Despite a few shaky setbacks in their attempts to create a shared cinematic universe, DC Comics and Warner Bros. rebounded with Wonder Woman and seem set to continue the improving trend with the upcoming Aquaman movie. Based on the Justice League‘s historically underwhelming aquatic hero, Aquaman looks to give us more of Jason Momoa’s intense interpretation of the aquatic hero.
Although the butt of many fish-themed jokes, Aquaman is actually one of the most powerful heroes to step (or swim) from the pages of DC Comics. Each member of the Justice League has their own unique skill set, and Aquaman is no exception. Here are the powers we might soon see on the big screen from the undersea hero.
It’s a rule of physics in the DC Universe that spandex grant enhanced strength. But Aquaman has a more logical reason for his super strength than plot powers. It’s all about sea pressure. In order to cope with the immense force of the ocean, Atlanteans have developed powerful muscles. Yet even for an aquatically enhanced Atlantean, Arthur Curry is a cut above the rest.
Aquaman has held his own against Superman, fought Parademons by the score, and even stabbed Darkseid through the chest with his trident. When it comes to muscles, Aquaman is the unobtrusive heavy hitter of the Justice League. He constantly has to control his strength to avoid inflicting any serious injuries during a fight.
Here’s a funny thing about water: it doesn’t compress. If a plane falls into the ocean near Sydney, the impact can be sensed as far away as Dublin. Thanks to this handy science nugget, Aquaman has developed the ability to hear noises from far distances — both on land and at sea.
Of course, that’s not the only gift living underwater has given Aquaman. Since seawater filters out light beyond a certain depth (known as the mesopelagic level or “twilight zone” — yes, really), Aquaman has the ability to see in extreme low-light conditions. The Justice League film even hinted that he can smell pheromones, Aquaman claims he can smell Steppenwolf‘s fear, but it was never made clear if he was serious.
As the offspring of both a human and an Atlantean, Aquaman got the best of both worlds. From his mother, he inherited enhanced reflexes, super strength, and the ability to breathe underwater. His father gave him the ability to walk on dry land. Okay, we realize this doesn’t exactly seem fair or balanced, but you have to consider the downsides to each race — and how they enhance each other.
As you know, humans tend to struggle with breathing underwater — we basically drown. Similarly, when Atlanteans spend more than a few hours away from water, they start getting weak. Aquaman’s ability to use his Atlantean gifts on land gives him an advantage in battle. He can also come to the surface to escape Atlantean attackers. So while both races tend to dismiss him as a half-breed weakling, it turns out that he’s actually more powerful than both of them combined.
Though not nearly as skilled as Zatanna or John Constantine, Aquaman does possess some limited mystical powers. Most of his magical abilities are used in simple blasts to knock away his enemies and are enhanced by the use of his Quindent. Although his own powers are somewhat underwhelming, Aquaman has gained significant power boosts in the past.
Under the Lady of the Lake (no connection to King Arthur), he was granted healing abilities and greater control of the ocean. After obtaining the Trident of Poseidon in the New 52, Aquaman’s powers extended beyond the ocean to include control over all water, making him strong enough to sweep away the godlike Rao‘s Kryptonian army.
Control Over Aquatic Life
Exactly how Aquaman exerts control over underwater creatures has varied slightly over the years. Sometimes he simply commands fish to help out, and other times, he literally changes their minds, convincing them that they want to help. Of course, such a powerful ability doesn’t come without a cost.
The bigger and more complex the mind, the more strain this ability puts on Aquaman — attempts to simultaneously control large numbers of aquatic life yield similar results. From what we’ve seen in the trailer, Momoa’s character might have a combination of these powers, as it appears ordering a shark to swim into a glass wall wasn’t his idea. At least, we hope it wasn’t.
Swamp Thing fans know about his connection to “the Green,” the collective life force of all plants. Animal Man has a similar connection to “the Red,” the force that links all animal life (including humans). New Earth Aquaman has a connection to a quantum field known as “the Clear,” also called “the Blue.” The Clear, you guessed it, acts as a unifying force for all sea life.
At this point, we imagine your scratching your head and wondering why Aquaman possesses such a redundant ability. But there’s more to the Clear than simple telepathy. It can access any connection to aquatic life — even once-aquatic species that have since evolved into, let’s say, homo sapiens. So, if Aquaman concentrates hard enough he can exert some level of mind control over nearly any creature he encounters, something we hope to see played out on the big screen.