Aquaman is one of the most underrated characters in the DC universe. He is a founding member of the Justice League and as King of Atlantis, he rules over most of the earth (approximately 70% is water). The man has lifted entire city blocks, saved civilizations, fought against and beaten some of DC’s highest profile villains (such as Deathstroke) and even humbled Superman.

Yet, people only remember the awful Superfriends cartoon which showed him doing little other than riding a seahorse, swimming, or talking to fish. As a result, Aquaman has become the laughing stock of superheroes.

Well, here is what the man can really do (taken from Wikipedia)…
  • Telepathic ability to communicate with marine life, the ability to affect any being that lives upon the sea, or even any being evolved from marine life (e.g., humans).
  • The ability to breathe underwater.
  • Possesses superhuman durability high enough to remain unaffected by the immense pressure and the cold temperature of the ocean depths, this also makes him tough enough to be invulnerable to machine gun fire.
  • Possesses superhuman strength.
  • He can swim at very high speeds, capable of reaching speeds of 10,000 feet per second.
  • He can see in near total darkness and has enhanced hearing granting limited sonar.
  • Aquaman also had some other powers that were temporarily granted to him after he lost his left hand. Unfortunately, future writers gave him his hand back and he lost some of the coolest powers he ever had.
    • Originally replaced his left hand with a cybernetic retractable hook, then a cybernetic hand. The mechanical hand was replaced by a magical hand made out of water given to him by the Lady of the Lake, which granted Aquaman numerous abilities, including but not limited to:
      • the ability to dehydrate anyone he touches with it, killing them instantly;
      • the ability to change the shape and density of the hand the ability to shoot jets of scalding water;
      • healing abilities
      • the ability to create portals into mystical dimensions
      • the ability to communicate with the Lady of the Lake through the waterbearer hand
      • the ability to nullify magic.
      • the ability to control water and make it any shape with his own will.

So, why do I bring this up? Well, I finally got a hold of the Aquaman graphic novel, Waterbearer, which shows how he received the water hand from the Lady of the Lake. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The art was ok. The dialogue was atrocious and the plotting was confusing at best with poor flow and a huge lack of characterization. My point to all of this is that it’s a shame that such a huge event in the character’s life didn’t come across better in the comics.

Aquaman has rarely been written well and usually the best examples of him being handled correctly are in the JLA comics and in the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini JLA TV series. I would love for a high profile comic book writer to take over the character and finally give him his due. If anyone deserves it, he does.

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