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Personal information

Real Name: Unknown, sometimes aliased as Mr. Waterman

Residence: Various homes around the oceans
Occupation: Adventurer, deputized military law enforcement.
First Appearance (Golden Age): More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All-Star Squadron #60 (August 1986)

Character History

Virtually nothing is known of the early life of the man who became known as Aquaman on Earth-Two.  He is believed to be a normal human born to a father of unknown nationality, a famous oceanographer who would be recognized immediately if his name was to be revealed.  Aquaman's mother died when he was in his infancy and is also unidentified.  At some point likely in the 1920's, the oceanographer stumbled about ruins believed to be the remains of ancient Atlantis.  Studying the technology for years, he discovered biologic modifications, presumably those being explored by the Atlanteans to conquer the seas.  He began to conduct a series of experiments on his son, give him the ability to breathe underwater, swim at super-human speeds, withstand deep oceanic pressure and temperatures and through his own research of sea life, imparted knowledge that allowed his son to bond with creatures of the deep.

Aquaman first came to public attention in late 1941, when a Nazi U-boat was patrolling the North Atlantic and targeting refugee ships.  After sinking one, the Axis submariners targeting the lifeboats in the interest of preventing details of the attack from reaching the mainland.  At the last possible instant, Aquaman emerged from the sea and pulled the lifeboat out of the line of fire and then turn his attention back to the Nazis.  Routing them, he asks a group of dolphins to pull the lifeboat to land and set out in pursuit of the villains' base.  He finds it but is captured and dumped into the sea with weights.  Rescued by those same dolphins, he returns to the base and destroys it, putting an end to the threat to the sea lanes.  Before he could be thanked, he disappeared into the open ocean (More Fun Comics #73).

Shortly thereafter he was contacted by the All-Star Squadron for membership but whether he took them up on it has never been revealed (All-Star Squadron #31, 50-60).  He operated widely through the world's oceans during World War II was seen in the South Seas (More Fun #75, #103), the Mediterranean (More Fun Comics #94), up the Mississippi River (More Fun Comics #91), in Alaska (More Fun Comics #85) and in the waters around Japan and China (More Fun Comics #82, #95-96).  This range of operation underscored Aquaman's ability to travel enormous distances in relative short periods of time either by direct swimming, assists from local sea life or allowing his resilient body to be pulled in the wake of larger vessels.  Indeed, such was his ability he completed a round the world swim in seven days, all the while being targeted by pirates, criminals and Xxis forces (More Fun Comics #86).

Throughout the war, Aquaman worked in the cause of the Allies. He opposed Nazis directly on several occasions (More Fun Comics #79and #92) and fascist forces in Italy(more Fun Comics #94). He aided an all-female crew of a Russian supply ship escape Axis pursuit and return supplies to Murmansk (More Fun Comics #93).  In the Pacific he was equally a thorn in the side of the Japanese (More Fun Comics #90), especially along the border with China, interfering with the invasion (More Fun Comics #95, Adventure Comics #103) and aiding the Chinese resistance (More Fun Comics #96).  While Aquaman's nationality on Earth-Two remains unrevealed, his sympathies were unambiguously with the Allies.

Aquaman, like most costumed adventurer's attracted equally unusual adversaries.  His most recurrent foes was a pirate known as Black Jack, a criminal of unknown origins who engaged primarily in theft and plunder. An egotistical criminal, he also suffered from vanity and obsession to prove himself the master of the sea (More Fun Comics #74).  Over the years, they battled over a dozen time with the pirates final fate remaining unknown.  Other unusual does include Master Sargasso, an extraordinarily tall criminal operating out of the Sargasso Sea (More Fun Comics #78) and Captain Samson, a renegade whaler (Adventure Comics #197).  In an odd case, an unnamed criminal created a device that gave him telepathic control of sea life, superseding Aquaman's more charismatic approach.  The identity of this criminal and the origins of this technology have never been explained (Adventure Comics #170).  The most bizarre case occurred when a criminal known to Aquaman by the name of "Shark" Wilson escaped prison and fled across a beach that supposedly turned men into sea life.  When Aquaman investigated, Wilson was nowhere to be a found but a large tiger shark prowled the area with similar features as Wilson and apparently human motivations.  Aquaman ultimately seems to kill the shark but it vanishes, causing Wilson to reappear on  the beach and be captured by prison guards.  The exact nature of this transfer is not revealed and whether Wilson retained an ability to become a shark is not clear.

After the War, Aquaman remained active until at least the mid 1950's.  The details of his personal life remain few, though he did attempt to go to college under the name Mr. Waterman (Adventure #120).  Where he got this name and whether it is completely fictionalized is not clear.  Although essentially a loner, Aquaman enjoyed a positive relationship with the media and with law enforcement on the service.  He maintained quasi-deputized status with a number of naval agencies, including assisting the Coast Guard (Adventure #164) and assisting the U.S. Navy's weapons development program (Adventure Comics #122 and #202).   The latter likely stemmed from a major interest of Aquaman's, the conservation and ecology of the sea, directing Navy activities to area that would not harm sea life.  Aquaman was well known to support conservation efforts (Adventure Comics #128), defending sea life and especially endangered species from poachers (Adventure Comics #142, #174, #190, #192 and #204).  Well-regarded by the media, Aquaman participated in an number of charity events that were widely covered in the press (Adventure Comics #128, #152, #156 and #171).  He had several cases that brought him into contact with the movie industry, fascinated by his handsome looks and athletic physique (Adventure Comics #113, 130 and #147).  He even attracted a sidekick of sorts in the person of Phineas Pike, who imagined himself something of a Sea Sleuth (Adventure Comics #140, #141 and#143).  The later activities of the Sea Sleuth are unknown.

Operating outside of U.S. territorial waters, it is unlikely Aquaman would have been impacted by the interference that forced the Justice Society into retirement in 1951.  The last recorded cases of Aquaman on Earth-Two occurred in 1954 in which he defeat criminals "haunting" an island, using it's ghostly reputation to cover their crimes (Adventure Comics #206).  The activities of Aquaman in the years following have not been revealed.

Powers and Abilities

Aquaman is a normal human being who has been augmented with technology of unknown, presumably Atlantean origins.  These modifcations allow him to breathe underwater for extended periods, the duration of which has not been defined but is easily weeks to months.  He is full amphibious, able to breathe equally well on land and any limitations in either environment has not been discovered.  He is a superhuman swimmer, possessing incredible underwater speed and agility, the upper limits of which are not defined.  He possesses enormous physical strength and resilience, able to withstand depths of 1000's of feet of pressure with no deleterious consequences. Finally, through an incredibly deep knowledge of oceanic life and years of practice, he has a charismatic relationship with sealife that encourages, but not coerces, them to aid him in his exploit.  The full range and nature of this communication is not clear.

Weaknesses and Limitations

While resilient, Aquaman was not invulnerable and could be felled with physical force, especially if caught unawares.  He appears particularly vulnerable to chemical injury and such as rendered him unable to enter water or communicate with sea life, suggesting a phermonal basis to at least some of his abilities.  The exact extent of Aquaman's limitations are not known.

Golden Age Appearances of  Aquaman