Aquaman's New Backstory Nerfs His Powers

Even though he's often considered one of DC Comics' weaker heroes, Aquaman is actually one of the strongest members of the Justice League and has defeated Gods. However, despite his strength, his new Post-Crisis origin has nerfed one of the strongest aspects of the character. The ridiculousness of Arthur Curry's old origin benefited him more than fans realize and gave him powers and leverage that expands beyond what he has now.

DC is no stranger to changing origins, in fact the publisher does it all the time, and Aquaman is definitely not safe from the wave of changes DC began to make three years after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Post-Crisis was a time for writers to reboot origins and write new stories surrounding original characters. In one such reboot Aquaman was revealed to have been quite literally raised by dolphins after being abandoned by the former King of Atlantis. It was a ridiculous concept, but was well received for its goofiness and what it brought to the table for Arthur. Somehow, it elevated his character and made him stronger, even making him immune to certain threats such as Lobo. Despite his skill, the Main Man refuses to fight Aquaman after finding out that Arthur was raised by dolphins in Aquaman #4 by Peter David, Martin Egeland, and Howard M. Shum. Literally just being around dolphins is enough to give Aquaman immunity from one of the most dangerous men in the galaxy. While other heroes are forced to fight him many times, Arthur enjoys a life free of Lobo's attacks.


Related: Namor vs Aquaman Is Settled Forever by Marvel & DC's Biggest CrossoverThere have been several reboots of the DC Universe since the original Post-Crisis era, including the New 52 and DC Rebirth, and Aquaman's origin has been substantially changed. It is now established that Arthur Curry is the half-human, half-Atlantean son of lighthouse keeper Tom Curry and Atlanna, the Queen of Atlantis. But this subsequently removes several elements of his Post-Crisis origin. That origin did not simply boil down to Arthur being raised by dolphins. His Post-Crisis father was an ancient Atlantean wizard named Atlan. In this origin, Arthur was originally planned to be sacrificed, as decreed by the King of Atlantis. However, when he was abandoned on a reef, dolphins found him and took him in. But his access to ancient magic allowed him to enhance his telepathic abilities and granted him access to The Clear — the consciousness and life force of all aquatic life in the Universe. This made him one of the most powerful and adaptable heroes in the DC Universe and enhanced powers he already had in previous origins.

Lobo refuses to fight Aquaman

This origin ramped up Aquaman's original powers, to the point that he could control or telepathically link with anything that had evolved from any sea life in the Universe. In fact, his telepathic abilities were so great he was able to control the ancient Goddess Tiamat. Arthur condemned Tiamat straight to Hell in Aquaman Vol. 5 #25 by Peter David, Martin Egeland, Howard M. Shum, Tom McCraw, and Albert DeGuzman. Being descended from the ancient wizard Atlan and a bastard son to the Queen of Atlantis, Aquaman was practically a Demigod. Having his origins changed was a blow to his powers as he was instead the son of an Atlantean Queen and an ordinary lighthouse keeper.

Arthur Curry's feats would go down in DC legend and the joke that he was raised by dolphins continues to live on in many adaptations. Despite the goofiness, being born and raised in the way he was gave him more power than fans had originally thought he had. It gave DC the chance to amp up his abilities and go as far as they wanted to while still remaining truthful to the character. His new origin may fit the character better and more align with his on-screen depiction, but Aquaman's previous potential was vast and pushed the limits of what his character meant and could do for DC Comics.