Top 10 Aquaman Superpowers Explained in Detail

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Poor Aquaman has been universally laughed at in the comic-book community. We can credit this to a horrible portrayal of him in the 1970s Superfriends cartoon. However, he is really one of the coolest and strongest heroes out there. Here’s why:

10. Portals and Flight

From Aquaman, Volume 1 Issue #46 (2015)

As King of the Sea, the ability to flymight not be the first superpower you might think Aquaman wields. However, he is clearly shown flying, or at least hovering above the water, in the 2011 Aquaman timeline. It isn’t fully known where he got this power in the most recent comic storyline (called new-52). However, the best guess is that his trident is the culprit. Given to him by Poseidon, God of the Sea, it isn’t unthinkable that the trident is capable of such things.

Of the Justice League characters, Aquaman’s ability to fly leaves only Batman and the Flash without the inborn ability. They make up for it with cool gadgets though. In the movie, it would be nice to know Aquaman can keep up with the others on his own if they need to travel a great distance over land (or into the sky).

Another way he could foreseeably keep up with the others is through a cool ability given to him in a different storyline. After losing a hand to a school of piranhas, he was endowed with the Waterbearer Hand. This hand was literally made of water and gave him some really cool gifts. One of those gifts was the ability to create inter-dimensional portals. Very convenient indeed, since he often has to travel around the world under the sea. Even more convenient if he can help his Justice League friends to instantly appear wherever they need to be.   

9. Impenetrable Skin

Aquaman looks human, and in most of the storylines he is half-human. The other half of him, however, is Atlantean, or people of the sea. Humans aren’t supposed to dive more than 130 feet below the ocean’s surface without tons of equipment. This is because they will literally be crushed under the intense pressure of the water.

Aquaman, Volume 7 Issue #1

Aquaman, on the other hand, is built for deep sea diving. In the new-52 comics, he is even shown to be bulletproof and otherwise really hard to penetrate. It’s doubtful he’s quite as hard to hurt as Superman is, but he’s not far behind. 

8. Super Strength and Speed

This makes sense scientifically as well. Just like his extra strong skin is necessary to survive the depths of the ocean, so are extra strong muscles. The further down someone goes, the more water is pressing on top of you. Aquaman’s strong skin helps him go down deeper than any human can, but it can’t help him get back up to the surface.

In order to walk along the Mariana Trench, for instance, which is the deepest part of Earth’s ocean at 200km (Somewhere east of the Philippines) Aquaman would need to be able to lift a minimum of roughly 80 tons to just move his legs. To carry anything, he’d have to be exponentially stronger.

Superfriends, 1973

His swimming speed isn’t fully known, but in the new-52 comics, he is at least able to swim faster than a hypersonic jet. This gives him a minimum swimming speed of roughly Mach 5.

7. Leg day

From Aquaman, Volume 7 Issue #1

Even in storylines in which Aquaman is unable to fly (which, I’ll admit, is most of them), he is still incredibly strong as recently discussed. In all of the stories, he is at least strong enough to leap over buildings, and even “surf” across things in the sky.

6. Sonar and Night Vision

Leaked still from the upcoming Aquaman movie

This is another one of those scientifically obvious powers. Well, as scientific as comic books can get, anyway. In order to see at great depths, where the sunlight can’t even begin to touch, he has to be able to see in the dark, and through the murk. In the DCEU movies, Jason Momoa’s take on the character even has clouded-looking eyes to signify how amazing they are.

This in-the-dark vision translates to night vision on land, which is something not even Batman, the dark knight, can boast without gadgets. He also has the uncanny ability to use sound to see. This echolocation or sonar is also something batlike that Batman just can’t handle. In fact, James Wan – director of Aquaman – has some words about how this might work in the movie, explaining how the sound will be human-speech, but with an underlying “ping” or whale-like sound.

5. Fish Talk

Arguably, Aquaman’s most well-known power is his ability to converse with and control fish. Okay, it’s not even an argument, it *is* the most well-known power in his arsenal.

What most people don’t realize is that they imagine the power wrong. He doesn’t exactly “talk” to them in the traditional sense, nor does he really communicate with them telepathically. It’s more that he can persuade them to do the things he needs them to do. And as their King, they obey.

In fact, when asked in the Justice League movie by Bruce Wayne if he talks to fish, he responds “the water does the talking.” Though confusing to non-Aquamen, this gives it a slightly more mystical and instinctual feel than just speaking their language.

In Aquaman, Volume 7 Issue #23, Aquaman uses his motivational powers to convince a giant octopus to help him defeat Scavenger and defend Atlantis.

4.  Human Persuasion

From JLA, Volume 1 issue #4

In an extension of the marine-telepathy he uses to bid sea creatures to do what he asks, he is also able to tap into the base nature of land creatures. Because we evolved from creatures of the sea, we have remnants of whatever it is in our brains, and he can use that to persuade.

Called “Access to the Clear,” which basically translates to animal empathy, he has used this ability to cause ZüM to have a seizure. It is not known how strong his domination of human brains can reach, and it is likely that even Aquaman himself isn’t sure how strong this power really is.

3. Healing

The Lady of the Lake gave the Waterbearer Hand to Aquaman after his hand was eaten by piranhas (Charybdis used a machine to make Aquaman unable to “speak” to marine life for a short while). This gave him tons of cool powers, such as the portals I talked about in earlier. It also allows him to change what his hand looks like, turning it into a sword, or back into a liquid at will. He can even use it to scry or look at things far away.

From Aquaman, Volume 6 Issue #14

The coolest power it gives him, though, is the power of healing. He uses this power to cure Black Manta of his mental illness, which allows them to team up to defeat the Thirst. The Thirst, coincidentally, is also a part of the Waterbearer Hand but comes from evil or angry use.

Black Manta, who is a villain at heart, ends up doing what he normally does, and turns on Aquaman in the end. Now, however, Black Manta’s mind has a little bit more sanity than he started with.

2. Weather

From Justice League #17 (2017)

While the Waterbearer hand gives Aquaman quite a few awesome powers, nothing is quite the same as his trident.  With it, Aquaman can control water itself, create storms, and unleash lightning bolts. Though not quite the same as Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir, the Trident’s storm powers are nothing to scoff at. He uses the wrath of the sea this way to help the Justice League battle the Thule before the evil mystics overturned his throne in Atlantis.

1. Godly empowerment

At least once in the DC comics, Aquaman was imbued with the power of the gods. He was given access to huge amounts of magic through a bargain with Gods of the Sea, which changed him into something else. It changed him into a “Dweller of the Deep.”

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Volume 1 #41

San Diego sinks into the ocean, and due to an experiment gone wrong, it’s inhabitants are transformed into water-breathers, complete with gills. This makes them unable to breathe regular air, and they are forced to live underwater. Along the way, Aquaman is shown his true nature, which is a near godlike entity called Orin. Orin then finds out it was his DNA that allowed the people of San Diego (now called Sub Diego, since it was submerged in the ocean). This causes great sorrow in his heart, and so he becomes the Dweller in the Depths.

As the Dweller, a creature that resembled an old hermit in the sea, with none of the vibrant personality that shines out of Aquaman like the gold in his hair, he can save the lives of an entire city that is unable to breathe by using necromancy on his own long-dead-and-gone. Eventually, alone in the depths, he waits to train the next King of the Sea.



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I am Ashlyn, Mother of Goblins, Queen of Snakeys and Puppies, Writer of Abundance, and Eater of All the Foods.
Gamer Since: 1988
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Civilization VI
Top 3 Favorite Games:Civilization IV, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, The Sims 3: Dragon Valley

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Windryder's picture

Windryder 5 years 11 months ago

great article!

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DanCMaltbie 5 years 11 months ago

Nice job!

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