Aquaman is the telepathic ruler of Atlantis and the Earth's oceans, an Atlantean with incredible strength and speed as well as the ability to command all sea-life. His unique physiology allows him to survive on land and at the ocean's greatest depths of pressure and temperature. Given the names Orin through his royal heritage and Arthur Curry by his human upbringing, he fights to protect both worlds using his mighty abilities and political influence. He is a founding member of the Justice League of America.
Originally in Silver Age continuity Arthur Curry was the son of a lighthouse keeper named Tom Curry and a woman named Atlanna. Tom Curry lived in Amnesty Bay, Maine and raised his son with wife in the local Lighthouse. Arthur started to manifest incredible strength and speed at a young age, as well as the abilities to breathe underwater and talk to fish. On her deathbed, his mother revealed that she was an exiled Queen of Atlantis and he would someday inherit rule of the seven seas. His father gave him an education and taught him to control his powers, eventually allowing him to grow up and become the super-hero Aquaman.
His origins were changed when the universe was rebooted during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Orin was born an heir to the Atlantean Royal Family. His mother Atlanna had been unable to conceive a child with her husband King Trevis, but she was impregnated during a dream by the immortal wizard Atlan. Atlan prophesized the child's future and named him after his ancestor Orin, promising that he would sire another son because two brothers must always struggle for the fate of Atlantis. Trevis immediately knew the child wasn't his because of the blonde hair, a long-held superstition that a child might carry the curse of Kordax. The baby was announced as a miscarriage and left to die on Mercy Reef, where his ability to communicate with sealife allowed him to be raised by Dolphins. His adopted mother was named Porm and she gave him the name Swimmer, although he left this new family after fisherman killed his adopted brother Drin.
His next encounter with humanity was a lighthouse operator named Tom Curry who took him in as a son, giving him the human name Arthur Curry before his death. Spending time in Alaska, he met and fell in love with the beautiful eskimo girl Kako. They conceived a child together, but the demonic god Nuliajuk forced Arthur to leave before he could learn of the pregnancy. His next fight against a God would be Poseidon's son Triton when he rescued Princess Diana from his sexual advances. Returning to Atlantis, he was arrested and sentenced to hard labor in the Aquarium prison. He found mentorship in the former professor Vulko who taught him Atlantean, although he decided to escape when he learned that his birth mother had died. Curry's first encounter with another super-hero was The Flash, who named him "Aquaman" during a press conference in Crescent Shore after they fought the Trickster. Upon his next return, Orin learns that Vulko has led a revolution and claims his birthright as the King of Atlantis.
This has supposedly changed during Infinite Crisis, as a conversation with Jackson Hyde during Brightest Day reveals him to be once again the son of Atlanna and lighthouse keeper Tom Curry.
Aquaman would go on to become a founding member of the Justice League of America, although their origins have been altered several times in continuity. The original founding members included Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman. They met for the first time during an alien invasion by the Appellaxians. This was later amended Post-Crisis to write Batman and Superman out of the story, with Wonder Woman replaced by Black Canary. Flashpoint completely changes the course of history, and their origins are completely revised in the new timeline. Aquaman meets the other members of the League during a world-wide crisis caused by Darkseid.
Arthur met a youth abandoned at birth by the Idylists and took him in as his side-kick, the original Aqualad. He would later meet Mera, the Queen of Dimension Aqua. They would eventually marry. Their first child together was named Arthur Curry, Jr..
Death of a Prince
Black Manta returned with a series of more vicious personal attacks, beginning with an assault on Atlantis' agricultural system. Struggling under the political responsibilities of his position, Aquaman commissioned the brilliant inventor Weisbogg to create a robotic duplicate for his ceremonial duties, although the scientist had been working for Manta and created a mechanized Bugala that almost destroyed the city. Manta would next bury him under several tons of rubble, although he escaped through a cavernous passage with the guidance of cave-dwelling fish. The next great threat would be an invasion by Captain Demo's high-tech pirates who actually managed to subjugate the city with terrorist threats until Aquaman managed to disable their explosives and defeat them. NATO came into conflict with Atlantis when the dangerous New Order terrorist group swam through their waters carrying the stolen potential to make a nuclear warhead. General Horgan launched a missile believing that the hundreds of Atlanteans lost in the cross-fire would be nothing compared to the potential thousands of dead. The missile was barely averted in time for Aquaman to take down the terrorists single-handedly and defuse their hostage situation. Passing through France he encountered an aquatic drug-smuggling operation organized by the Fisherman using Dolphins to traffic heroin, and helped Interpol shut it down. Believing him to be spending too much time away from the city, the Atlantean Royal Council held a democratic election and had him dethroned, instating a villain in disguise named Karshon in his place as King. Discovering his impeachment upon return to Atlantis, Aquaman was framed for stealing a vial of Serum X from the royal armory during a battle against Ocean Master to save Monaco. Karshon made him an enemy of the state, and he was forced into exile while his former subjects hunted him down across the ocean.
Running from the law, Aquaman and his family established a new Aquacave as their hideout. Arthur and Mera were kidnapped by the men of a nearby small town ruled by its high priest Toxxin who believed they were part of a prophecy to destroy the Krakor monster, although they defeated him and escaped after slaying it. Aqualad and Aquagirl return to help solve the conspiracy when they break up one of Manta's smuggling operations in Mississippi. Investigating Manta's gun-running laser rifles to Atlantis, Aquaman is caught in one of the Fisherman's death traps to distract him while Karshon sends telepathic sharks to kidnap Mera and Aquababy. Aquaman is defeated by Black Manta in his rage, and imprisoned alongside Vulko as a traitor. He breaks out and returns to his throne room to challenge Karshon, who is revealed to be a telepathic enemy of Green Lantern known as The Shark. They fight for their lives while Aquababy and Mera face a death-trap, until Aquaman tricks the Shark into overdosing on radiation poisoning. Once the city is restored to sanity and order, having decided that it is too much of a challenge trying to handle both responsibilities, he cedes the crown to Vulko in his absence and decides to become a super-hero full-time.
His next adventure was to help Horgan save a boat-load of swine flu vaccines from the telepathic Marine Marauder. He helped NATO again when Weather Wizard stole an experimental medical device being transported across the Atlantic. Chasing after Topo to save Aqualad from trouble, he also met a lost tribe called the Idylists when he saved Sett and Thoran from an under-sea Starro mutated by pollution. In the City of the Lost Tribes he discovered that Black Manta had easily conquered the pacifistic Idylists and was attempting to set up an under-water colony for black people to escape persecution on the surface. Aquaman and Aqualad were put in a shielded arena together and forced to fight to the death for Aquababy's life. Although they managed to break out and destroy Manta's operations, they were too late to stop him from killing the child or escaping. Aqualad decided to remain behind with the Idylists and finally discovered his parentage, as the son of their King Thar and Queen Berra who had been assassinated years earlier.
Seeking revenge against Black Manta, he pursued him to a sunken mine field and almost died fighting the villain; he was assisted by one of the mercenaries who grew disillusioned with the slaughter involved in Manta's plan, Cal Durham. In a critical moment as he was about to murder his nemesis, Aquaman remembered that his ideals need to stand for something and had him arrested instead.
Fisherman struck again by attempting to fry him while tied to the Curry Lighthouse, although Arthur escaped by remembering his Atlanna mother's words to summon strength and went after him. Defeating him in the Mariana Trench, they were both taken by surprise when Scavenger took the cargo Fisherman had been trying to steal. The trail led back to Kobra, who had been manipulating the other super-villains and stole the several tons of explosives for himself. Aquaman teamed up with Batman and Green Lantern to stop the Kobra Cult from destroying Portugal and moving on to the rest of the world. Meanwhile in Atlantis, it turned out that Aquababy had not died from suffocation and was being kept on life support by Vulko. Mera returned to Dimension Aqua to find a machine designed by Xebel that could save him, although instead she was forced to depose the tyrannical regime of Leron established as dictator in her absence. By the time she returned it was too late, and she faced the agony of her son's death a second time. Aquaman returned in the middle of the funeral and Mera tried to kill him for not being there when their son needed him most, believing that his super-heroics and revenge were more important to him than his own family. They were interrupted by a villain named Sea Quake who almost destroyed the city with destructive sonic waves, although he was revealed to be a mindless robot. Ocean Master had been controlling the robot to create a fissure in the ocean floor, diving down to retrieve an ancient Atlantean super-weapon. Aquaman defeated him alongside Aqualad and Mera, and the family seemed together again if not entirely complete.
Returning to active duty, he takes down a big game hunter named Colin Landau who specializes in whales. Vulko makes a business deal with the sinister Universal Food Products to share farming secrets, unaware of their ulterior motives. Aquaman discovers that their leader Mr. Amos intends to make Atlantis a desolate wasteland, but Vulko refuses to believe and has him arrested for interfering. Despite his wife and partner sent to subdue him, he evades the guards and proves his innocence by taking the corporation down. Atlantis is threatened again by the Greek tycoon Stavros Markos, who sends them into a blackout while his goons attempt a coup. They also fight off a Nazi contingent who attempt to steal their secrets by replacing the government with obedient holograms.
In the Bermuda Triangle, he stumbles upon the literal Graveyard of Ships, which he discovers is a dimension accidentally created by the scientist Atlena. Returning to New Venice, he learns that they have developed an Aquaman Museum and decides to make his new base there. Doctor Light is the first to discover this new home, and attempts to assassinate him.
Scavenger attempts to steal the machinery that they need to rescue Atlena and her people. New Venice is attacked by a Poseidon impostor who telepathically commands an army of marine life, but he's defeated when his trident is destroyed. Cal Durham returns to ally himself with Aquaman when he gets out of prison. Black Manta puts together a derelict army called the Kingdom of Hope to invade Atlantis, and simultaneously launches nuclear missiles at New Venice to keep his nemesis busy; he is asked why, and says that it's simply because he hates Aquaman's guts. Knocking the missiles off-course, he ends the battle by promising the homeless soldiers that they will be given a place to live without having to fight for it.
Ocean Master is revealed to be responsible for the Kingdom of Hope, using a Black Manta robot. He escapes capture and the Poseidon impostor attacks again. Atlanna is revealed to have survived and turned evil, working with Orm to destroy her son. Poseidon turns good when he is revealed to be an android given the personality and memories of Tom Curry. They battle, and Atlanna uses a robotic army of Aquaman's greatest enemies. Atlena appears telepathically and appeals to her conscience, leading Atlanna to once again destroy herself and her android husband. Before exploding, they ask Arthur and Orm to love each other as their dying wish. In his next adventure, The Atom helps him investigate a new undersea life-form.
His next team-up is with Air Wave, when a Zeta-Beam puts them into contact with extra-terrestrial marine biology. This transports him to the planet Vortuma where he meets the Hexapuses, an aquatic race attempting to resist control by the tyrannical Land-Masters. He defeats them when he realizes that they are evil Hexapuses masquerading as surface-dwellers. Exposing the traitor inside the resistance, he finally finds a way back home with the help of Professor Hexapus.
Mera reappears from her self-imposed exile into Xebel, now working as a Navy marine biologist. She has amnesia and believes herself to be Miriam Bridgeman, but Arthur demonstrates her true identity through a series of physical tests. She is revealed to be possessed by her political rival V'lana, who tries to strangle Aquaman. Mera is reawakened when they travel back to her dimension, and they fight V'lana with her newly learned control over sea creatures. They defeat her, and she commits suicide rather than face failure. Now cured of her vibratory illness, Mera abdicates her throne willingly to be with the man she loves.
Justice League Detroit
Main article: Justice League Detroit
The Justice League Satellite is destroyed during the Earth/Mars War. Mera leaves him in its wake, because she believes that since the death of their son they haven't been able to properly love each other. He formally disbands the League as acting chairman at the U.N., announcing that they cannot protect the Earth without complete commitment from all of their members. The new team that rises in their place includes Aquaman, Elongated Man, Gypsy, Martian Manhunter, Steel, Vibe, Vixen and Zatanna. To remain closer to those they're sworn to protect, they establish new headquarters in a Detroit compound operated by Dale Gunn.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Aquaman is one of the many heroes brought together by Harbinger during the great Crisis, when realities are merging and disappearing. Atlantis disappears in their reality; Black Manta and Ocean Master take this opportunity to plot against him while he's weak. Aquagirl is mortally wounded at the hands of Chemo's toxic pollution. Arthur and Mera are frozen together by Captain Cold in a battle that cedes Earth-S as territory to the super-villains. He rallies with the others at the Big Bang to fight the Anti-Monitor. Tula dies of her injuries. After the dawn of existence is reset, one true Earth emerges from the erased Multiverse. Its heroes meet collectively at Titans Tower in the Crisis' wake. In the Anti-Monitor's last strike before he is completely destroyed, Aquaman stands alongside his allies to protect Atlantis from the Shadow Demons. Lori Lemaris fights bravely but is killed during the battle.
Thicker Than Water
New Venice was destroyed by Ocean Master, who returned using sorcery-related powers. Tensions surrounding Atlantean hostility towards surface dwellers led to a declaration of war after one of their Zodiac Crystals was stolen. Aquaman was forced to adopt a new blue costume to hide his identity while the people cried for his blood, and he investigated the disappearance in Thierna Na Oge. Their society of the Tuatha de Danann believed him to be a malevolent spy, and their King Bres had him put to death by the Sreng in their arena. His escape was assisted by the mage Nuada Silverhand, who had also been accused of stealing a crystal. Ocean Master ambushes them at Maarzon and is revealed to have gained his powers from stealing the crystals. Nuada explains that the magics are fueled by emotion, and the only way to beat Orm's rage is for Arthur to overcome his own. They fight on the astral plane as Aquaman struggles eternally, finally destroying the crystals when he reaches an epiphany and tells Orm that he loves him. This enlightenment was short-lived however, as the battle was revealed to have torn his soul-self into two parts. The crystals were activated again by a scientist named Magus who harnessed their power to create another universe, and Aquaman was able to make himself whole by fighting inside to reunite his emotion and reason.
During Invasion! Aquaman rode Storm to lead his armies against the Alien Alliance, fighting Gil'Dishpan at the Arctic Circle. He teams up with the Doom Patrol and the Sea Devils to destroy their command ship, delivering a devastating blow to the enemy military.
Tide of Battle
Mera had been driven insane by her grief and was committed to an asylum, while Arthur's throne was turned over to the incompetent Pletus in his absence. Atlantis was conquered and enslaved by a race of Giant Jellyfish under this reign, and Aquaman returned to be imprisoned inside Aquarium again. Aquaman becomes a member of the resistance movement using violent terrorist attacks to strike back at their oppressors. The rebellion succeeds with a massive assault on the Royal Palace slaughtering every Jellyfish in the city limits. Mera escapes from her asylum and tries to murder Arthur, forcing him to seemingly kill her by accident in self-defense. She awakens from her coffin alive however and decides she's caused enough harm before returning to Dimension Aqua. Atlantis makes their last stand against the invaders during a massive siege, and Aquaman wipes out the enemy fleet by telepathically commanding an army of killer whales until he passes out. In the aftermath there is public cry for him to retake his throne, but he insists that he must be a protector of the world.
Atlantis entered into a disastrous war with the surface nation of Oumland, requiring Aquaman to bail them out of trouble once again. They resolved the matter diplomatically with some difficulty, after he personally stormed their borders. Distracting him once again from his people, he helps Superman fight pre-historic monsters; Lori Lemaris is revealed to have faked her own death. The city's dome is destroyed in the battle and Sharks attack beset by feeding frenzy, leading the Tritonians led by Iqula to invade Poseidonis. Aquaman defeats Iqula in single combat, proving his honor. In New York City he is attacked by the fanatic Queequeg, but dispatches him with a single punch. Richard Mission approaches him as a liaison to become an ambassador to the United Nations. Black Manta attacks during the press conference, then blows up his son's grave on Mercy Reef just to piss him off. Manta incapacitates his nemesis, then uses fear gas to watch Poseidonis tear itself to shreds. Aquaman nearly beats Manta to death in revenge, but still can't bring himself to deliver the killing blow.
Thanatos returns after many years to attack him through his mind again, and sets up an elaborate dreamscape where he must fight his wife and dead son to survive. Aquaman refuses and makes peace with them instead, escaping the only way possible. Delivering a speech in front of the U.N. on behalf of Poseidonis, Jordan Wylie hires the hitman NKVDemon to murder him. They fight across the Manhattan rooftops in the rain, allowing Aquaman to stay on land longer than usual, and he finally defeats the assassin.
There's another diplomatic incident when the Sea Devils are involved in an oil well explosion in South America. Aquaman investigates and attempts to clean up the spill after he determines that they've been framed. He exposes the oil company's corruption to the media after the Sea Devils prove their innocence by battling a private army. Poseidonis is officially recognized by the United Nations through democratic vote. He fights another dinosaur that gets into the New York harbor. Thesily becomes outraged that Aquaman keeps overshadowing his public image, and recalls him to Atlantis. In a heated argument with the King, he quits his position as ambassador. Tritonis enter civil war between Iqula and their treacherous King Firtf. Aquaman allies with his former rival to restore the city to peace and order in a massive battle. He later meets a young boy with cancer who idolizes him, through the reformed Scavenger.
Time and Tide
Aquaman received the Atlantis Chronicles from Vulko who found them in the wreckage of Poseidonis. Deciding to take up his mother's legacy as chronicler, he begins recording his own adventures. Discovering that his greatest nemesis Ocean Master is really his half-brother, he begins spiraling into a depression. Aqualad pulls him out of this to investigate an undersea radiation leak, but it turns out to be a trap and they are kidnapped alongside Dolphin by the terrorist Charybdis.
The three fight their way to escape together, but Charybdis holds Aquaman's hand down in a piranha pool before getting thrown in himself. Progressively nursing back to health in the Aquacave, Orin emerges with a harpoon over the stump of his left hand.
Discovering that Admiral Strom of the United States Navy was responsible for betraying him, Aquaman attacks a military base for answers and fights Superboy. Strom distracts him by revealing that Porm has been captured, and Aquaman is forced to team up with Lobo to rescue Dolphins from a hunter named Tanaka in a testing facility. Returning to Alaska with Dolphin and seeing Kako again, she introduces him to their fully grown illegitimate son Koryak. Their village is attacked by the Deep Six from Apokolips, and Jaffar kills Kako during the raid. She is reborn through Gaia as the fire elemental Corona, but not before the Six can blight her transformation. Corona unleashes Kako's anger at Arthur for abandoning her, and the water elemental Naiad intervenes to destroy her. Corona relents when Arthur agrees to let her kill him, and Koryak returns with them to Atlantis after she disappears with Naiad. His harpoon destroyed by Corona, Aquaman has a new one designed using top-line technology at S.T.A.R. Labs. King Thesily begins to view Aquaman as a threat and hires Deadline to murder him, although the assassin is defeated and escapes. Aquaman meets Kyle Rayner for the first time when he's forced to defend Cron One-Eye for attacking a swimmer in self-defense. Thesily attempts to murder Koryak, but is killed by falling rubble during an earthquake.
Return of Thanatos
Koryak takes leadership of the kingdom with Vulko, and they lead the Atlanteans on a pilgrimage to Tritonis. Aquaman and Dolphin stay behind in Poseidonis, and Mera finally returns from her self-exile to walk in on them consummating their relationship. Mera fights Dolphin, but she's revealed to have been brainwashed by Arthur's evil doppelganger Thanatos. Aquaman follows her into the other-dimension to fight Thanatos, and it's revealed that she's conceived another son named A.J..
The two men battle to the death as they're tested by The Others, and Thanatos is ruled more worthy to escape their imprisonment. Major Disaster is empowered by Neron during Underworld Unleashed and commissioned to kill Aquaman, instead mistakenly murdering Thanatos. Atlan frees Orin and Dolphin from the prison dimension. They return to find a sentient star-ship underneath Atlantis has reawakened dragon-like Tiamat of the Annunake from stasis, and they defeat the monster as Atlantis rises above sea-level again. Koryak and Vulko's pilgrimage accidentally frees Kordax from his centuries of imprisonment. Thanatos had sent a declaration of war to the surface world before his death, and Justice League America is sent to investigate. Orin and Dolphin fight Fire, Guy Gardner, Ice, Martian Manhunter, Obsidian and Wonder Woman, proving their innocence as he asserts his authority.
Aquaman recruited the city of Hy-Brasil without too much trouble. Unfortunately, Aquaman and Dolphin encountered Ocean Master at one of the other cities, a city that was destroyed in the subsequent battle. Also during the battle, Garth returns--Aqualad no longer, he is now Tempest, having been trained by Atlan in another dimension. Aquaman then recruits the cities of Thierna Na Oge and the floating city of Basilia. They also recruit Atlan to their cause and head for Tritonis--all while the aliens (known as the Hunter/Gatherers) turn up in Washington D.C. under the guise of seeking peaceful relations. Aquaman finds Tritonis in ruins--Koryak and Vulko had led the people of Poseidonis into the forbidden tunnels beneath the city and awakened Kordax from antiquity. Kordax, using his mind control power, forced Koryak and the Poseidonis citizens to attack their relatives in Tritonis, maiming or killing much of the population. Aquaman helped the Tritonis people out before rallying all of his allies for the final confrontation: Atlan, The Guardian of Hy-Brasil, Arion, Tempest, Tsunami, Nuada, Dolphin, the Sea Devils, Power Girl (at this time still thought to be a descendant of Atlantis), Spought(the Guardian of Basilia)and Deep Blue. Aquaman leads the others to Washington D.C. by flying the skull ship (with Poseidonis on top) straight to the capital. A major battle ensues inside the White House with Aquaman's allies battling against Kordax, Tiamat, and Koryak (still under Kordax's control). Kordax kills himself in the battle when he cannot defeat Aquaman. Basilia is destroyed in the fighting that happens there. The Hunter/Gatherers leave the Earth without any further destruction.
New World Order
During a battle against Doctor Destiny, there's a massive team-up between Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman. They decide to reform as the Justice League of America returning to their original line-up, following the dissolution of Justice League International. Their first battle together in the public eye is against Hyperclan, proving themselves to the world by stopping an invasion of White Martians.
Curse of Kordax
During the Final Night, the sentient starship ejects Aquaman, Dolphin, and Koryak (now free of the brainwashing) after having a disagreement with Aquaman (regarding the amount of control the ship was exerting over Arthur). Aquaman's adoptive dolphin mother, Porm, was murdered during the darkness, crushing Aquaman. Following a clue, Aquaman ventures to Japan and discovers that the murderer of Porm was a cyborg called Demon Gate, a man who had been maimed by Lobo and who blamed Aquaman for the incident. Aquaman threatens to ban Japan from the oceans unless Demon Gate is handed over. Japan refuses. Aquaman recruits Martian Manhunter to retake Poseidonis, forcing the sentient ship to obey him, and then takes the city to Japan. Demon Gate is turned over and Arthur sentences him to life imprisonment on a deserted island, surviving only on what the local sea life bring to him.
Aquaman was called by Deep Blue and the Sea Devils to investigate a seemingly bottomless trench. Deep Blue is dragged into the trench by a bizarre sea creature. Aquaman goes into the pit, but Dolphin cannot follow all the way because of the pressure. Aquaman encounters Black Manta, now a horrible manta-like monster thanks to his deal with Neron. The two arch-enemies battle at the bottom of the trench, encountering the ghost of a dead leviathan. The creature "consumes" Black Manta and tries to do the same with Aquaman, but Arthur uses the full brunt of his psychic abilities to drive it off. Fleeing back up the trench, he retrieves Deep Blue and they return to Sea Devil's sub.Up from the trench, Arthur discovers that his flesh is now covered in scales. Getting called back to Poseidonis, Aquaman finds Shark has taken up residence. A mental battle ensues and Aquaman forces Shark to devolve back into a normal shark. Arthur has now mutated further--hard green scales and a webbed hand, looking just like Kordax. The sea life begins to fear him. Aquaman goes on a quest of soul searching, reflecting on the fact that his inner fears are that he is a failure as a king and as a man. A minor journey through time thanks to Atlan helps him put things in perspective. Returning to the present, Aquaman's appearance is restored (although his hand is still webbed).
Seeking to regain the trust of the sea life, Aquaman appeals to Poseidon who forces Aquaman to battle his son, Triton. Aquaman wins the fight, and Poseidon restores his title as "King of the Seas." A spiteful Poseidon blinds Aquaman in his bitterness. One short adventure with Animal Man later (one that involves Animal Man teaching Aquaman to expand his powers some more) and Arthur's sight was restored. The people of Poseidonis, forced by Aquaman to serve the people of Tritonis whom they maimed, are finally released of their service and return to their city. Aquaman greets them and they accept him as their king once more (while marveling at the state of their city, now resting on the ocean's surface. Vulko encourages thoughts of Koryak that drift towards a coup de tat. Dolphin, having lost all interest in Arthur, now enters into a relationship with Tempest. Dr. Polaris invades the city, using his vast power to turn it on its side. The battle is only won with the help of Maxima, who had come to make Arthur her new king. Aquaman isn't interested, even if she was found appealing with the citizens of Poseidonis. When the Millennium Giants emerge, Aquaman is unable to stop one from destroying Thiena Na Oge. Meanwhile, Triton--anger over his loss to Aquaman and the contempt his father has for him--kills Poseidon and seizes most of his power. He approaches the Mother of Monsters for aid against Aquaman. Triton attacks Atlan first, but the sorcerer manages to get a warning to Poseidonis. Triton attacks the city next, destroying the sentient ship completely and returning the city to the ocean floor. Aquaman is stabbed in the battle, and his soul travels to the Greek Underworld. He manages to fight his way in to seeing Hades and convinces Hades to allow him and Poseidon back to the land of living. Poseidon takes back his power from Triton before killing his son and casting his trident at Aquaman's feet.
A.J. reappears as an amnesiac believing himself to be Aquaman, and fights Orin for supremacy in Atlantis until his mind is restored using the Clear. They return to his home dimension Oceanid where Mera leads a resistance against alien invaders called the Maritorn. Aquaman uses his ability to communicate with the oceans and unites the entire planet's fighting forces with Naiad's help. Their coordinated attack quickly brings the Maritorn to their knees, and he personally defeats their leader Lord Nemo. Orin and Mera return to their home dimension, while A.J. stays behind and becomes the Aquaman of Oceanid.
Koryak attempts to kill his father and seize control of Atlantis, but he is easily stopped and Arthur has him banished.
Revenge of Charybdis
Aquaman declared Poseidonis would be permanently renamed Atlantis. They were attacked by the Lurkers for encroaching on their territory, and their leader Noble destroys Orin's hook hand during a fight. He begins using a cybernetic replacement hand. Using superior tactics to defeat the more powerful invaders, the Lurkers are subjugated and Noble is appointed as an Atlantean dignitary. Noble begins to romantically pursue Mera during a tour of the Hidden City, assisting in her rescue from Lava Lord of the Fire Trolls.
Garth got Dolphin pregnant and subsequently married her. Arthur reconciled with Mera.
There was a war between Atlantis and the island nation of Cerdia. This war would result in the utter devastation of both Poseidonis and Tritonis as well as ravaging Cerdia as well. It was revealed during the course of the war that the Ocean Master was behind Cerdia's aggression. He also kidnaps Tempest and Dolphin's son right after the boy is born. The war is eventually won, Ocean Master is driven off, and Cerdia is annexed by Atlantis. As a token of peace, Tempest and Dolphin name their son Cerdian (nicknamed "Ian").
Our Worlds at War
Atlantis had not fully recovered from the war with Cerdia when it was drawn into another conflict. This one involved the coming of Imperiex, a force of nature that was coming to destroy the planet. An intergalactic alliance of aliens came together to make their stand at Earth. The JLA big guns were quickly swept aside by Imperiex's advance force. Aquaman gave his all against one of the probes, battling it over Poseidonis. An explosion resulted and when the water cleared, Atlantis was gone and a great rift in the ocean remained.
Following its disappearance, the Justice League discovers the ruins of Atlantis modern day on the ocean's surface. Reaching the conclusion that it was sent into the past, they unearth a graven distress signal from Aquaman. Tempest casts a spell to send them all backwards through time on a rescue mission. Batman's emergency protocols recruit a replacement League in the present day led by Nightwing. The original League travels backwards three thousand years to find Aquaman imprisoned while the city is ruled by the League of Ancients. Their leader Gamemnae is revealed to have enslaved the "future" Atlanteans upon their arrival for fifteen years, trapping Orin's consciousness inside a pool and using their labor to raise the city. Ruthless and prepared for them, the Ancients slaughter the League members in battle. Manitou Raven is the only of her followers to recognize Gamemnae's treachery, and sets a plan in motion before she can murder all that stand in her way. Through extremely complicated mysticism and time travel, the Justice League makes their final stand against Gamemnae. She resurfaces in the present and tries to enslave humanity through a world-wide drought. Zatanna leads a team into the past, and they channel Aquaman's wraith-form into the sea where he is able to control all the world's oceans. Using this new immense power, he destroys Gamemnae's works and sinks Atlantis back into the sea. The present-day Atlanteans are brought back to their own time, the Leaguers are reanimated and resurrected, history is corrected and things are set straight. Mera announces that their must still be a reckoning for the destruction and fifteen years of slavery; Orin is put on trial by his own people for high treason. Despite the opportunity to avoid punishment through the League's intervention, he chooses to accept this fate.
His people condemn him to death by desiccation to be carried out by Rodunn on Traitor's Reef. Arthur barely escapes on the verge of death and finds the Secret Sea, where the Lady of the Lake names him Waterbearer and gives him a new magical hand. Exiled from the ocean, he begins working in Ireland at the Mizen Head Lighthouse alongside two locals named McCaffrey and Sweeney. Mera lies comatose and Atlantis has been taken over by a ruling class of despotic sorcerers trained in the Obsidian Age, led by the villainous Hagen. Rodunn attacks Orin on dry land using a battle-suit, but he returns to the side of good when his life is spared. Deciding that it's time for a change in his appearance, Aquaman returns to his classic clean-shaven look. Tempest convinces him to return and fight for his people's freedom, but the Lady of the Lake reveals there's a dire price for using the hand in anger. This releases The Thirst, imprisoned by Merlin, a dark reflection of the waterbearer who drinks life-force through the Secret Sea itself.
Vulko begins trying to take down the corrupt system from within, assassinating members of the regime using a mutated jellyfish ally called the Man o' War. Aquaman and Tempest traverse the Heavenspan to gain better control of his temperament, while his evil counterpart gains strength by absorbing river spirits starting with the Elbe. They finally meet in the Rhine and do battle against his zombie pirates alongside the champions of Valhalla. Black Manta interrupts when he learns of Aquaman's return, and facilitates The Thirst's escape during an attack. Using his new curative powers, Arthur heals Manta's mental illness and brings him back to sanity. They team up with Manta and follow Thirst into the Dreamtime in Australia while Tempest stays behind in Atlantis. Moon River falls next to the Thirst's desire. Their final confrontation takes place at the Tigris River's Fountainhead, source of the Secret Sea and all Earth's spiritual vitality. He finally defeats the Thirst, but Manta betrays him and the Fountainhead is stopped anyway. Enraged, Aquaman uses his waterbearer hand against the Thirst in anger and they fuse together. Hagen uncovers Vulko's treachery, but releases his untold monsters before he can be killed. The Thirst finally reaches the Lady of the Lake by controlling their shared form, but Aquaman finally destroys him by surrendering and defeating the dark side of his own personality. This replenishes the waters of life, and their energy undoes Hagen's dark sorcery as well. Having gotten in touch with his anger, he begins to show more compassion to the people he rescues and takes time out to help civilians deal with their personal loss.
San Diego is submerged underwater in a massive tragedy that wipes out the entire city along the coast. The first person rescued is a girl with gills named Lorena Marquez, who leads them to believe that their might be more survivors. In his public address to the water-breathing refugees, he lets them know that they will never be able to leave.
Their investigation of the disaster finally leads them to their culprit, scientist Anton Geist. Geist reveals that he introduced a genetic mutation into the water supply causing San Diego's populace to develop gills when submerged in salt-water; he believed that climate change would eventually lead to a global apocalypse, and that he was saving humanity. Lorena beats the shit out of him for murdering her parents, and Aquaman realizes that he must've been working for someone else. Geist is forced to stay below and help the people he condemned, or else face retribution from the company he works for on the surface. Aquaman becomes the self-declared leader of Sub Diego.
Their first super-villain is a telekinetic man calling himself The Eel who attempts to take over their local organized crime syndicate. Batman's power dampeners break in custody, and Aquaman has to fight him on his own terms by telepathically controlling microscopic ogranisms in the villain's lungs. Investigating a downed naval base with the Sea Devils, Aquaman meets a new cybernetic Marauder attempting to steal military secrets and sell them to the highest bidder. The new Devils team led by Dane Dorrance including David Davies, Gideon Rivers, Kooch Kucharski, Melinda Spyros and Sigourney Amundsen helps him take the malevolent robot down. They also begin to experience an influx of designer drugs when a criminal named Ned Moriarty begins smuggling in cocaine and heroin, forcing Aquaman to take him down.
Orm Marius uses sorcery to switch lives with his brother during Retroverse, creating a world where Aquaman is synonymous with tyranny and Ocean Master is an undersea freedom fighter. Lorena Marquez is given a new Aquagirl costume as his second-in-command.
Geist is the only person left unaffected, and he helps Orin reawaken to his true identity. Orin undoes the magic, necromancy using the bones from his dead hand, and restores things to the way they should be.
Alonzo Malrey, a police officer who willingly subjected himself to Geist's genetic mutations, becomes the city's next resident protector. Reporter Esther Maris becomes a new ally in the media. The evil corporation that sank Sub Diego, Progene Tech, announces publicly that they patented the water-breathing genetic mutation strand... effectively copyrighting Aquaman's DNA. Vulko returns as ambassador of Atlantis and asks him to become their King again, but he refuses. A serial killer murders eight people, forcing Aquaman to enlist the help of former homicide detective Chandra Abbott and Scarecrow as a profiler. Abbott is revealed to be the murderer, although her actions indirectly led to the restoration of the police department. Aquagirl allies with Koryak in Atlantis, where they are refusing to grant Sub Diego residents citizenship. Black Manta begins to work with Progene in both their best interests. Aquaman begins a romantic relationship with Esther Maris. Manta arrives in Sub Diego and begins gaining approval by preaching his racial rhetoric to the inhabitants. Arthur learns from Koryak during their reunion that Mera is sick but no longer in a coma. He fights through Atlantean border defenses to see her again, missing a date with Esther in the process. Hagen's sorcery has caused Mera to develop lungs, and Atlantean sorcery is the only thing keeping her alive. Tempest and Aquaman have a knock-down drag-out brawl over whether or not Mera should be able to leave, which Arthur wins decisively. She's taken to Geist for treatment, but it is revealed that Geist was an O.M.A.C. and he is activated during The OMAC Project. Koryak manages to destroy the OMAC during their battle, leading to Geist's death as the host body. Manta undergoes a surgical procedure to give himself gills. In an effort to undo Hagen's sorcery and save Mera, Tempest gathers the most powerful Atlantean mages. This attracts the attention of The Spectre during his Day of Vengeance rampage to wipe out all magic.
During Villains United, Aquaman's allies defend Sub Diego against an attack by the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Tempest and Hagen team up to fight The Spectre, but he destroys Atlantis with a single blow. Atlantean refugees are forced to move to Sub Diego in the crisis. Arthur grieves; Vulko and Koryak are found dead in the wreckage, with Tempest gone missing. Aquaman is later seen during the Battle of Metropolis fighting Bane and Headhunter. Manta decides to abandon his political plans for Sub Diego, and simply strike while his nemesis is at his weakest. Captain Malrey is injured in the attack, and Aquaman finally loses it. He destroys Manta's ship and leaves him to die in a frenzy of Sharks.
Ralph Dibny meets him in the ruins of Atlantis during 52, where he has gone insane with tragedy and become a delusional rambling hermit. Trying to restore San Diego and save its inhabitants at the behest of Aquagirl, he makes a pact with the Sea Gods for incredible power. In exchange, he becomes the vessel for something "strange, dark and terrible" as his mind and body are warped into a new form.
Dweller in the Depths
Orin becomes the Dweller in the Depths, a monstrous figure with great magical power at the expense of his mind. He meets Arthur Joseph Curry, a relative of Tom Curry who gained similar powers through his own father's genetic experimentation. Falsely remembering his own life story as a prophecy, he encourages the young man to become Aquaman with King Shark and himself as companions. They meet Mera attempting to reestablish Atlantean society on their travels, but the Dweller cannot face her. Vulko's ghost is discovered when Arthur Joseph meets the Sea Devils at Windward Home, an international think-tank and safe haven run by James Lockhart and Elsa Magnusson. Lockhart informs him that his father was found dead, and Vulko insists that his destiny is to reunite the seas and rebuild Atlantis. Ocean Master is discovered to be responsible for enslaving the Atlantean people, and they launch a rescue mission. During the attack, the Dweller starts to question his "prophecy" when he meets his wife and brother. Mera shows him his true identity when she realizes, but he refuses to sway from his path. He is also shown to be half-water now, instead of just his hand. Arthur Joseph Curry finally accepts his destiny after they defeat Ocean Master's army, and Orin officially knights him the new Aquaman.
Tensions build between Orin and King Shark, due to broken memories of their first encounter.
The Dweller attempts to teach Arthur Joseph about heroism, having them travel the Atlantic Ocean bringing order to chaos. Fisherman, in a more brutal form, captures them although the underestimated Aquaman defeats him and rescues the local people.
The Order of the Thorny Crown believes that Orin is the only one who can stop their God's rise to power, and the Sea Bishop orders his death. His agent The Pardoner constructs an undead corpse assassin named Narwhal, implied to be Orin's son, and sets him loose. The remaining Atlantean army tries to stop Narwhal from entering the gates of Atlantis, but they are unsuccessful and he murders the Dweller after defeating Aquaman in combat. The JLA come to pay their respects during the funeral, but express concern over whether or not he can eventually revive in his new mystical form. His body decomposes into water.
The Lady of the Lake eventually reveals that Orin shared a deeper connection with Arthur Joseph than previously thought. Sharing both his DNA and stolen life water, Joseph received a portion of Orin's soul in the spell that raised Sub Diego; this lead to the Dweller's transformation. Taking the name Joseph Curry, the new Aquaman swears that he will live up to his predecessor's name.
Orin was revived as one of the Black Lanterns whereby his hand has been restored to his corpse. Aquaman was among the twelve people revived by the White Lantern Central Power Battery at the dawning of the Brightest Day.
Aquaman reunites with Mera in Amnesty Bay. During an attack on Somalian pirates, he discovers that he's retained his Black Lantern ability to command undead sealife. Mera's twin sister Siren returns from their dimension leading a Death Squad. They attack them in the Bermuda Triangle, and Mera confesses that she was originally sent to Atlantis to murder Arthur. Her home dimension of Xebel is revealed to have actually been a penal colony holding separatists who waged war against Atlantis. The Entity appears again when Deadman gains control of the White Lantern, and his voice commands Aquaman to find Jackson Hyde. Mera reveals that she already knows the child, and he's Black Manta's son. Arthur stops Manta and Siren from murdering the boy's adopted father after he charges Mera with finding someone to help protect the surface world from her people.
They escape together with Mr. Hyde and discover that part of Jackson's birthright is a map. This leads them to an ancient suit of battle armor with Waterbearers to control his powers; Aquaman compels Jackson to follow his destiny and help imprison the armies of Xebel. They make their stand at the beginning of the Aquawar when Siren leads hundreds of Xebel soldiers to march against surface-dwellers on the beaches. Black Manta appears again and chops his hand off with a butchering knife. Jackson cauterizes his wound, and Mera pushes her hard-water powers past their limits to destroy the enemy force in a massive tidal wave. Underwater they are decimated by Aquaman's army of undead sea creatures, and Jackson uses his new powers to turn the barrier back on imprisoning Manta and the colony of Xebel in the Bermuda Triangle again. His mission completed, the Entity restores Arthur's life back to him completely and then vaporizes him. He is converted into one of the four Elementals representing water, alongside Firestorm representing fire, Hawkman and Hawkgirl representing wind, and Martian Manhunter representing earth. The Entity explains that his greater purpose was to bring them together so they could protect humanity from the Dark Avatar, a version of Swamp Thing whose connection to the Green had been tainted by Nekron. Their presence staves him off long enough to resurrect Alec Holland. Holland is transformed into the new Swamp Thing and destroys his evil counterpart, becoming the new avatar of the White Lantern Corps. Aquaman is returned to normal with his hand repaired. Reexamining the weapons Xebel used when he returns, he realizes they are Atlantean in origin.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Aquaman was brought back to Atlantis when he was a teenager, due to the death of his grandfather. As a result, the young Arthur never learned compassion and kindness from his father, who was killed by the Atlantean agents sent to recover him. In the present day, Aquaman and all of Atlantis wage war against Wonder Woman and the Amazons. He caused Western Europe to sink into the sea killing over 60 million people, intending to sink England as well and is later seen alongside his brother, the Ocean Master, in the flooded remains of Paris where they attack the pirate Deathstroke and his crew members Sonar, Icicle, and Clayface. After taking them out, Aquaman then left the pirate Deathstroke to die, as he had other work to do. However, Deathstroke survives with the help of Sonar. The war against the Amazons started when Diana's mother, Hippolyta, was killed on Aquaman and Diana's wedding day, and in an act of retribution, Wonder Woman later killed Mera who had apparently married Aquaman. The wedding was going to happen after Atlantis was discovered by the Amazons when Aquaman saved and healed Diana when she was wounded by a sea creature. Both of the races then revealed themselves to the outside world. The death of Hippolyta was however revealed to be a casualty of war as the real target was Wonder Woman. A plot between Orm and Penthesleia to prevent the union of Aquaman and Wonder Woman was also revealed. In the present, Aquaman reassigns Siren and Ocean Master to assassinate Terra in New Themyscira. The mission failed, with Siren being killed by Diana's aunt, Penthesleia. The Amazonian Furies then attack the reinforcements led by Aquaman, who is confronted in battle by their leader, Wonder Woman. During their struggle, Wonder Woman tells him that they have both been deceived. She discovers that his brother Ocean Master kissing Penthesileia are both responsible for the war between the Atlanteans and the Amazons and that it was a ruse planned by them. The Atlanteans decide to go to the surface, but their attack is backfired by Ocean Master, so Aquaman believes Diana had set a trap. She escapes from Aquaman, who refuses her word. Aquaman then arrives on New Themyscira. A final battle is waged between Emperor Aquaman and Wonder Woman; however, they are both approached by the Flash and the heroes, who are there to stop the war. However, Enchantress betrays the heroes and starts a massacre, killing everybody in sight. Then, Kal-El, stomps Enchantress, killing her, and charges into Aquaman and Wonder Woman at the final battle. Finally, the Flash restores the original timeline, yet radically changes it.
In this new timeline, he is still a charter member of the Justice League with revised origins. Aquaman begins protecting Boston, where he quickly develops a more positive reputation than his negative public image. He decides to completely abandon Atlantis, choosing instead to pursue a life on land with Mera. The city is attacked by a carnivorous underwater species called The Trench and they fight off the invasion. Many humans are taken captive during the slaughter. His former mentor Stephen Shin is the only man who can help discover their whereabouts, and they visit him for guidance despite Shin having tried to kill Arthur. Descending into the Marianas Trench, they discover the predators dying out and desperately trying to feed their children in the remnants of an Atlantean craft. They save the captives, and Aquaman reluctantly causes the Trench's extinction to prevent further loss of human life. One of the creatures saved is a homeless dog who they decide to take in, calling him Aquadog. The Navy discovers an ancient black box aboard the craft, and Atlantean soldiers assault their base to take it back. Aquaman strands himself in the desert taking their aircraft down during the escape, and receives a centuries-old warning from the device before getting rescued.
Later, Aquaman and Mera visit Shin once more to ask him about who sank Atlantis, when suddenly, Ya'Wara, an old friend of Aquaman's, attacks Shin. Mera stops her, and Aquaman prevents Mera and Ya'Wara from fighting each other. Ya'Wara tells Aquaman that Kahina the Seer has been killed by Black Manta, who has taken one of the seals of Atlantis.
Aquaman and Ya'Wara teleport to Brazil, where they find Kahina's corpse. They discover that Manta has stolen the Seal of Clarity, one of the Atlantean relics. Aquaman and Ya'Wara decide to warn the Others, but they are suddenly attacked by Manta's henchmen. After defeating Manta's hunters, Aquaman and Ya'Wara teleport to Germany, where Another, the Prisoner-of-War, is located. Manta wants to obtain the Prisoner's manacles, which also are Atlantean relics. After a small chase, Aquaman encounters Manta.
As Aquaman meets up with Ya'Wara and the Prisoner, Manta steals Ya'Wara's necklace and escapes.