Mera, the Queen of the underwater nation known as Atlantis, made her comic book debut way back in 1963. She first appeared as an exiled queen from another dimension, but she grew to be an Aquaman staple. Just eleven issues after her comic book debut, Mera married Aquaman, and the two embarked on a rather rocky relationship.
Though she debuted more than 50 years ago, 2018 marked a year of firsts for the character. She got a major live action role in WB’s Aquaman movie, played by Amber Heard. Mera also got her first solo comic book. A miniseries, Mera: Queen of Atlantis ran for six issues at the beginning of the year. The series fleshed out her background and gave readers more insight into the strange world she came from.
Many comic book readers took to calling her Aquawoman over the years, but she’s a hero in her own right, and one who uses her own name instead of any codenames. She’s got an arsenal of abilities that rivals her king, and she’s certainly no one’s sidekick.
With that in mind, we’ve put together what you should know about her abilities, her anatomy, and some of the strange comic book happenings that effected them. Take a look through the 30 Strange Details About Mera’s Body.
30 She Wasn’t Born On Earth
When Mera first began her comic book journey with Aquaman, she claimed to be from another place: Dimension Aqua. For years, readers believed the princess was from another dimension entirely. That wasn’t entirely true.
Instead, she was from a pocket of extradimensional space. Inside the Bermuda Triangle, a wall of water shielded the pocket that existed outside of Earth’s normal space-time rules. That extradimensional pocket was actually an ancient penal colony for Atlantean separatists, completely forgotten about in the modern day. Mera was born the princess of Xebel. It was there she trained to become a powerful warrior.
29 She Has Super Strength
For some comic book characters, like Hercules or Jessica Jones, their only real super power is their incredible strength. Their other skills are a result of their impressive musculature. Other characters, like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman to name a few, have strength as just one small part of their arsenal -- and so does Mera.
Atlanteans in general appear to be stronger than the average human. Arthur Curry is stronger than even the average Atlantean, and so is Mera. In the comics, she’s cracked skulls when fighting the species known as the Trench, and her punch is described as crashing “like tidal waves.” We wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of her fist.
28 She Was A Red Lantern
During the craziness of the “Blackest Night” storyline, Mera found that most of her former allies were Black Lanterns. That is to say, they were reanimated corpses going after heroes. Aquaman and Wonder Woman were among them.
In order to fight them, Mera needed a bit more power. She became the temporary leader of the Red Lantern Corps, drawing on her own deep seated anger at the tragedies in her life to embrace the power. Red Lantern rings are, after all, powered by rage. It was almost too much for her as she went into cardiac arrest near the end of her time in the arc. It took the power of multiple people to save her life.
27 She Can Channel Electricity
As far as we’ve seen, electricity channeling isn’t a power of Mera’s in the comics, or in live action. Instead, this is one power that’s specific to her animated form. It’s only found in the cartoon series Young Justice.
This version of Mera has eel-like markings on her arms similar to Aqualad’s. If you think that has something to do with electricity (like electric eels), you’d be right. Mera uses her tattoos as a way to channel the electricity through her arms. She can produce energy blasts as a result. Her few appearances in the franchise, however, primarily rely on her hard water power from the comics.
26 Only Atlantean Metal Can Pierce Her Skin
This particular point might not be entirely true in the comics, but in Aquaman on the big screen, we do learn something about Atlantean biology. During a fight, no swords or knives are able to pierce Arthur’s skin because they aren’t made of Atlantean steel.
Now, Arthur is the son of an Atlantean and an average human, and he still retains this kind of durability. With Mera also hailing from Atlantis, and, presumably, having both Atlantean parents, we can surmise that only Atlantean metals can pierce her skin as well.
25 Xebels Have Unique Survival Methods
Because of where Mera grew up, there were certain restrictions on her people. Stuck in a pocket dimension, nothing could enter or leave it. Strangely, because it resided in the midst of the Bermuda Triangle, ships that were “lost at sea” at the dimensional barrier could still sink below the surface.
Mera was said to be the best scavenger of her people. She placed the wrecked boats in areas they could be of use for shelter for her people and found supplies they might need. The Secret Origins comic also implied that the Xebels used the human beings on the boat as a food source. It has, however, never been confirmed if Mera did the same.
24 She Can Manipulate Water
Unique to those Atlantean descendants from Xebel is Mera’s ability to control water. Called hydrokinesis, the ability involves being able to move water to one’s will. The control takes extreme focus.
Comic book readers eventually learned that not everyone in Xebel could do it. Instead, this ability was taught to those of the royal family as a form of magic. Mera’s use of it is prolific, but controlling large amounts of water is so tiring that she can only do it for short periods of time. She is, however, strong enough that she can use hydrokinesis to wash an entire army out to sea.
23 Lead Weakened Her
Back in the 1960s, it seemed like every superhero had an arbitrary weakness. A lot of the time, it was a specific metallic element. Mera’s weakness during the era was lead, shown during her very first comic book entry Aquaman #11.
While Mera was on the run from her enemies, Aquaman and his then-sidekick Aqualad helped her escape. To Mera’s surprise, she couldn’t use her water-manipulating powers and had to rely on them for help for much of the issue. As it turned out, when she saved the duo from an exploding tanker, she got oil on her arm. The oil contained a high percentage of lead, rendering her powers inert.
22 She Is A Twin
Mera certainly seemed like one of a kind when she, quite literally, swam into Aquaman’s life in his eleventh issue. Just over 10 issues later, it turned out she wasn’t the only female royal from Dimension Aqua.
Her sister Hila turned out to be a bit of a rebel, breaking laws and keeping the company of men who liked to control people’s minds. What’s more, she and Mera were identical twins. Aquaman only discovered Mera had a sister when Hila and her beau attacked him and he couldn’t tell Hila and Mera apart.
21 Atlanteans Can’t Tell Mera And Hila Apart
In the modern day, Hila isn’t just Mera’s twin sister and a little rebellious; she’s also something of a villain. Hila took on the name Siren, and she very much plays the part, seducing people into doing exactly what she wants.
For several months, while Aquaman was busy using the power of Poseidon to save colliding universes, Hila posed as Mera in Atlantis. Hila ruled as queen with even Mera’s guards believing Mera was still in place. They didn’t notice how different her attitude was, only that the same body was in charge. Arthur only discovered Hila replaced Mera when the two spent the night together after their relationship had already become strained.
20 She Fought Monsters In The Great Pit
If early readers of the Aquaman comics doubted Mera’s strength or skills, they got a taste of what she could do near the end of the first series. In an attempt to save the life of her son, she had to journey back to her original home to retrieve a mysterious “healing device.”
Unfortunately, when Mera arrived, she found that those who despised her threw her belongings, and those of the chief scientist into the Great Pit. It was there that creatures called Elementals lived. She had to fight each of them as they represented the four main elements. Despite the hardship, she bested them all alone and retrieved the device without even a scratch.
19 She Wrestled With Her Mental Health
Following the loss of her son, Mera spiraled into depression. Aquaman wasn’t there when she attempted to save their son’s life, and he only showed back up in Atlantis during the middle of his funeral. In a 1980s miniseries, writers revealed that Mera’s grief was so severe that she was confined to an asylum for her safety.
Mera’s anger was eventually revealed to be more than just loss, however. She also dealt with her split loyalties to Atlantis and Xebel, her love for Aquaman, and her guilt over that love when not only was she supposed to be his assassin, but he focused more on heroics than he did his own family.
18 She Uses Telepathy
One of the hallmarks of the Aquaman character is that he can use a combination of marine lifes’ native languages and telepathy to communicate with them. It’s often seen as unique to the character, but he’s not the only one underwater who can communicate with his mind.
While Mera can’t communicate with lower level aquatic animals, she can telepathically communicate with other people in the water. She and Aquaman even communicate across multiple oceans when he’s fighting an enemy in one place underwater and she’s fighting an enemy in another.
17 The First Live Action Mera Was Played By Elena Satine
Despite Mera appearing in comics and animation since the 1960s, she didn’t get a live action form until 2010. Mera debuted in the television series Smallville, where she was played by Elena Satine. She looked very much like her comic book counterpart: tall with bright red hair and a penchant for the color green. She wore a green bathing suit in civilian form, and a green wetsuit while on vigilante missions.
When Mera appeared in the final season of Smallville, it wasn’t as a royal on the run like in the comics. Instead, she was a native Atlantean who met Arthur Curry and helped him discover his own heritage before she married him.
16 She Survived An Epic Wound
After Mera was kept under lock and key for months and another ruler stepped in to watch over Atlantis, Arthur found out about her instability the hard way. When he returned to Atlantis and saved it from attacking jellyfish, Mera was released from her quarters, and attacked him.
Trying not to hurt her, Aquaman still ended up impaling her on a piece of debris by mistake. He was all set to give her a royal burial, but she surprised him by sitting up in her coffin and revealing that it missed all of her vital organs. After all, her organs were in completely different places than humans organs. It only made her realize how little he knew about her.
15 Thanatos Brainwashed Her
Following a rift in the relationship with her husband, Mera decided to return to her home. While there, she ended up brainwashed by the current queen. After defeating her, Mera decided her place was in Atlantis with Aquaman after all, but her brainwashing troubles didn’t stop.
Instead, she was lured into a region called the Netherworld where an “evil clone” of Aquaman named Thanatos brainwashed her into being his wife. While there, she had a son named AJ. Eventually, with the help of the real Aquaman, Mera and AJ were both able to break free from the brainwashing.
14 She Spent Some Time On Ice
Atlan was the original ruler of Atlantis, as his name might suggest. Thousands of years later, he returned as a villain known as the Dead King. He didn’t take too kindly to any of the people in charge of the various parts of Atlantis.
When Mera returned to Xebel to warn them that the Dead King is on his way, she doesn’t get there with much time to spare. He returns right after her, freezing both Mera and Xebel’s current ruler in ice. In fact, he freezes the entire area, leaving all of Xebel one giant ice cube until Aquaman shows up.
13 She Can Form Hard Water Objects
Mera doesn’t only have the ability of hydrokinesis when it comes to manipulating water. She can transform water itself into “hard water” objects. This means that when she changes the shape of a ball of water into a blade or a missile, she also hardens the water so that it really packs a punch.
While all of the members of Xebel royalty learn the ability to magically manipulate water, creating hard water objects appears to be more difficult that simply creating a wave. It’s one of the many things Mera receives praise for during her training, though she’s also warned not to rely on her power too much in a confrontation.
12 Water Can Heal Her
Many superheroes and villain have some degree of an advanced healing factor. The most extreme might be Wolverine and Deadpool on the Marvel side of things. However, Smallville gave their version of Mera a unique way to heal her injuries.
One of the powers that Atlanteans seem to have in the Smallville mythology is the ability to heal themselves. They can’t do it spontaneously, though. Instead, Mera is able to heal her injuries once she’s exposed to water. We bet she saved a lot of money on doctor bills considering she did her best to always be around a body of water.
11 She’s Extremely Fast
Because Mera spent the first two decades of her life underwater, she swam long before she had to walk on solid ground. She’s much more adept with her muscles when they’re used underwater instead of above it.
As a result, she can swim very fast. She might not be quite as fast as only a handful of other characters, like Aquaman and Atlan himself. Her speeds can reach up to Mach 5. This means that she can travel about 3,830 miles per in an hour when she’s submerged. To put that in perspective, it would only take her about two hours to swim from the coast of South America to the coast of the African continent.
10 She Dehydrated In Atlantean Prison
When the Dead King took over Atlantis, Mera found herself in a world of trouble. Though she fought valiantly to remain in control for the good of the people, she wound up in prison while the long gone Atlan sought to rule over the Seven Seas again.
Mera spent six months in an Atlantean prison as a result. In order to keep her from fighting back or being strong enough to take on her guards, the Dead King ordered her to be kept for long periods of time without any water. This left her weak and with no means to defend herself, as she was only able to rehydrate when she was finally allowed water again.
9 She Can Create Tidal Waves Without Trying
When Mera was declared Queen in Exile, it led to her own miniseries, Mera: Queen of Atlantis. The events of the series kicked off with stories in both Aquaman and Justice League comics. In Aquaman, a “circle of thorns” was placed around Atlantis to keep her out. In Justice League, she discovered that Arthur was still inside, and she tried to break back in.
While swimming in the middle of the ocean at the border, Mera spent days unleashing the full might of her power against the barrier. Her strength didn’t break the barrier. What it did, though, was cause tidal waves all over the world. The Justice League had to come stop her.
8 She Once Lost Her Ability To Breathe Underwater
Mera has frequently been the target of magical attacks. One use of a magical artifact that was supposed to help her even had foul effects on the queen. When she needed a way to get through a magical barrier and into an occupied Atlantis, she procured a necklace that was supposed to do the trick. Since it was created by a sorcerer, if the necklace was damaged, it wouldn’t exactly do its job.
It was damaged during her trip through the barrier, and Mera found that the necklace robbed her of some of her abilities. She found manipulating water difficult and she lost her ability to breathe water as a result. The experience left her vulnerable to a kidnapping by King Shark.
7 Amber Heard Trained Six Days A Week For Mera
Because Mera relies on her hydokinesis so much in the comics, fans might have thought she wouldn’t do a lot of physical fighting in the Aquaman live action movie. However, that wasn’t the case. Amber Heard had to do a lot of training before filming began.
She kept up a physical regime to improve her strength and stamina for more than four months before filming started. Six days a week, she made sure she would be able to keep up with Mera’s fight scenes, wire work, and swimming. She and her Aquaman costar Yahya Abdul-Mateen II even trained together.
6 She Once Became A Fish Monster
During the events of the “Metal” storyline, different versions of Bruce Wayne across realities were revealed as evil. One of them was Bryce Wayne, a genderbent version of the character known as the Drowned.
While the Justice League was trying to find a way to stop all of the evil Batmen, the Drowned turned the people of Atlantis into strange fish monsters. Mera didn’t escape the change, unfortunately, and it happened right in front of Aquaman while he was just outside of Atlantis. The change made Mera a (brief) adversary yet again.
5 Her Hydrokinesis Once Became Toxikinesis
When Mera became a fish monster, she didn’t maintain all of her previous powers. Yes, she was still strong and fast, but her hydrokinesis transformed into something else. Instead of simply being able to move water or create hard water objects, she could change water at its very core, creating a whole new liquid substance. She could actually cause water to become poisonous.
Of course, after the events of the “Metal” arc and Mera was back to her old self, she lost that ability. It’s probably a good thing as she was already pretty powerful without it.
4 She Can Remove Water From Someone’s Body
Mera’s water manipulation depends on a source. She can’t manufacture water, but can manipulate what’s already there. That’s why being in the water makes her so much more powerful. If she isn’t in a body of water, though, she can pull water from the nearest source, even if that source is a person.
This is a trick she does with heroic efforts in the Aquaman movie, but she also uses it as a weapon during combat in the comics. When fighting Orm for the throne in Queen of Atlantis, Mera begins to remove every drop of water from his body to dry him out, forcing him to submit, even though they’re on the ocean floor.
3 She Could Share Her Vision With Every Life Force
In the days of Poseidon, the Clarion was created. It was a crown of immense power that had part of the power from Poseidon’s triton hidden in it. Originally, it was supposed to be used as a way to communicate with all life on Earth, though over time, it became twisted into a weapon.
Mera was tasked with using it when she teamed up with Orm to take on a powerful enemy. Though Mera was really after another component -- the Tear of Extinction -- she was able to share visions with every life force on Earth when she used the Clarion. It opened her mind to the world around her.
2 She Dehydrates Quickly
Spending her life primarily under water, Mera, like all Atlanteans, is used to being properly hydrated and being able to use water for her abilities, at all times. As a result, she needs water to survive on land as well.
This idea might seem obvious -- after all, all life needs water to survive on land. Smallville was able to highlight this idea well when the production team had the skin of Mera’s hands begin to dry out while in captivity. Her need for water is one reason fans have been perplexed by the sequence in the Sahara Desert in the Aquaman movie. Mera and Arthur make a long journey with no water to speak of.
1 Mera’s Underwater Movie Scenes Are Actually Dry
Aquaman might look like it was all actually shot in a water tank, but that’s not entire true. While some swimming sequences were, much of the movie was actually shot on an extremely dry soundstage.
For the underwater sequences, Amber Heard revealed that the actors filmed on wires with production members helping to pull them across the stage to simulate underwater movement. The actors had to be kept extremely dry for the visual effects process, even using a special mattifying makeup. Heard even called her experience on as Mera in Aquaman the “driest” of her movies.
Did you learn a bit more about Aquaman’s Mera? Or were you already a Mera expert? Let us know if there’s anything we missed in the comments!