Cyborg) and the total result of all that effort is basically him laughing "ouch, that stings". What the bloody hell does Orm think he can do against Superman?
- Remember where they found that big chunk of Kryptonite in BvS? In the ocean. It was unlikely to be the only chunk that fell from the World Engine, so it's plausible that Orm found some.
- Also, who's to say that he's heard of the exact circumstances of Steppenwolf's second defeat? No reason to fear anything if you're oblivious to it. How much attention does he pay to the machinations of the surface world?
- In short: Yes, Orm should be deathly afraid of Superman. The fact that he's not indicates either ignorance, overconfidence, or preparedness, any of which are perfectly in-character for him.
If Atlanteans can swim at supersonic speeds, why do they ride other sea creatures?
- Surely it's faster and more expedient for them to just swim wherever they need to go on their own. If humans had super stamina and were faster than horses, we wouldn't have started riding them.
- Most of the time they're seen riding sea creatures is during battle, so presumably their mounts are chosen more for their ferocity and power than travel speed alone.
- I mean, for the folks riding sharks, sure. But some of them ride what look to be...overgrown sea horses. How ferocious and powerful can those be?
- There are two reasons to use a mount (or vehicle): Speed and Stamina. If the mount or vehicle can get you to your destination quicker, or if using the mount or vehicle means you can be less tired when you get there (or get there at all). Swimming so fast is likely physically taxing, so Atlanteans may ride slower beasts that will get them there without being exhausted on arrival, even if it takes longer. Or they might have to traverse a distance they'd be unable to on their own swimming that fast (they'd exhaust themselves before they'd get there), so the beast makes the journey possible at all.
- Another possibility is that the mounts allow more freedom in combat. Swimming makes it harder to simultaneously fight and move well (generally limiting attacks to a very narrow frontal cone without risking collisions), whereas a trained mount can be trusted to navigate independently from the rider, freeing them up to focus on fighting.
- Last but not least, being mounted rather than being a footslogger (or finbeater, rather), could simply be a symbol of status. This could be seen to be further borne out by Vulko telling Arthur that tridents are weapons of royalty when Arthur complains about their impracticability, and thus he has to master it because he is royalty, rather than because it's a particularly efficient weapon.