As one of the oldest superheroes in the comic book world and a founding member of the Justice League, Aquaman is one of the most iconic characters in comic book history. Unfortunately, he has spent the bulk of the 75 years of his existence being mocked and ridiculed by comic book readers. Many people consider him to be the weakest among the main Justice League members, though that is certainly not the case.
Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman, is an Atlantean-Human hybrid — born to a human father and an Atlantean mother. Because of his unique physiology, Aquaman possesses a slew of superpowers, many of which have aided him in his efforts to defend Atlantis as well as fight alongside the Justice League. Whether he will use these powers in Warner Bros.’ burgeoning DC Extended Universe is a question for another time. For now, let’s run through the 15 Powers You Didn’t Know Aquaman Had.
15. Night vision
Humans aren’t meant to dive underwater; therefore we lack the necessary traits to see underwater too. It is estimated that the average human can see somewhere between 165 and 230 feet deep in moderately clear water. Murky water, though, is another story altogether. On the other hand, Aquaman, who is an Atlantean-Human hybrid, possesses extraordinary vision, thus increasing his underwater vision exponentially. He once said that he could see clearly in depths as far down as 6,000 fathoms (or 36,000 feet).
Of course, being human as well as a member of the Justice League, Aquaman finds himself frequenting the surface world. The majority of his fellow Leaguers each possess their own unique powers; however, Aquaman has something none of them do — night vision. His enhanced vision not only allows him to see clearly underwater — at unfathomable depths — but also allows him to see clearly at night, on land. In the Justice League footage released at Comic-Con earlier this summer, one can see that Aquaman’s eyes are noticeably different from the average human’s.
14. Intense heat resistance
Aquaman’s superhuman physiology provides him with the durability necessary to survive the enormous pressure of swimming at extraordinary depths. It also makes him nearly impenetrable. Although his skin isn’t as durable as Superman or Wonder Woman‘s, Aquaman can still withstand blasts from the majority of human-crafted weaponry. That’s not to say he can’t be harmed, though.
As with any other superhero, Aquaman has his weaknesses — but heat and energy blasts are not among them. The Dweller in the Depths is able to tolerate many temperatures that would otherwise kill most superhumans, and even withstand energy blasts that could kill his fellow Leaguers. We see this level of durability displayed in Aquaman’s fights with his archnemesis, Black Manta, as well as Amazo and Superman.
DC Entertainment may not be keen on having more superhero-on-superhero fights, but it would certainly be interesting to see Aquaman display this type of resistance on the big screen against the Man of Steel.
Aquaman is most widely known for his ability to “talk to fish,” though that’s not exactly how his power works. Despite decades of jokes and popular misconception, Aquaman doesn’t speak to fish, nor does he communicate with them telepathically — not in the assumed way, at least. Instead, he controls them by using the power of suggestion; something along the lines of empathetic communication. Still, the ability to control marine life has come in handy on more than one occasion.
However, Aquaman’s telepathic abilities aren’t limited to marine life. His power extends to any being that lives on water or that has evolved from the sea — including humans. Though limited, Aquaman has exhibited the power to affect humans telepathically. He can’t control other beings as firmly as he can control marine life, but he is able to weaken another person’s mind and compel them to perform certain actions. It’s unclear how extensive his powers are, but he has had an affect on White Martians.
12. Summoning Undead Sea Life
As with many characters in the DC Universe, Aquaman has exhibited various superpowers over the decades, most of which have been retconned with the New 52 reboot. Some powers, though, he only possessed for a short time, particularly during a specific story arc. One of those powers was the ability to summon undead marine life during the Brightest Day crossover event.
In the aftermath of the Blackest Night story arc, in which a dozen characters were mysteriously resurrected, Brightest Day follows the heroes and villains as they discover the purpose behind their resurrection. Aquaman was one of the reborn heroes, and his purpose was to save Aqualad and prevent a war between Atlantis and Xebel.
When he was first reanimated, Aquaman temporarily displayed the ability call undead marine life to his aid. It’s an ability he had when he was a member of the Black Lantern Corps — a corps of zombie-like characters who seek to kill everything in the DC Universe.
11. Access to The Clear
As previously mentioned, Aquaman’s most widely recognized superpower is communicating telepathically with marine life… so to speak. While most people misconstrue how his powers work, people also make the mistake of underestimating how powerful his control is over the sea.
Prior to the New 52 reboot, Aquaman once possessed the ability to tap directly into The Clear, a primordial force that binds all life in the sea and provides ocean-themed heroes with their superpowers, similar to how the Force works in Star Wars. Interestingly, there is also a governing body, known as the Parliament of Waves, who preside over The Clear.
By harnessing the power of The Clear, Aquaman’s telepathy was augmented, thus allowing him to communicate with and summon sea creatures from the other side of the planet. It allowed him to form a universal consciousness with all life in the sea, even enabling him to see through their eyes.
10. Superhuman Strength
Aquaman may be the strongest character in the sea, but he’s certainly not the strongest on land. In fact, most comic book readers consider him to be the weakest among the core Justice League members — but that could not be further from the truth. Aquaman has demonstrated a unique set of skills and superpowers when combating enemies and has even shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel. But how strong is he really?
The average Atlantean is able to lift up to two tons, significantly more than the average human. Aquaman possesses superhuman as well as super-Atlantean strength, displaying the ability to lift in excess of 100 tons. However, in one instance Aquaman managed to throw a transatlantic ocean liner (weighing approximately 160,000 tons) across a great distance. As with most of his other powers, his superhuman strength is determined by how hydrated he is.
9. Water Wraith
Anyone who has read comics or seen a comic book movie can attest to the fact that comic books tend to have complex, convoluted, and intricate storylines. One such story arc, in particular, JLA: The Obsidian Age, involved Aquaman and Atlantis being sent 3,000 years back in time, where they were ultimately enslaved by the League of Ancients.
Of course, the Justice League discovered their fellow Leaguer’s disappearance and traveled back in time to rescue him. When they arrived, they learn that the sorceress Gamemnae had trapped Aquaman’s consciousness in a pool of water. After freeing the rest of the future Atlanteans, the Justice League launched their final assault on Gamemnae.
Their efforts proved fruitless, though, for she reappeared in the future — and she attempted to enslave the world by causing a global drought. In order to stop her, Zatanna channeled Aquaman’s consciousness into the oceans. Aquaman quite literally became a living body of water, and he used his newfound power to defeat Gamemnae.
8. Superhuman Hearing and Sonar
One of the most common superpowers in the comic book world is superhuman strength, which Aquaman exhibits, but another is superhuman hearing. Some characters are defined by their level of hearing, like Superman and Daredevil. However, there are those, like Aquaman, who are capable of hearing the faintest of sounds when they are in their own environment. In Aquaman’s case — the sea.
Being a superhuman, Arthur Curry possesses superhuman senses, such as enhanced sight (which we’ve covered), smell, and of course, sound. However, since he’s also an Atlantean, his senses have been exponentially amplified, so much so that he has developed a form of sonar and can even hear the heartbeat of someone inside a submarine.
Furthermore, his sonar senses have allowed him to react to nearby enemies by detecting water movement, though we expect this ability to come in handy when his enhanced vision is rendered ineffective at substantial depths.
Along with superhuman strength and superhuman senses, perhaps the most common and sought after superpower in the comic book world is the power of flight. Popularized by Superman during the Silver Age of Comics, countless superheroes — in both DC Comics and Marvel Comics — have since gained the power of flight, including Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and surprisingly, Aquaman.
It’s been contentious whether or not Aquaman can actually fly, especially since he’s an aquatic-themed superhero. Why would he need to fly, and how would he even do so? Those are two questions that come to mind when thinking about the notion of Aquaman flying.
However, thanks to being blessed by Poseidon, the God of the Sea, Aquaman has since gained the power of unaided flight in the recently formed Prime Earth — the universe created as a result of Flashpoint and the New 52 reboot. Despite having the highly-coveted superpower, he’s only displayed the ability on a few occasions.
6. Superhuman Jumping
Whether Aquaman can actually fly or not is something that will remain debatable until an absolute answer is provided by DC Comics. Until then, there is something similar that we know Aquaman certainly can do: leap across great distances.
When it comes to swimming, no one is faster than Aquaman. However, on land, things are much different. To keep up with his fellow Leaguers, Aquaman utilizes a superhuman jump. He can leap unknown distances at hypersonic speeds, generating so much force that he’s potentially able to capsize a boat simply by landing on it. This power isn’t limited to land, though. Coupled with his unmatched speed in the water, Aquaman is capable of launching himself up to 60 feet out of the water.
5. Superhuman Speed
Everyone knows that Aquaman is unmatched when it comes to swimming underwater, where his speed can exceed more than 100 miles-per-hour (or approximately 87 knots), sometimes going as fast as approximately 7,000 miles-per-hour. Different writers mean different powers, though he’s certainly slower when it comes to swimming above the surface.
Although his powers are primarily utilized when he’s in the water, he doesn’t lose that superhuman speed when he’s on land. Sure, he can’t run as fast as other superheroes like Superman or the Flash, but he’s fast enough that he can dodge bullets and other projectiles, even avoid lightning strikes — though with his nigh-indestructibility, he doesn’t really need to.
Unfortunately, there are limitations to his powers. Since he cannot remain out of the water indefinitely, he needs to return to the sea in order to recharge, so to speak– similar to how Superman recharges by harnessing radiation from the yellow sun.
4. Heal People
Aquaman is no mere superhero; he is also the ruler of Atlantis, the largest country in the world, which means he usually has a lot on his plate. After succumbing to depression and taking a leave of absence from duties, Aquaman returned to fight the villain Charybdis alongside Aqualad.
Unfortunately, during the fight, Aquaman temporarily lost the ability to command sea life, and Charybdis took advantage of the opportunity to permanently hurt the sea king by submerging Aquaman’s hand into a pool of water filled with piranhas, thus dismembering him. Soon after, Aquaman equipped a harpoon to his arm as an indefinite replacement for his missing hand.
Not much later, the Lady of the Lake — who is the overseer of the metaphysical realm known as The Secret Sea — bestowed upon Aquaman a magical water hand known as the Waterbearer Hand. Its powers varied greatly, but we know it provided the aquatic superhero with the ability to heal others. We’re unsure, though, how effective its healing properties were.
3. Open Portals
As previously mentioned, the Waterbearer Hand endowed Aquaman with numerous magical abilities, of which healing others was one. Another was the ability to open interdimensional portals, something we assume would come in handy (no pun intended) when dealing with extraterrestrial and extradimensional threats.
Aquaman can travel at extraordinary speeds in the water and can leap great distances while on land. However, it would take the sea king quite some time to travel across the planet, not to mention to another world. To do that, he would likely require assistance from either Superman or Green Lantern. It’s in situations like those in which the Waterbearer Hand’s ability to instantaneously teleport Aquaman is practicable.
Though it would certainly be exciting to see on the big screen, we doubt we’ll be seeing Aquaman open interdimensional portals in the upcoming Justice League movie. It would, however, allow the League to preemptively strike any potential threat.
2. Control The Weather
It should be evidently clear by now that Aquaman is much more powerful than most people (even comic book readers) realize. He may not be a god, but the Aquatic Ace has been seen having godlike powers. We know that Aquaman is able to control the actual sea — not just sea life — but he’s also able to control the weather.
Aquaman can’t control the weather like Thor (calling down lightning or producing clouds, which he could only do with Poseidon’s blessing). Rather, he could create and control tidal waves. Furthermore, the power is not one of his inherent abilities. Instead, it was bestowed upon him with the Waterbearer Hand, along with the abilities to heal people and open interdimensional portals.
Regrettably, when Aquaman was resurrected in the Blackest Night story arc he returned with both his hands, meaning no more Waterbearer Hand. Nevertheless, the power has since been retconned with the New 52 reboot in 2011.
When looking at the most skilled sorcerers in the DC Universe, Aquaman would be found nowhere on that list. However, he has exhibited small feats of magic over the years, thanks to being an Atlantean and being blessed by Poseidon as well as the Lady of the Lake.
For instance, when he was empowered by Poseidon, Aquaman gained the ability to manipulate the weather (rain, wind, lightning), produce bolts of lightning from his trident, and teleport anywhere on the planet as long as there is a nearby water source. Furthermore, Poseidon’s blessing augmented Aquaman’s inherent defenses against magic, primarily against Thule magic.
In addition to the various aforementioned abilities, the Waterbearer Hand bestowed upon Aquaman granted him the further defense measures as well as the power to shoot jets of water from his hand, alter the shape and density of the hand, and even dehydrate someone enough to kill them.