Often times during conversations of DC properties, particularly the Justice League, Aquaman is generally looked down upon as a weak link or an inferior superhero. I used to think the same thing until I took a look at him again during the New 52 reboots. The newer art in the New 52 impressed me enough to do some research into Aquaman and at that time I gave him a little bit of a pass and at least put him on par and gave him the respect of being a Justice League member. Even though the New 52 allowed me to put away some of my preconceptions about him it wasn’t until I looked up his powers and put them into perspective in relation to the DC Universe.
First and foremost, let us not forget, Aquaman is a founding member of the Justice League. I know that doesn’t sound important at first, plenty of people come and go in the world of comic books but the Justice League is arguably the most notable superhero team in history. The Justice League was established in March 1960 in Brave and the Bold Vol. 1 No. 28 and aside from possibly the Avengers are the most famous of the superhero teams because of heroes like Aquaman. Aquaman was established in November 1941 in More Fun Comics No. 73. Aquaman predates World War Two and he is still relevant today. If that isn’t BA I don’t know what is.
Aquaman has some pretty formidable enemies as well; he isn’t some pushover flopping around the comic world like a fish out of water (pun intended). I feel that some of the most notable villains are Deep Six, King Shark, and Black Manta. Deep Six are Darkseid minions that are sent on his behalf to mess stuff up and do evil things. Darkseid is one of the most hardcore villains in the DC Universe, on every level, and the fact that he uses Deep Six to mess with Aquaman proves to me that even Darkseid knows Aquaman is BA. I’m fairly partial to King Shark as well because I’ve been a fan of the New 52 Suicide Squad reboot where King Shark appears through quite a few issues. I don’t think I need to get into how awesome the Suicide Squad is and the fact that he makes numerous appearances is just further proof of how awesome he is. Black Manta is seriously no joke, he isn’t just an enemy, he is an archenemy. Since his first appearance in Aquaman No. 35 in September 1967, Black Manta has become continually more BA as he finds ways to exact his revenge on Aquaman even though he lacks a lot of the abilities that Aquaman has. The fact that Black Manta has little or no super powers only adds to his status of archenemy because he has to be smart to make up for the lack of brawn. Oh, and also, I like the looks of his costume. The only real skills Black Manta has is in martial arts, swimming, and his ability to invent things like laser blasts that come from his bug eyed helmet.
Now I have to admit that I was one of the guys that said stuff like, “king of the fishes” or “Olympic swimmer man” when trying to deflect attention to Batman or Superman but when I decided to take a real look at his powers and abilities I started to change my mind. For starters he has super human strength, hearing, seeing, and reflexes, making his physical abilities nearly on par with Superman. Aquaman can lift incredibly heavy things like planes, boats, or even buildings, all while seeing and smelling for miles. Because he is an Atlantian his body is made to withstand the cold and pressure of the deep sea making his body hard enough to stop bullets. All of those things makes him formidable and puts him in the physical ranking of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman. As if that wasn’t enough he can communicate and control sea life. I have to admit that I thought this power to be silly for a long time but after a real evaluation I came to the conclusion that control of sea life is actually amazing and scary as hell. Imagine an army of all different species of whales and sharks coming at you! Even the most BA submarines would be no match for a dozen Grey Whales and no amount of armor a diver can get will save him from a ton of sharks tearing him up. The ocean is scary, it wants to eat you, and the fact that Aquaman has complete control over it is actually pretty amazing. As if all these powers weren’t enough; he has physical abilities akin to Superman, can talk with and control sea life, he also carries the Trident of Neptune, a magical weapon that gives the owner powers and the right be king of the sea. The trident is such an amazing weapon that he even stabbed Darkseid in the eye with it; seriously, right in the eye.
I think for me it was the realization that Aquaman is physically on par with the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman that got me to start changing my mind because it wasn’t until after I gave him the props he deserves for the physical traits that I started to look at his rogue’s gallery and other powers realistically. Some may still want to argue that his telepathy with sea life is corny but I dare any of those people to jump a tank with a great white or even just a pissed off dolphin, sea life is no joke. I’m glad that his cinematic debut is in the new run of movies by DC that started with the Man Of Steel. This new cinematic universe should give Aquaman the platform he needs to properly showcase his real abilities and show, realistically, how formidable he really is.