Aquaman

Created by Mort Weisinger & Paul Norris

Aquaman

NAME + ALIASES:
Orin, Arthur Curry, Swimmer, The Dweller in the Depths

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Atlan (father, deceased) Atlanna (mother, deceased), Mera (ex-wife), Arthur Jr. (son, deceased), Orm Marius (Ocean Master, half-brother), Debbie Perkins (Deep Blue, Indigo, half-sister), Koryak (son, deceased), Thomas Curry ("adoptive" father)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Nation of Atlantis, Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical: More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941),
Modern: Adventure Comics #260 (May 1959)

DEATH:
Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50 (May 2007)

Aquaman II

NAME + ALIASES:
Arthur Joseph Curry

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Philip Curry (father), Thomas Curry (uncle)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
none

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (May 2006)

+ History

The modern-day king of Atlantis, the man known to the surface world as Aquaman has spent his whole life in perpetual search of his very name, title, home, even family …

He was born the Queen of Poseidonis, Atlanna, and an ancient wizard named Atlan (Aquaman: Time & Tide #1). He was given an ancestral Atlantean name, Orin, but this infant would not learn this name for many years — all because of his blond hair. In Atlantis, blond hair was equated with the ancient evil of Shalako and Kordax (Orin's ancestors). The supersticious Atlanteans gave the infant up to the sea, but he was rescued by a dolphin named Porm. Orin (called "Swimmer" by the dolphins) lived among these animals for years. Unlike other Atlanteans, Orin was born with the ability to converse with sea creatures. This gift was likely the result of the magic in his blood and allowed him to assimilate into dolphin life. (Aquaman: Time & Tide #2)

In adolescence, Porm urged him on to discover his destiny. One day his "brother" dolphin, Drin was killed by a fisherman's spear. The trauma led the Swimmer to pursue a life on land, where he presumed he would be among his "own kind." Orin met a kind fisherman named Thomas Curry. Curry opened his home to the boy and taught him American language and culture. After several years, Curry disappeared mysteriously but left Orin a note which offered the boy the use of his name. (Legend of Aquaman #1)

This left young Arthur still with no clues about his true origins. After living on land, he theorized that he must have been born of surface dwellers. (Time & Tide #1) He began to explore the surface world, and encountered a band of Eskimos, the Inupiat people of North America. He was injured and rescued by a girl named Kako. He stayed with her family for a time and he and Kako grew to become lovers. He rescued her again from a mad goddess named Nuliajuk, but this was too much for her family. Arthur was driven from their home, not knowing that he had fathered a son with Kako. and was oblivious when she eventually bore Orin's son, Koryak. As fate would have it, Orin's own half-brother, Orm, was also born of the Inupiat people. Orm was fathered by Atlan with another woman from Kako's family. (Time & Tide #3)

His next contact with humans was a conact with super-humans! Orin met the Flash and helped the speedster capture the Trickster. (Time & Tide #1) He accompanied the Flash to the surface, where the press dubbed him "Aquaman." He was also on-hand when Earth was invaded by aliens from Apellax. He and five others defeated the aliens and formed the Justice League of America. (JLA: Year One #1)

Eventually Orin returned to Atlantis as an unknown, and was imprisoned. After leading a successful revolt, he claimed the thone. He also gained access to information about his past. He discovered his true parentage, and began a family himself. One member of his family was a young boy named Garth who, like Orin, had been abandoned by his people. Garth was taken in as an infant by the people of Poseidonis and eventually became Aquaman's sidekick, Aqualad, and helped found the Teen Titans. (Adventure #269) Garth has since grown into a formidable hero in his own right. (Showcase '96 #1) As Tempest, he now has magical abilities.

He married a woman named Mera, with whom he had a child, Arthur, Jr. Arthur Jr. did no live long; he was killed by the autistic madman, Black Manta. (Aquaman v.1 #60) Upon this tragedy, he left Mera and Atlantis for years without a word. Over time Aquaman has repeatedly reclaimed and lost his throne. In recent times, he has become estranged from Mera, who also continued to rule as Atlantis' queen.

 

A King's Curse

It wasn't long before Arthur felt the full force of his Atlantean Destiny. He met his brother Orm — now the Ocean Master — during his first reign as King. Though neither men knew they were brothers, they could not escape the grip of their Atlantean fates and went on to wage war for control of the empire. At first, Orm knew only that his father was an "undersea wizard." (Aquaman v.1 #29, Time & Tide #4)

Through all this, Orin remained a member of the Justice League. In fact, he was the one who disbanded the original team in favor of a smaller, more committed team of newcomers. (JLofA Annual #2) When that League failed, he tended to personal matters for a while. He aided the International League sporadically, and eventually returned to active duty in the European branch. (JL Spectacular #1-JLE #50)

Aquaman gained one of his most distinctive features during this time: he lost his left hand to pirhana due to the villain called Charybdis. (Aquaman v.5 #1-2) He replaced the hand with a metallic hook (#3) which was later modified by S.T.A.R. Labs to be controlled mentally. (#9) He also finally met his son, Koryak (#5), who can also survive underwater and possessed telekinetic abilities.

Koryak returned to Atlantis with Orin just before its King Thesily died. He once again took up the mantle and struck up a new romantic relationship with the woman called Dolphin. Of course, as soon as this transpired, his estranged wife, Mera, returned as well. (#9-11) But Mera was mad. She'd been the captive of an other-dimensional ruler named Thanatos. While she was there, Thanatos fathered her second child, A.J. Thanatos was ultimately killed by the tectonic desctruction caused by Major Disaster (who was on a hit to kill Aquaman). Because A.J. was born of "netherspace," he had to remain in that dimension. (#12-14)

Despite her love for Orin, Dolphin found him inaccessible and her attentions began to wander towards a more sensitive soul — Garth! (#36) She eventually left Orin and married Garth (#60), bearing a daughter, Cerdian. During this time, Orin's Inupiat brother, Orm, finally learned that they were brothers, both sons of Atlan. Orin failed to forge a truce between them in order to save Atlantis from the ancient cycle of brotherly hatred. (#66-68)

Atlan himself was nearly killed by the god Triton (#45) but he was rescued by his own piscean minions and returned in time to warn Arthur from getting romantically involved with his own half sister! This girl was named Debbie — Indigo — and was the daughter of the sea heroine Tsunami. Indigo and Atlan disappeared into a portal before Orin could learn more. (#59-60)

 

Apocalypse Again

Orin once again became a charter member of the newest Justice League, and served with them until the Brainiac 13/Imperiex War. In this tragedy, Tempest cast a spell which sent Aquaman and all of Atlantis back in time. (JLA: Our Worlds at War #1). There they remained for 15 years; when they returned to the current day, Arthur did not return to the JLA and he was exiled from Atlantis for his actions. (JLA #75)

For a time he found a home in northern England. While he was there he met the Lady of the Lake, who replaced his hooked hand with a magical water hand. This hand bore mystical powers and enabled Arthur (as he now preferred to be called) to travel to the Lady's land. But the hand was not to be used in aggression. When Arthur faltered in this, the horrible Thirst was unleashed and nearly destroyed the Lady and her realm.

During his time in England, he forsook Atlantis and the evil sorcerer Hagen took complete control over Mera, the queen. Hagen is deposed in Atlantis, Tempest left in charge, Mera ill ?? (Aquaman v.6 #??)

He soon moved on to California after part of the city of San Diego fell into the sea. This, he found was orchestrated by a scientist named Geist. "Sub Diego," as it was now called, posed many challenges that Aquaman was well-equipped to handle. Part of Geist's experiment was to alter human physiology so that they could live underwater. One of the people transformed by this treachery was the young Lorena who became the new Aquagirl. Lorena's physiology made her a valuable partner: unlike most Sub Diegans, she could still breath outside of water. (Aquaman v.6 #??)

Mera grew more ill from Hagen's magics, which forced Arthur's son Koryak to seek his aid. Koryak had also pled in vain to Tempest and Vulko to let the Sub Diegans be allowed into Atlantis as citizens, which they refused. (#32)

Aquaman met a reporter named Esther in California and the two dated briefly. Their affair was interrupted, however, by another tragic day for Atlantis. The Spectre had been driven mad and vowed to eliminate all magic from Earth. The ghost left Atlantis in ruins, and Vulko and Koryak perished. (#37-38)

After this newest destruction, Arthur apparently fell victim to the wild magic left in the wake of the Spectre's destruction. When he was visited by his former Justice League friend, Ralph Dibny, Aquaman had already begun to behave absent-mindedly. He helped Dibny acquire a magical artifact, the Shackles of Arion. (52 #39)

Aquaman's magical tranformation continued until both his body and mind were nearly unrecognizable for the warrior king of days past. He took to living exclusively underwater again, and was compelled to keep the Atlantis Chronicles as he had before. His water hand grew to encompass half of his body, he grew tentacles for hair, and began wearing a bulky cloke to disguise his form.

It was in this strange and amnesiac form that he first met young man whose name was also Arthur Curry. (Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40) Curry's father was related to Aquaman's long-lost adoptive father, Thomas Curry. After Curry's Florida home was demolished, he met Orin underwater, where he was now known as the Dweller in the Depths. The former king could no longer remember his past, and took to mentoring the young Arthur. Eventually their paths crossed with Mera's again. After the Crisis, she led the survivors of Atlantis to try to find a new home. Mera recognized the Dweller for his true self, but the went separate ways once again. He only vaguly recognized his wife, but she vowed to seek help to restore him to his former health. (#45)

Notes

The only major element of Aquaman's origin that's changed post-Crisis is his parentage. In pre-Crisis, he and his half-brother Orm, the Ocean Master, were both the biological sons of the human Arthur Curry. Now, both Orin and Orm are sons of Atlan (by different mothers).

Orin's adoptive father was originally also named Arthur Curry and gave Orin his name to use above the oceans. After Infinite Crisis, his name was referred to as Thomas Curry, and he was the great-uncle of the new, young Arthur Curry. (Aquaman: Sword #43)

In the DC/Marvel Amalgam universe cross-over (1996), Arthur McKenzie called himself Mariner.

 

+ Powers

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Action #428, 444-446, 450-452, 456-458
  •  All-Star Comics #38-57
  • Comic Cavalcade #25
  • Detective Comics #293-300, 464
  • Green Lantern v.2 #78, 80-87
  • Showcase #30-33
  • World's Finest #6, 125-133, 135-139, (odd issues)

» SERIES:

  • More Fun Comics #73-107
  • Adventure Comics #103-117, 119-152, 154-164 (even issues), 167-168, 170-206, 208-280, 282, 284, 418-419, 441-448
  • Aquaman v.1, 63 issues (1962-71, 1977-78)
  • Aquaman v.2, 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Aquaman v.3, 5-issue limited series(1989)
  • Legend of Aquaman, one-shot (1989)
  • Atlantis Chronicles, 7-issue limited series (1990)
  • Aquaman v.4, 13 issues (1991-92)
  • Aquaman: Time and Tide, 6-iussue limited series (1994-95)
  • Aquaman v.5, 74 issues (1994-2001)
  • Aquaman v.6, issues #1-39 (2003-2006)
  • Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, issues #40-57 (2006-07)