Just the Facts: Aquaman

Jason momoa as aquaman, who is aquaman

That’s right, Shortboxers, we’re back with our second Just The Facts. The first time we looked at Suicide Squad when they announced their all-star lineup, filling people in on the likes of Deadshot and Enchantress. Now we have a fast-rising star, Jason Momoa, cast as the Khal of the seven seas. Aquaman is a curious bird, or fish I guess, because everyone has probably heard of Aquaman – but how many people know more than his name and his predilection for scale armor? Let’s go to school.

A lot of people will be totally new to Aquaman, and obviously Momoa’s celebrity and dark, rugged good looks are bringing the typically Lannister-esque hero into the spotlight. Warning: I’m not going to shy away from the Game of Thrones references. They’re fun. What you’ll find in this post is information cribbed from Wikipedia, DC, and YouTube users — we are here to collect and curate resources for you in one convenient place. You won’t find our opinions anywhere.

First, we’ll give you an intro – then a list of Aquaman’s powers (dc wikia) – then his origin story (written and on video) then a list of Aquaman’s best stories (reddit).

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Just like the original Just the Facts, our goal here is to teach you the basics of Aquaman’s history and his powers and then you get to decide what you think about Momoa in the role. Unlike the original Just the Facts, Aquaman is a character with a very, very long history – so we’re going to focus on the Modern Age Aquaman.

Intro – Brief acknowledgement of Momoa and Vinnie Chase

We also want to take this moment to acknowledge Adrian Grenier’s/Vincent Chase’s role as Aquaman in the Entourage series. You’ll hear people joke(?) “Vinnie Chase is my Aquaman.” They are referring to a season in which Grenier’s Chase takes the role of Aquaman and blows the doors open for his career. Got it?

Aquaman

Powers and Abilities (consistent, not including short-lived or rarely seen feats)

  • Water adapted physiology grants him superhuman strength, endurance, durability, reflexes, agility, dexterity, healing, and senses
  • Enhanced swimming speed
  • Marine telepathy that grants the ability to compel and manipulate sea life
  • Able to speak and understand any language on Earth thanks to telepathic abilities

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History (collected from the DC wiki) – a word of warning to non-comic readers, superhero histories are hard to digest when reading, so if you’d rather listen, we’ve included an Origins video below. 

The Modern Age Aquaman is born as Orin to Queen Atlanna and the mysterious wizard Atlan in the Atlantean city of Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.41.45 PMPoseidonis. As a baby, he was abandoned on Mercy Reef (which is above sea level at low tide, causing exposure to air which would be fatal to Atlanteans) because of his blond hair, which was seen by the superstitious Atlanteans as a sign of a curse known as “the mark of Kordax.” The only individual who spoke up on Orin’s behalf was Vulko, a scientist who had no patience for myth or superstition. While his pleas fell on deaf ears, Vulko would later become a close friend and advisor to the young Orin.

As a feral child who raised himself in the wilds of the ocean with only sea creatures to keep him company, Orin was found and taken in by a lighthouse keeper named Arthur Curry who named Orin “Arthur Curry” after himself. One day, Orin returned home and found that his adoptive father had disappeared, so he set off on his own. In his early teens, Orin ventured to the far north, where he met and fell in love with an Inupiat girl, named Kako. He also first earned the hatred of Orm, the future Ocean Master who was later revealed to be Arthur’s half-brother by Atlan and an Inupiat woman (Time and Tide, no. 4). Orin was driven away before he could learn that Kako was pregnant with his son, Koryak.

Orin then returned to the seas mostly staying out of humanity’s sight, until he discovered Poseidonis. He was captured by the city’s then-dictatorial government and placed in a prison camp, where he met Vulko, also a prisoner of the state, who taught Orin the language and ways of the Atlanteans. While Orin was there, he realized that his mother was also being held captive, but after her death he broke out and fled. Eventually, he made his way to the surface world, where under the name of “Aquaman” he became one of several superheroes emerging into the public view at the time. Upon his return to Poseidonis, he was made the king, and sometime later he met and married Mera.

A History of Aquaman from the good folks at Variant Comics on YouTube. Give ’em some Subscribe love.

 

Want to read some Aquaman comics before watching the movie? We’ve taken a few recommendations from a reddit thread (in /r/comicbooks) and listed them here for you.

EVILGR33NRNGR: Pretty much anything written by Peter David, also check out JLA: Rock of Ages.
Find that here: Peter David run, JLA: Rock of Ages

killpapadingo: Grant Morrison’s JLA proves that Aquaman was an awesome badass long before the new52 bullshit.
Find that here: Grant Morrison’s JLA

doctorvonscience: Unfortunately, Aquaman has not gotten nearly the attention he deserves, so there aren’t really a lot of “iconic” storylines for him pre-New52. There are a few I would consider must-reads, though:

Death of a Prince is probably the closest we’ve ever gotten to a really iconic arc. It’s a great story, though be warned, it’s old, so it may feel a bit dated.

The Time and Tide miniseries is also really good. I definitely recommend it too.

Although I personally didn’t really enjoy it, a lot of people liked the Sword of Atlantis arc.

In kind of the opposite situation, I liked The Waterbearer while a lot of people didn’t. Go figure.

If you’re REALLY interested in Aquaman, there are a few Showcases that collect a good chunk of his Silver-Age appearances.

Aquaman Volume 6, issues 15-20, which is the American Tidal story arc. It’s one of my personal favorite pre-New52 story arcs, and a definite must-read for Aquafans.

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If this is your first time visiting Shortboxed, thanks for stopping by! We want to provide a place online where people new to comics can come and learn about the culture and be introduced to some amazing stories without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated. We’re always adding new content, so please come back soon! You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr at @shortboxed.

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