My good friend and awesome photographer Jamie thinks that my blog is interesting and always worth a read. With that in mind, today I’m going to talk about superheroes.
If you hang around comic forums enough, the topic of everyone thinking Aquaman is lame will eventually come up. This is inevitably traced back to Superfriends, which was a very popular show that, unfortunately, was forbidden by the producers from showing any form of violence lest impressionable young children try to imitate the superheroes. While Superman’s strength and flight, Batman’s gadgets, and Wonder Woman’s magic artifacts allowed them to still take on various villains with ease, the fact that Aquaman’s big power is talking to fish meant he was basically useless unless the plot was written specifically for him. (This also meant Hawkman was redundant with Superman on the team, but I’m talking about Aquaman here).
So, Aquaman was basically a useless member of the team, and thanks to the popularity of Superfriends, this meme entered popular consciousness. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman got popular movies and TV shows that let them be cool, but Aquaman had nothing – thus, the popular image of him remained one formed from Superfriends.
Modern fans of Aquaman respond to this by insisting he totally has other powers. He’s the king of Atlantis! He has super strength! He can breathe underwater! He has awesome fighting skills! He throws polar bears at people! Sure, those are all true, but they miss the fact that talking to fish is his most significant and influential power, and I’m not talking about the episode of Justice League Unlimited where he sent armies of sea creatures to fight the minions of Cthulhu.
First, a couple of clarifications. Aquaman doesn’t just talk to fish, he psychicly commands them to do his bidding. Also, it’s not just fish – any sea creature is bound to him, so he also has power over whales, squids, lobsters, clams, and giant monsters that science hasn’t yet discovered. Plus, ‘fish’ includes sharks. Big ones.
Now, consider global trade. In the real world, about 90% of global trade is carried out by sea. Since the people of Earth-1 primarily use incredible, mind-blowing advances in science and engineering to fight or commit crime, it’s likely the situation with global trade is similar. And this isn’t just fun but unnecessary things – we’re talking food, oil, medicine, minerals used to manufacture medical equipment… basically, if all sea trade suddenly ended, billions of people would die. Oh, and sea trade couldn’t just be replaced with air travel or we’d have done it already. Air travel is much more sensitive to weather conditions, and planes are only able to transport much smaller cargoes than ships. Plus, their fuel has to come by sea.
See what I’m getting at? If Aquaman wanted to, he could order his army of whales, giant squids, and clams to attack and sink or halt transport of all the world’s goods. Without oil in those massive tankers, society would come to an immediate halt. Widespread famine and death would result.
Seriously, commanding sea life means that the only reason anybody on Earth-1 is still alive is because Aquaman permits it. Even Superman doesn’t have that kind of influence.