With Aquaman, the DCEU has now fully introduced Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry, but how does he compare to the comics? Unlike some of the DCEU's previous entries, Aquaman is a win for DC Films. It may not be as critically acclaimed as Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, but James Wan's Aquaman is a bright and fun journey that expands the world of the DCEU in several exciting ways. Perhaps the biggest win of Aquaman, though, is how it turns a character that's widely been regarded as a joke into a charismatic, entertaining, and powerful hero. There's rarely been a superhero performance that is more infectiously joyous as Momoa playing Arthur Curry.
Yet just because Momoa's Aquaman is fun, that doesn't necessarily mean he's the most accurate portrayal of the character. Even though he's been reduced to someone who only "talks to fish" in pop culture, Aquaman has had a long history in the comics. Arthur Curry has been through a lot, but none of those adventures or reboots has made him exactly like the character who appears in Wan's film. Momoa's Aquaman is a bit of an amalgamation of several different eras of Aquaman's history.
This approach to the character is an interesting one. It manages to honor what preceded it while still crafting it's own path for the Justice League's most mocked hero. The questions remain, though, what are Aquaman and Momoa pulling from the source material and what is being made up for the film? Here we're to explore those changes - highlighting what the movie takes from the comics, what they do themselves, and how the future of Arthur might be influenced by the DCEU.
- This Page: Aquaman's Comic Origins and Character Versus The DCEU's Cinematic Version
- Next Page: How Aquaman's Powers Compare & How Jason Momoa is Influencing the Future
Aquaman's (New 52) Comic Book Origin
If there's a comic series that's closest to the DCEU version of Aquaman, its the version created by writer Geoff Johns for DC Comics' New 52 reboot. When DC Comics rebooted their universe in 2011, a lot of characters got brand-new origins. The beginning of this Aquaman's story is very familiar to movie fans. Just like in the Aquaman movie, Arthur Curry is the son of a lighthouse keeper named Tom Curry and the Queen of Altantis, Atlanna. Atlanna and Tom meet by chance and fall in love, eventually producing their one and only son, Arthur. Soon after Arthur's birth, however, Atlanna began to feel guilty about abandoning her throne. And so, she returned to the sea, leaving her husband and son behind. Tom and Arthur lived alone but in relative peace until Arthur began to exhibit powers from his mother's Atlantean heritage.
Confused and alone, Tom took Arthur to his scientist friend, Dr. Stephen Shin (who' played by Randall Park in the Aquaman movie). Shin helped Arthur develop his superpowers until he betrayed both father and son by attempting to go public with the scientific discovery of Arthur's biology. Shin hired Aquaman villain Black Manta to obtain a vial of Arthur's blood by force, and, in the struggle, Tom Curry died of a heart attack. Alone and enraged, a young Arthur tried hunting down Black Manta. Tragically, though, he killed Black Manta's father - not the man himself - thus turning the two in mortal enemies. An emotionally destroyed Arthur was eventually found by his mother closest Atlantean adviser, Vulko. And it was Vulko who brought Arthur to Atlantis, where Arthur took the throne and not only became the King of Atlantis but eventually the Aquaman as well, not to mention a founding member of the Justice League.
What The Aquaman Movie Changes
The beginning of the cinematic and comic book versions of Arthur Curry's life are very similar; it's when Altanna (Nicole Kidman) leaves Tom (Temuera Morrison) and Arthur Curry that things begin to diverge. While Altanna leaves of her own free will (albeit grudgingly) in the comics, she's forced back to Altantis for an arranged marriage in the movie. Altanna is made much more of a sympathetic and tragic figure for the movie, but the biggest impact is how this change impacts Arthur. In the comics, Aquaman is a bit of a reserved and internally struggling figure. The Aquaman movie makes Arthur much more boisterous and lively. He's still hurting - and he's struggling to find a home between sea and land - but he manifests that outwardly by drinking and fighting.
Aquaman portrays Arthur's usual introversion in other ways as well. Momoa's version of the character still wants to help people, but he doesn't want the recognition or responsibility of being a named hero. Aquaman is a name that social media lays upon Arthur Curry; it's not a moniker he takes upon himself and most of the movie consists of Amber Heard's Mera trying to convince Arthur that he is a king. It's true that the comic version of Arthur has a complicated relationship with his monarch position - he has even voluntarily abdicated the throne on occasion - yet, overall, the comic version of Arthur Curry has a more kingly disposition as opposed to the movie version, where he's very much a warrior learning how to lead.
How Arthur learned to become a warrior is something he partly shares with his comic counterpart, too, except the movie trades Aquaman's mentor of Dr. Shin for Vulko. Aquaman is a little fuzzy in when Vulko started training Arthur, possibly due to Vulko's scenes being cut from Justice League. However, the Aquaman movie does confirm that Vulko taught Arthur how to fight as a young boy, and, by telling him his mother was executed by Atlantis, Vulko sets Arthur off on the path to eventually becoming a king... and a hero. Dr. Shin, though, has no known connection to Aquaman.
Page 2 of 2: Aquaman Power Comparison and His Comics/DCEU Future
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019