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Aquaman Can Talk to Fish and That's OK

Recent interviews with Aquaman director James Wan have confirmed that The King of The Seven Seas will talk to fish in the upcoming Warner Brothers film - and there is nothing wrong with that.

Aquaman and his "aqua-telepathy" have long been the subject of mockery in popular culture. From jokes about his relationships with his finned friends to wisecracks about how utterly useless the ability to communicate with sea-life is in a combat situation, everything insulting that can be said about Aquaman has been said repeatedly. Many serious comic book fans speak dismissively of Aquaman and can't believe that he'd been given his own movie before we get movies like The Flash. Even the first trailer for Teen Titans Go! To The Movies ended with the tagline "Because if Aquaman can get a movie, anyone can!"

Related: Aquaman Reveals What 'Unite The Seven' ACTUALLY Means

This character assassination seems oddly out of place in an environment where Ant-Man has two hit movies under his size-changing belt. It makes little sense that the superhero who shrinks and talks to ants is afforded more respect than Aquaman. Granting that ants can do a lot more damage beyond ruining a picnic, the dangers posed by certain species of fish are far greater. Just ask anyone who watches Shark Week and then ask them if they'd like the power to command a Great White!

Regardless, the fact remains that Aquaman is far more than just one superpower. He is super-strong, bullet-proof and capable enough as a warrior to fight Wonder Woman to a standstill in a one-on-one fight. This also ignores his access to advanced Atlantean weaponry and the magical might he commands through artifacts like The Trident of Poseidon. Yet the vast majority believe that all he can do is talk to fish.

Talking To Fish Was The Core Of Aquaman Jokes

Popular culture is awash with jokes about how lame Aquaman is and most of them centered around his ability to talk to fish. Perhaps the most famous of these was a running gag on the series Entourage. Long before the creation of the DC Extended Universe, the show joked about an Aquaman movie helmed by legendary director James Cameron and the efforts of actor Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) to win the lead role. The joke, of course, was the idea that James Cameron would ever have anything to do with such a ludicrous project or that young actors would be fighting for the chance to play Aquaman.

Jokes about Aquaman are also a frequent occurrence on the Adult Swim comedy series Robot Chicken. The show has seen several specials devoted exclusively to DC Comics, with the first special's main plot being devoted to Aquaman joining The Legion of Doom after becoming fed up with the total lack of respect he received from his fellow Superfriends because "all you do is talk to fish." This abuse included Robin using his magical trident to clean toilets and Martian Manhunter preparing two of his lobster friends for dinner.

Strangely enough, Family Guy has probably been the most respectful of all the comedies to portray Aquaman in a joking manner. Apart from one skit based around Aquaman summoning a fish to get him a drink because he was too lazy to get off the couch, none of Aquaman's appearances on the show were based around his power to talk to fish. Ironically, Peter Griffin and his friends much preferred Aquaman to Namor the Sub-Mariner when they met both heroes while serving in the US Coast Guard precisely because of his aqua-telepathy. They cheered the acrobatic tricks Aquaman had his fish friends perform for their amusement, while Namor weakly protested that he was the superior superhero because he could fly.

"Talking To Fish" Is A Total Misunderstanding Of Aquaman

It's a gross oversimplification to say that Aquaman "talks to fish." Fish brains are not complex enough to comprehend language or basic ideas beyond "eat" or "hide". Fish also have poor memories, as any child who remembers Dory from Finding Nemo can tell you.

Aquaman's telepathy is based around a unique focus upon the most basic parts of the brain. This allows him to move primitive aquatic creatures by taking control of their bodies, manipulating the parts of the brain that focus on primitive instincts and reflexes. It would be far more accurate to say that Aquaman commands fish rather than talking to them. He can, however, have simple conversations with more intelligent water-based mammals, such as whales or dolphins.

Related: 15 Powers You Didn't Know Aquaman Had

It's also worth mentioning that, while he primarily uses his telepathic abilities on sea life, given where he usually operates, Aquaman's telepathy is not limited to aquatic creatures. He's been shown to be as capable of controlling birds as fish, commanding seagulls to peck at the eyes of an enemy when he needed a distraction. He can also attack the basic mental operations of sentient life-forms. The super-speedster villain Züm learned this fact painfully in the Justice League of America comic book, after mocking Aquaman as only being able to talk to fish, only to suddenly find himself having a seizure after Aquaman attacked his basal ganglia - the part of the brain that manages motor control.

Page 2 of 2: The DCEU Aquaman Movie Is Going All In... On Fish Powers And More

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Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
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