AQUAMAN gets a bit of a bad rap among DC’s top tier superheroes. If you consider the DC Comics superheoes as stand-ins for Greek gods with SUPERMAN being Zeus, BATMAN being Hades, THE FLASH being Hermes, etc., then AQUAMAN is Poseidon. And no one mocks Poseidon. But since Aquaman has a silly costume and most people think his main ability is talking with marine life, he gets mocked (also, as the video game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” proved, being able to control underwater creatures has its advantages). However, DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns isn’t giving up on the underwater hero. “He’s a priority character for the company,” says Johns. Warner Bros. has already made that clear by trying to give him a TV show (the pilot wasn’t picked up) and is currently planning to release a direct-to-DVD animated feature.
Speaking to Variety, Johns explained the character’s positive aspects:
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most well-known characters among super-heroes, and in popular culture,” said Johns. The ocean setting, he suggested, should work to a writer’s advantage. “We are finding new areas in the ocean every day. It’s as alien as going to outer space,” he said.
Of course, there isn’t anything official regarding an AQUAMAN feature film, but DC Comics is pushing the character hard. According to Variety:
In 2009 and 2010, Johns turned a large spotlight on Mera, Aquaman’s wife, giving her more presence and personality than she’s had in decades. “What I wanted to do was establish Mera alongside Green Lantern and The Flash in a very big way,” Johns explained, noting that he derived inspiration from the Queen Gorgo character in the 2007 Zack Snyder movie, “300.” Rather than playing up Aquaman’s Atlantis connections, Johns said he deliberately focused on developing his personality, supporting cast and enemies like Black Manta and the Ocean Master.
So despite AQUAMAN’s simple origin story which boils down to being raised in Atlantis, DC is checking off the boxes of a major love-interest and clearly defined villains. Also, he’s been given a “gritty” edge with long hair, beard, and harpoon hand. Comics Alliance does a good job of breaking down the character’s strengths and weaknesses, and personally I see his simplicity as a positive. Comics fans might not have much love for AQUAMAN, but screenwriters would have a lot of free reign because they only have to hit a few checkmarks for a general audience: He lives under the sea, can talk to sea creatures. Go nuts.
Obviously, this is all part of Warner Bros. strategy to get more DC superheroes on the big screen. AQUAMAN may seem like a joke, but honestly, so is the way the studio is scrambling to come up with a game plan. At least AQUAMAN has the creative freedom his other Justice League members lack.