|AQUAMAN (Arthur Curry, Orin)
|Created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris
Real Name: Arthur Curry, Orin
Identity: Publicly Known
Occupation: Adventurer, Monarch of Atlantis and King of the Seven Seas
Place of Birth: Atlantis
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Mera (wife, separated), Arthur, Jr. (son, deceased), Tom Curry (adoptive father, deceased), Atlanna (mother, deceased), Ocean Master (Orm Marius) (half-brother), Atlan (father), Koryak (son), Arthur II (son), various ancient rulers of Atlantis (deceased - mostly)
Base of Operation: Atlantis and the Seven Seas
Group Affiliation(s): JLA, formerly Justice League International, Justice League, Justice League of America
Weight: 325 lbs.
Distinguishing Features: The backsides of his calves have fins that help him maneuver underwater
First Appearance: (historical): More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
(canonical): Adventure Comics #215 (August 1955)
Creators: Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris
Many on the surface world remember a rather bland young merman that was a founding member of the JLA, yet below the waters that cover two-thirds of the surface of his planet he is rightfully seen as the monarch of those waters. Experience has molded Orin from the inexperienced loner to the majestic warrior king that his subjects both fish and mammal hold in awe.
Aquaman is often seen as a loner but he takes his time forming friends, a group that includes a long standing friendship with Wonder Woman, the shared experiences of the former sidekick Tempest and a burgeoning respect for Connor Hawke the latest Green Arrow.
Aquaman has fought gods for his right to be protector of the seas, he has paid with blood for enemies made and has lost his way in the difficult choices that rulers must make. Yet it is impossible to keep him down, his heritage as the descendent of Kordax and son of Atlan give him a connection with the oceans that even he is only now becoming aware of.
"He will know joy and sorrow, darkness and light, for the blood of Orin and Shalako will run through him. He will produce a child with a woman from the world of the dark gods and they will both leave him. He will battle the inner uncertainty caused by his mixed heritage and he will battle his half-brother, whom I shall also sire with a woman of the surface. For two brothers must always struggle for Atlantis. This is fate and when they battle for the final time, the outcome will determine the ultimate destiny of Atlantis. Either it will rejoin the surface world or be forever destroyed." - Atlan - father of Aquaman and the Ocean Master
The mysterious sorcerer Atlan was father by Queen Atlanna of Atlantis to the adventurer known as Aquaman and by an Eskimo woman to the villain known as Ocean Master. Thereby he satisfied the ancient Atlantis prophesy that two brothers will always be battling over the fate of Atlantis.
When Aquaman was born as Orin, he was left by King Trevis to die on Mercy Reef, so called because it was used by the water breathers to leave others of their kind to die as the waters receded with the tides exposing them to the open air. However Orin was no normal child, abandoned because of a disturbing similarity between Orin and an ancient Atlantis monster known as Kordax. It was this Curse of Kordax, of having fair hair, which caused the abandonment of Orin to the air.
As the waters drew back Orin was nurtured by the warming effects of the Sun. He was truly of both worlds able to breathe both water and air. He was raised by the dolphin named Porm and wandered with her pod across the oceans. While a teenager Orin was found by the lighthouse keeper Arthur Curry. It was this kindly lighthouse keeper that was to be Orin's first prolonged exposure to humanity. Arthur raised him as he was his own son, teaching him the ways of the surface world and how to read.
After Arthur Curry disappeared Orin took the name as a mark of respect. Orin swam north and lived for months above and below the water avoiding all human contact until one fateful date he saved a young Eskimo woman by the name of Kako from a rampaging polar bear. Perhaps it was destiny that had drawn Orin there but it brought about the first meeting between him and his half brother Orm who was deeply jealous of Orin and Kako. He set in motions that would lead to Orin being driven out of the settlement.
Orin returned to the seas, he crossed paths with humans from time to time but for the most parts he stayed well out of the reach of humanity. Until one fateful day Orin happened on the city of his birth. Quite by accident he had found Atlantis. He was captured by the then dictatorial government of the city and placed in the prison camp. He was help with another prisoner Vulko who taught Orin the language and ways of the Atlanteans.
A clear screen separated the male from female prisoners and through it he kept getting glances of a woman that he instinctively knew as his mother. When see appeared at the screen no more he knew that she was dead, there was no longer anything to keep Orin in this foreign city. He broke out and fled back to his endless oceans.
As time passed Aquaman took more of an interest in the surface world. The media began to call him a superhero and he was christened Aquaman by Barry Allen (aka Flash II). Not long afterward he became a founding member of the Justice League of America. When he eventually returned to Atlantis he found that via his escape the citizens had been inspired to free themselves and that Atlantis was now a free city. He was recognized as the son of Queen Atlanna and so he became the King of Atlantis.
Times were happy for Aquaman, the new ruling house of Atlantis slowly reintroduced it to the outside world and the society and it ruler grew together in peace. There were those that would oppose his rule and the supervillian called the Shark deposed Orin for a time. Once the Shark was defeated Aquaman refused to take up the throne once more preferring to act more as the traditional superhero (a title what he would come to hate). The cost was high when the villain Black Manta succeeded in killing Aquaman's young son.
The death of Arthur Jr. put a rift between Orin and Mera so they tried relocating to a flooded city on the East Coast as a change of scene. It was during this time that as Aquaman he sought to reform the Justice League. Actually going in front of the United Nations he disbanded the Justice League and later reformed it only taking dedicated individuals and four new young heroes in the guise of Vibe, Vixen, Steel II and Gypsy. Accustomed to the rank of monarch his leadership style has harsh and caused authority problems with some of the younger members. Eventually Aquaman would leave this League.
Mera had been driven insane by grief and had been committed to an asylum in Atlantis. Shortly afterward an alien force took the city. Orin was forced to save the city and in the process was hampered by an escaped Mera who personally blamed Orin for the death of their son. In a fit of rage she left this dimension. After Atlantis was freed Orin remained tied to the city. For a time he served as its representative to the United Nations but always finding himself thrust into the superhero role. Becoming more and more of a workaholic and solitary figure he returned to the oceans where he eventually learnt the truth (from the old Chronicles of Atlantis that he how keeps) about his birth and the Ocean Master was actually his half brother.
Spurred on by Aqualad, Orin was forced to return to action where he lost his hand. The shock caused him to become delirious he experienced dreams filled with portents and omens, of things to come and things' past. Shortly afterward he adopted a harpoon in place of his hand (later to be upgraded to advanced STAR labs psionically controlled model) and set out to protect the seas in his own way. Making friends along the way he started a romance with the mysterious girl named Dolphin, little knowing that she was being controlled by the monster Kordax in an effort to kill him.
Lost of all diplomacy, Orin found himself fighting former allies such as Superboy and even gaining the respect of Lobo of all people. He found himself reacting to the world around him rather than acting, discovering he had a son in the form of Koryax and that his former lover Kako had become the latest fire elemental. Meanwhile behind his back King Thesily the current monarch of Atlantis was plotting to kill Orin out of jealously due to the place that Aquaman had in the hearts of his subjects. In the end Thesily was killed during an earthquake, one of the many that forced the Poseidonians to flee to Tritonians as the city began to rise to the surface.
Koryax lead the Poseidonians away as Orin returned. Orin was forced to deal with the aftermath of his meeting with Thanatos (who had been using Atlantian equipment to broadcast threats in the guise of Aquaman) by battling the current Justice League who had come to investigate with the now floating city of Poseidonis. Not long afterwards Orin bonded with the ancient cybernetic entity that the Hunters had left to observe Atlantis. In the process he learnt of the impending return of the Hunter/Gathers and so began an epic struggle to gather together the ancient cities of Atlantis under one banner. He united all the undersea forces and many of the water related superheroes while at the same time having to contend with the return of Kordax who was telepathically controlling the citizens of Poseidonis.
The Hunter/Gathers had returned to Earth and had begun wooing the surface world around to their overtures of peace. However, only the undersea forces of Aquaman knew the truth. Assembling a task force of undersea superheroes Aquaman took the battle to the Hunter/Gathers at the White House. They tried to convince Aquaman of their worth by allowing him a glimpse of future powers, but he refused and tricked them into revealing their plans to the world. The Hunter/Gathers were then forced to retreat. During the battle with the Hunter/Gathers Orin had become more and more the Monarch of Atlantis. However there was a difference, whereas before he had been only acting what he thought that a king should do, he now was truly acting as a king should, ruling the subjects below him.
The change did not sit easily with Orin. Having a magical heritage and destiny he began to feel the inner conflict physically. His body became mutated, his hands webbed and his skin scaled. It took help from the Swamp Thing to awaken Aquaman to his true nature via a form of vision quest into the past of Atlantis. He saw the origin of Kordax as a frightened young boy and not the monster that he became. Aquaman's increasing acceptance of his role as King frightened those around him and the physical transformation frightened his subjects. The matter came to a head when Poseidon forced him to battle his son, Triton, for dominion over the ocean. Aquaman won (partially because Triton let him win) and Poseidon forced on him a fraction of the powers of a sea god. Instantly blinded Aquaman discovered that Poseidon has opened a link between Aquaman and the Clear (the unified life energy field of all ocean life). His sight slowly returned and with the help of Animal Man he discovered that he also possessed the ability of echo location.
The new abilities that Aquaman now possesses reinforce his dominion over the creatures of the sea and its inhabitants. He has established the position of Poseidonis in the surface world (even to the extent of a trial period where he opened it up to tourists). However his actions have not won universal acclaim amongst the people of the city. Vulko in particular feels as if he is out the decision making loop now that Aquaman is making his own decisions as King. Troubles brew for Aquaman in every corner, Triton recently killed his father and now sees Aquaman as his main obstacle between his goal of supreme command of the element of water.
POWERS AND WEAPONS
Born an Atlantean Orin is naturally adapted to the deep ocean environment, giving him enhanced hearing and strength while on land. He can breathe both water and air, but must return to the aquatic environment at various intervals, this length can be prolonged by the humidity in the air.
While before Aquaman had telepathic abilities and a certain command over sea life his newly opened link to the Clear has opened up a whole new world to him. The Clear can best be likened to the Green of the Swamp Thing, it is a universal consciousness of all sea life. Via it he can communicate or command sea life on the other side of the planet. He can see what they see and much more what he is only beginning to realize. He can also push his telepathic powers to reach out to the higher land creatures to find that element of their brains that dates to their ancestors' time in the ocean.
Since his hand was severed by piranha he has used a prosthetic hook developed by STAR Labs that he can control psionically. This allows him to fire it on the end of a line or to spin it like a drill.
For a definitive list of appearances of Aquaman in chronological order click here
Who's Who in the DC Universe #12 (September 1991)