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Aquaman in Animation: A Retrospective

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by RoyalRubble, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    With the recent release of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, where Aquaman has a pretty great role, alongside the Flash and Wonder Woman, I figured it would be a good time to look back on his previous animated appearances, both good and bad. Most images in this post appear courtesy of The World's Finest and I hope you all enjoy reading it!

    As with my previous retrospective for the DC forum, since I try to be as thorough as possible in this kind of threads, check out my next couple of blogs for a very brief* rundown of Aquaman's appearances in cartoons from the 60s up to the 80s. (*Sorry, but I just didn't feel like re-watching and reviewing 30+ episodes of Aquaman and 100+ episodes of Super Friends when it wasn't "mandatory" as on the Marvel forum). This thread will mention Aqualad and any other member of Aquaman's supporting cast only when necessary - meaning I won't focus on any show where any of these characters appeared, but Aquaman didn't.

    Aquaman (a.k.a. Arthur Curry, or Orin) was introduced in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941), and was created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. He is a human/Atlantean hybrid, able to breathe both underwater and on land, possessing some super strength (though he needs to come into contact with water every so often to replenish it) and the ability to telepathically control other sea life-forms. Aquaman is the king of Atlantis and protects it from anything he considers a threat, be it other Atlantean villains, or threats from the surface world or even other alien worlds. Throughout the years he has occasionally aided other heroes, and has been a member of the Justice League of America, during most incarnations of the team.

    Throughout his 70 years of existence, his origin has been rebooted, retconned and revamped a few times depending on the writer of the comic book but the fact remains that he's the son of a human and an Atlantean queen. Interestingly, none of his animated appearances have really touched upon his origins (only a couple of hints or allusions were given in one or two toons). His main two villains throughout his career have been Black Manta (the one responsible for killing Aquaman's son, Arthur Curry Junior), and the Ocean Master (his own brother, Orm who feels he should rule Atlantis).

    His classic design, with his traditional orange outfit (and without a hook for a hand, and the beard is optional) is the one that's appeared in the most cartoons. Despite being considered weaker than other super-heroes and sometimes useless in a battle, Aquaman has had a pretty rich career in animation, starting with his introduction in the DC Animated Universe. He first appeared towards the end of Superman: The Animated Series. The show premiered in 1996, and originally aired on Kids' WB!; it was the second entry in the DCAU, after Batman: The Animated Series. In 1999 the episode titled "A Fish Story" premiered, featuring Aquaman voiced by Miguel Ferrer.

    [​IMG]

    In this story Lois Lane investigates why marine life in Metropolis has started going wild and attacking the citizens, only to accidentally stumble upon Lex Luthor's plan to test high explosives off the eastern seaboard. These tests endangered the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and Aquaman decided to journey to the surface world and stop this threat peacefully. However he was defeated and imprisoned by Luthor, kept inside a tank at the Metropolis aquarium, where Lois finds him.

    Even though it would have been nice to actually see Aquaman's original venture to Metropolis and how he was subdued, I thought the story worked out pretty well in the end (though the episode does end a little too abruptly). It's revealed that while he was imprisoned, he was communicating with any sea life-form that was within his telepathic range to come and rescue him, thus explaining the recent series of marine life attacks mentioned earlier. Lois frees Aquaman from his prison and try to escape but they are both captured by Luthor's men who try to get rid of both of them. Superman intervenes and saves Lois, while Aquaman leaves to stop Luthor's bombs from damaging more of his kingdom.

    I liked how Aquaman was presented here - he was considered some sort of urban legend until Lois actually meets him, and he does get some good scenes showcasing his powers and abilities. His Atlantean army (or at least part of it) is also seen towards the end, declaring war on Luthor's ship and ready to attack the surface world to ensure no other humans would threaten his kingdom again. However he is convinced by Superman to stand down, before anyone was injured. Aquaman agreed to return to Atlantis but remained somewhat distrustful of humans.

    [​IMG]

    His design here looked pretty cool - it's basically his classic costume with some darker colors and slightly updated to fit in more with the tone of the show. Overall it was a good episode though to be honest this was probably my least favorite of the few S:TAS episodes where other super-heroes guest-starred.

    Before being re-designed for the Justice League animated series, Aquaman made a brief cameo on Batman Beyond. The show premiered in 1999 and also originally aired on Kids' WB! Set in the future of the DCAU, this series focused on an elderly Bruce Wayne who trained a young Terry McGinnis to become the next Batman.

    In the two-part episode "The Call", the new Batman is asked by an older Superman to join the Justice League Unlimited - alongside the likes of Big Barda, Warhawk, a young Green Lantern and Aquagirl (Aquaman's daughter, Marina). There seems to be a traitor among them, and Superman needs Batman's help to figure out who exactly has gone rogue.

    Aquaman is briefly seen on a computer screen when Batman is looking through the files on the heroes, retaining his design from the S:TAS show, albeit slightly simplified. The computer file mentions his whereabouts are unknown; something similar would occur in an episode of Justice League set in the future, which I will cover in the next part of this retrospective.

    [​IMG]

    The story is pretty cool overall. There are some parts that don't really make sense but it was great seeing the future Justice League in action (even before we got to see a present-day incarnation of the team in this animated universe).

    Next: Aquaman on Justice League!
     
    #1 RoyalRubble, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2013
  2. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    With the previously mentioned episode of Batman Beyond proving that a Justice League animated series can work, Bruce Timm and most of the other creative minds that worked on and produced the previous Batman: TAS and Superman: TAS set out to create the next logical step in the DCAU, Justice League. The show premiered in fall of 2001 on the Cartoon Network, and most of its episodes consisted of two-part stories (apart from the season finales, which were three-part stories, and the Christmas special episode which was only a half-hour long), resulting in a 52 episodes long animated series, before being replaced by a sequel titled Justice League Unlimited.

    Significantly, Aquaman was left out of the original team founding members line-up (his place on the big 7 was given to Hawkgirl, which worked out well in hindsight), but he did appear throughout the show and eventually joined the League during its Unlimited era. For his appearances here, Aquaman was given a re-design, based on his mid-90s "barbarian" look from the comics. His personality didn't change that much from his earlier appearance in S:TAS; still caring about Atlantis and its people first and foremost. His voice was now provided by Scott Rummell.

    [​IMG]
    He first appears in the two-part episode titled "The Enemy Below", where his army attacks and sinks a nuclear submarine which dared to come too close to the boundaries of his kingdom. The Justice League arrives to save the people aboard the sub, and Superman convinces Aquaman to come and air his grievances about the oceans of the planet to the World Assembly, in an attempt to make peace.

    Also present in the story are Mera, his beautiful redheaded wife and his infant son (who remains unnamed), as well as his half-brother Orm who acts on his own and takes control of the Atlantis army while king Aquaman is absent. While on the surface world, Aquaman is attacked by a hired assassin (Deadshot) but is saved thanks to the League who spend most of the first part of this story trying to capture him. It's revealed that Orm was the one who orchestrated this attack on his brother, hoping it would offer him a chance to finally become king of Atlantis. When Aquaman returns to his kingdom he finds his former soldiers under the control of Orm, who orders them to take him into custody.

    The second part is also pretty great - it also gives Aquaman an opportunity to complete his barbarian look by loosing a hand and replacing it with a hook. There's a pretty amazing scene where he's trapped alongside his infant son, chained to an undersea mountain which is slowly but surely sliding into a pool of lava (all courtesy of Orm, obviously). Aquaman uses his belt insignia to slice off one of his hands to escape this death trap and save his son.

    Meanwhile Orm has activated an Atlantean doomsday weapon hidden at the North Pole, able to melt the polar ice caps and sink most of the planet. Aquaman, now armed with his hook joins the League on their mission to stop Orm. The two half-brothers fight for the right to rule Atlantis, their battle ending with Orm falling to his apparent death inside an ice cavern. Meanwhile Batman saved the rest of the world by shutting down the nuclear reactor. Aquaman was pretty great here. He used his powers well enough during his fights and even though I'm not a huge fan of his design here, I think it worked well in contrast with the other heroes present.

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    Aquaman is next seen during the second season, in the two-part episode titled "The Terror Beyond". This time he has joined forces with Doctor Fate, in an attempt to stop extra-dimensional creatures from invading our world. Among the "ingredients" needed for such an incantation to work, were Solomon Grundy and Aquaman's trident. Since neither of them bothered to explain their actions, the Justice League arrived on the scene, ending up having to fight the others. Hawkgirl versus Doctor Fate, Superman versus Grundy and Wonder Woman versus Aquaman. These last two would later engage in more intense, hardcore scenes (not limited to the battleground!) in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but I'll get to that in due time. Aquaman wins his fight with Wonder Woman here (mostly thanks to being near a water supply), but he is quickly stopped by Superman. A pretty amusing scene ensues, with Aquaman jumping at Superman, who sighs and the next thing we see is Superman dragging the unconscious Aquaman behind him.

    There's a lot of stuff going on during this story - from revealing Solomon Grundy's origin, to his redemption and (near) death. From a flashback showing us how Atlantis ended up on the bottom of the ocean, to Aquaman fighting alongside the other heroes against the Old Ones (a.k.a. the extra-dimensional creatures responsible for the sinking of Atlantis milenia earlier). And obviously the more allusions to Marvel Comics (with Fate's team mimicking the Defenders) and H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos (which I never read, with Icthulhu).

    All in all, a pretty great episode and a great showcase for Aquaman, as it explained some back-story (well not exactly his, but Atlantis in general), and some more screen-time using his powers and abilities in a fight.

    [​IMG]
    In "Hereafter", Superman is apparently killed by the Toyman's newest weapon. Aquaman was among the many guests at Superman's funeral, alongside his wife Mera. There's also a neat scene where the remaining Leaguers discuss potential new members for the team - Aquaman is considered as a likely candidate (Flash mentions him, though as far as we seen on the show they never actually shared any screen-time).

    In the second part it's unsurprisingly revealed that Superman didn't die; he was simply sent to the far future where the world has been destroyed by Vandal Savage and is now ruled by giant monstrous bugs. Moreover, the Sun is now red so Superman is powerless. Making his way through the desolate planet, he discovers the remains of the Justice League Watchtower, where Aquaman's picture appears alongside the others though his location is listed as unknown. In the end Superman teams up with Vandal Savage to retrieve a nuclear reactor which will power a time machine in order to send Superman back in time, and stop Savage from dooming the planet. Overall, a pretty great episode.

    Next part: Aquaman on Justice League Unlimited and Justice League: The New Frontier!
     
    #2 RoyalRubble, Aug 6, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  3. Stu

    Stu Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    I thought that Aquaman was a lot more interesting in Justice League than Superman. The barbarian look worked more far better than the orange and green look.

    I remember being pretty disappointed in A Fish Story and agree that it was probably the weakest Superman team up. The Enemy Below was one of the better episodes of the rather tame first season of Justice League - I remember thinking that he mixed well as an outsider of the team, he could've made a fine addition to the teams chemistry.

    I look forward to The Brave and The Bold post. That is my favourite version of Aquaman, by far.
     
  4. SF4Ever

    SF4Ever Active Member

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    I like that pic of Aquaman with a left hook- if he were to finally get his own animated TV series on Cartoon Network as part of D.C. Nation Saturday, that left hook design is what Warner Bros. Animation should go with. In that series, why not also include some episodes where Aqualad is assisting Aquaman in taking on the bad guys. I'm sure James Tucker will go in the same direction with an animated Aquaman TV series, as he has assisting Bruce Timm on the Justice League series. In his own series, I can see Aquaman taking on pirates, bad guys like the Shark, Black Manta, Human Flying Fish and other sea-going supervillains of the D.C. universe. Give it a working title- Aquaman: King of the Seas. This is something Cartoon Network should seriously look into, should D.C. Nation Saturday be expanded by another 30 min. to make it a 90 min program. I see potential and I can see Aquaman carrying part of D.C. Nation, too.
     
  5. RoryWilliams

    RoryWilliams Well-Known Member

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    Brave and the Bold was definitely my favorite animated Aquaman. I liked Justice League alright but I feel like they tried too hard to make him into Namor. They were so desperate to make people take him seriously that they went too far in making him a humorless dick.
     
  6. the greenman

    the greenman Well-Known Member

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    I always thought of Namor as a really chessed-off Mr. Spock with more testosterone. I do like the JL Aquaman though. I can accept the B&TB version too.
     
  7. dmxx116

    dmxx116 Well-Known Member

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    I,m big fan of the badass left hook Conan of the sea Auqaman from the 90's and Justice League/Unlimited.
     
  8. Silverstar

    Silverstar Rock the Dragon

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    Brave and the Bold Aquaman for me. The JL/U version smacked too much of over-compensation. I get what the Justice League/Unlimited producers were trying to do with Arthur--they wanted folks to take the character seriously again--but they went too far in the opposite direction. the brooding badass bit works for Batman and Wolverine, but every superhero doesn't have to be dark, angsty and humorless. I like my Capes with a sense of fun to them, and John DiMaggio's voicing of the role sold it for me.
     
  9. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    The Brave and the Bold Aquaman is also my favorite incarnation so far. He was lots of fun and pretty awesome as well. I'll have plenty to talk about him when I reach the Brave and the Bold section in this retrospective, though I'm not sure when exactly I'll be able to update this thread (I haven't even started writing the next part). Until then...

    __________________________________________________________________________

    After two seasons of Justice League, the show changed its format - it became known as Justice League Unlimited, which premiered on the Cartoon Network in summer of 2004, and ran for 3 more seasons. The episodes were no longer two-part stories (with the occasional exception), though there was some pretty tight continuity between the episodes which made them seem like multiple part adventures. The League now had a lot of new members, including the character this retrospective is all about, as well as a lot of new enemies (mostly in the final season) all pulled from the DC Comics Universe no matter how well known or obscure they were. The highlight for this series was the Cadmus story-arc which was spread throughout most of the show's run.

    For the most part, Aquaman was mostly seen in the background in a couple of episodes of the first season. He had larger roles in only two episodes, and was never seen again in the next two seasons - apparently there were plans of producing a live-action Aquaman show around that time, which prevented him from appearing in the cartoon thanks to some embargo rules and conditions. The live-action show never made it past its pilot titled Mercy Reef (which I don't think actually aired anywhere but since then copies have appeared online - I for one never watched it, and something tells me I'm not missing much). This embargo also affected the appearance of Aquaman's nemesis Black Manta: when he appeared in the final season as part of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society (based on the classic Legion of Doom), he was called Devil Ray but retained his personality and abilities, more or less.

    [​IMG]

    The first episode of JLU to feature Aquaman prominently was titled "Ultimatum", and featured lots of callbacks to the earlier Super Friends series. That was actually one of the reasons Aquaman appeared - since he was one of the few heroes to appear in just about every incarnation of the Super Friends cartoons. In this story the Justice League confronts a team of super-powered teenagers called the Ultimen (based on some of the heroes created specifically for the aforementioned Super Friends series), who are revealed to be the results of a government experiment thanks to the Cadmus Project. Aquaman gets some decent lines in the episode and during the final fight with the Ultimen he gets to defeat both Shifter and Downpoor - brother and sister who can transform one into water and the other into creatures of the sea. Aquaman easily defeats them since he is the king of the seas, after all. The episode is pretty great overall and it fits in nicely within the greater scheme of the Cadmus story-arc. I've talked about this arc before, and since it doesn't really concern Aquaman there's no reason to focus on it here as well. That, and I'm guessing most people on this forum already know the whole story.

    In "Wake the Dead", Solomon Grundy rises from his grave thanks to some weird magic spell some kids accidentally cast. No longer able to think, acting only on instinct the reborn zombie runs on a rampage through the city, forcing the League to confront him. Doctor Fate's group of Defenders-inspired heroes also arrives on the scene and ultimately it's Shayera (formerly known as Hawkgirl) the one who puts Grundy to rest, and even though we don't actually get to see it, it is a pretty dramatic moment. Aquaman is also present in this episode though doesn't really get to do that much this time considering just how many characters were present in the first place. I did like his line when he learns that Grundy's grave has been defiled - it shows how much he appreciated Grundy's sacrifice back in "The Terror Beyond".

    While Aquaman is nowhere to be seen, Atlantis is mentioned in the third season episode "To Another Shore", where it's revealed that Atlantis withdrew from the World Assembly because of differing opinions concerning global warming. Looking back, the DCAU Aquaman was pretty great. I don't have any real complaints about how he was portrayed though since he seemed to fit right alongside the other characters and his interactions with them worked out pretty well.

    Justice League: The New Frontier was released straight to DVD in 2008. It was based on the DC Comics limited series DC: The New Frontier and it turned out to be a pretty amazing movie. Set in the aftermath of the Korean War, when the government doesn't trust any super-heroes. The story slowly builds up to the final battle where all heroes gather together to stop the Centre - something that threatens all life on the planet. The character designs in this movie are great - they look very "retro" (for lack of a better word), and each one of the main characters has a good story spread throughout the movie, though the rather short run-time doesn't help all of them receive very satisfying conclusions. For example Superman, who is absent from the final battle after being blasted by the Centre and presumed dead.

    [​IMG]

    Aquaman (in a design more similar to his classic comic book look) appears in the last 5 minutes or so of the movie, emerging from the sea - conveniently after the battle is over - and returning an injured Superman to the surface world. His few lines were provided by Alan Ritchson, and he is briefly seen again during the montage of heroes shown while the iconic John F. Kennedy speech (which also gave the title of the book this movie was based on) is heard in the background.

    Next stop: Aquaman on Batman: The Brave and the Bold! Outrageous!
     
    #9 RoyalRubble, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2013
  10. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Apologies for not updating this sooner - I actually had this part ready to post a while ago, but decided to wait until I complete the entire retrospective, so I can post daily updates for a week or so. And once this is over with, I'll be able to focus on some other projects. ;)
    __________________________________________________________________________

    Aquaman's next animated appearances were on Batman: The Brave and the Bold - an animated series starring Batman (obviously), based on the comic book series the Brave and the Bold. Produced by James Tucker and Michael Jelenic, this was basically a team-up show, with Batman appearing in every episode alongside various other characters from the DC Universe. It premiered in fall 2008 on the Cartoon Network, and lasted for 65 episodes. Mostly depicting adventures either adapted or inspired by some of the weirdest comic book stories from the Silver Age of comics, Batman: TB&TB still managed to be a pretty awesome show overall, though the quality of the episodes varies from time to time. I initially didn't really care for the show but I got to admit it did grow on me along the way and all in all I find it very enjoyable. I think it's pretty amazing how many characters they managed to feature throughout the show's run, and pretty much every character that showed up proved to be very entertaining. It was also my introduction to many of the more obscure characters of the DC Universe, some of which I never even heard of before.

    As for Aquaman, I consider him one of the most enjoyable characters this show featured - a swash-buckling hero always ready to go on an adventure, with a friendly and happy-go-lucky attitude and with the habit of reminiscing his previous amazing adventures (I think most of them were based on his earliest comic book exploits), giving them some silly titles and explaining them in great detail to anyone he meets, even if they don't want to hear his stories. His speech pattern contains many references to the sea and its creatures, as well as his usual catchphrase "Outrageous!", which he utters when he's surprised. His powers for the most part stay the same - in addition, he is once again able to manipulate the water around him, in order to create swords, shields or form highly pressurized balls of water which he throws at his enemies. His design stays true to his classic comic book look (with some minor modifications), though he also has a beard like more recent depictions of the character. The bright colors did show had made him stand out from all the other costumed crime-fighters featured. His hook hand is also absent, though to be honest I didn't even miss it. Throughout the series he was voiced by John DiMaggio, with Ted McGinley voicing him for half of the series finale - I'll get to that later though.

    Also present on this show were most of his supporting cast: his wife Mera, his son Arthur Junior, Aqualad and his pet dolphin Fluke. His rogues gallery was also present, with Black Manta appearing the most (not only confronting Aquaman - he tried fighting Batman and other heroes as well a couple of times) and the "obligatory" appearance of the Ocean Master, but also some lesser-known villains like the Fisherman.

    The first episode to feature Aquaman was titled "Evil Under the Sea!". In this story, Batman travels to Atlantis to investigate seismic activity and discovers that Orm the Ocean Master has returned to the kingdom. Strangely enough, Aquaman welcomed his brother home, believing he has reformed. Batman correctly guesses that Orm is planning an attack on Aquaman (with the aid of Black Manta), but Aquaman refuses to listen to his fellow crime-fighter's advice. There are some neat scenes where Aquaman briefly becomes less friendly when Batman insists that Orm is up to no-good, but for the majority of this episode Aquaman retains his pretty awesome usual, jovial self, which I think was a good thing; somewhat refreshing after the serious DCAU Aquaman.

    [​IMG]
    Also featured are some hints about Aquaman's origin (he mentions in his memoirs that his first memories are of a lighthouse), and we get to see his coronation as King of Atlantis (a.k.a. the moment which sparked Orm's long-lasting hatred of his brother) via flashback, with his mother Queen Atlanna being the one who hands him the title and crown. Obviously Batman was right about Orm and Manta working together, which prompts him and Aquaman to work together once more to stop the threat. The action scenes are good, and the outcome of Orm's latest betrayal is great - he's forced to listen to Aquaman's life-story. All in all a solid episode which works well as an introduction to this version of Aquaman. In hindsight though, it's one of the weaker episodes featuring the character.

    Aquaman returns in "Journey to the Center of the Bat!", where he teams-up with the Atom (Ryan Choi) as they both shrink themselves and travel deep inside Batman's body and cure him from an infection caused by Chemo. The episode is lots of fun as there's plenty of humor and action spread throughout; seeing the two characters interacting was nice as it lead to some pretty hilarious lines and scenes. Aquaman's powers are used a little differently here - while inside Batman's body, he manages to summon a white blood cell (oddly shaped like a sea-horse), he affectionately calls Platelet. There's also a really great scene where we see that a little of Aquaman's personality has rubbed off on Atom, towards the end of their adventure. The team-up of Aquaman and Atom was great here, and it would only get better during the third and final season of the show.

    The two-part episode "Deep Cover for Batman!"/"Game Over for Owlman!", offers us a glimpse at a parallel universe where Batman's evil counterpart Owlman leads the Injustice Syndicate, one of the team's members being Aquaman's analogue - Barracuda. A black-haired, green-skinned villain wearing a dark purple outfit who appears in a couple of scenes mostly fighting against an orange-suited Black Manta (not sure what his name was supposed to be, but he was that universe's good version of Manta).

    In the second part, it's revealed that Batman had prepared files on pretty much every hero in the world, including detailed plans on how to subdue them if necessary. Owlman has stolen these files and modified the plans to be more deadly, and has started to capture most of Batman's allies. The plan to weaken Aquaman was very simple - imprison him under a special heat lamp. Batman comes to the rescue and thanks to a dizzy Black Manta accidentally activating the sprinkler systems, Aquaman is revitalized and joins the other heroes in their fight with Owlman and his new team of super-villains.

    "Mystery in Space!", for a change features a depressed Aquaman - he has lost his fighting spirit after he failed to save some beluga whales. Even when depressed, Aquaman proved to be pretty hilarious and very entertaining to watch, something I don't think any other super-hero has managed to pull off. Batman, trying to cheer him up takes him on a mission to the planet Rann where they must help Adam Strange stop the Gordanian army from destroying the planet. Aquaman manages to snap back to his normal, outrageous self and devises a plan to de-power the Gordanian super-weapon by "borrowing" Earth's Moon to cause an eclipse on Rann. All in all a pretty good showcase for Aquaman, but everything else about the episode felt a little boring to me.

    [​IMG]
    Aquaman demonstrates his skills as a singer for the first time in "Mayhem of the Music Meister!", the only all-out musical episode of the show. He is one of the many heroes who fall under the powers of the Music Meister, and performs alongside the others musical numbers, most notably "Drives Us Bats". Aquaman would have more opportunities to sing on the show during its the final season; I thought John DiMaggio's voice really helped make this Aquaman an unforgettable character.

    The last episode this season to feature Aquaman was "The Fate of Equinox!". Equinox, a mysterious villain who appeared twice before on the show returned and obtained god-like powers from draining the powers of the Lords of Order and Chaos. Doctor Fate helps Batman become powerful enough to stop the villain, by merging other heroes' powers and skills with him, basically making him a god as well. Aquaman was one of the heroes who contributed to Batman's evolution.

    Overall, this first season helped establish Aquaman as a character. He wasn't seen in that many episodes, but all that would change (for the better) in the next seasons, with his adventures becoming weirder, more of his supporting cast getting some neat roles and him joining other heroes in the pretty awesome Justice League International. Next time: Aquaman on the second season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold! Even more outrageous!
     
    #10 RoyalRubble, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  11. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Continuing this rundown of Aquaman's appearances on Batman: The Brave and the Bold...

    "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!" is the first episode this season to feature Aquaman, and is the one most deserving of being called "outrageous", I think. The premise is simple: Aquaman tries to spend more time with his family (Mera and Arthur Jr), so he plans a two-week vacation on the surface land, touring the world with their RV. Not surprisingly, Aquaman can't resist the call of adventure and sneaks away from his family any chance he gets to team-up with other heroes to fight evil. The episode is lots of fun, with scenes highlighting the silly excuses Aquaman makes up to hide his recent adventures from his wife, or the lengths he goes to trying to resist the urge to be a hero; all pretty awesome stuff. Other than Batman, the heroes Aquaman aided this episode included Blue Beetle and Green Arrow and each segment featured title cards reminiscent of the Super Friends series. I also really liked how Aquaman's vacation ended - with his family accepting and actually encouraging him to go fight (as well as join the fight themselves). Probably the best Aquaman-centric episode, and one of the most enjoyable stories from this show.

    [​IMG]
    In "Sidekicks Assemble!", we get some neat Aquaman-related stuff. First of all, a brief flashback to a meeting of the Justice League before it disbanded (and we get to see Superman and Wonder Woman, only from the back though as apparently various rights issues prevented them from appearing on the show at this point; everything would be settled though in time for the third season). We also see Aquaman, before his beard grew to what it is today. Other than that, we also have the debut of Aqualad on the show. Aquaman's young protege teams up with Robin and Speedy to become a Teen Titans-esque team (though their group wasn't named in this episode), as they leave on their first official mission - to investigate Ra's al Ghul's mysterious island, while their mentors leave to confront Ra's himself. It's revealed the sidekicks are still having trouble working as a team, and by a pretty hilarious coincidence, we see the heroes arguing among themselves in a similar fashion. The episode is fun to watch - there's lots of action, but with plenty of humor spread throughout as well. Aquaman gets some great lines here, but the story focuses more on the teen heroes. It's more of a coming of age story for Robin who makes the transition to Nightwing at the end of the episode.

    While most of the episodes were self-contained (though on occasion events or sub-plots from earlier episodes would play larger roles later), the show did have a couple of neat multiple-episodes arcs. The longest and in my opinion best one was the Starro Invasion arc, first presented in three non-consecutive teasers before culminating in a two part episode. The starfish conqueror's herald, the Faceless Hunter has arrived on our planet and prepares for his master's arrival by neutralizing Earth's defenses and enslaving humans, by attaching Starro clones to their faces - thus pretty much becoming mindless slaves who only act as their master commands. The teaser for "Clash of the Metal Men!" features Aquaman (who has just finished assisting Batman in defeating a band of pirates) returning to his kingdom of Atlantis, where he discovers that all of his loved ones and subjects have fallen under Starro's control. He's attacked by nearly every inhabitant of Atlantis, and confronted by the Faceless Hunter who overpowers him and attaches a Starro spore on himself as well. The teaser ends with Aquaman joining the other slaves of Starro as they ominously chant "Starro lives! Starro lives!..."

    The Starro saga ends in "The Siege of Starro!", where Batman recruits the last heroes on the planet who haven't fallen prey to Starro - Booster Gold (and Skeets), B'wana Beast, Captain Marvel and Fierstorm to stop the Faceless Hunter and thwart Starro's invasion plan. These two episodes are pretty awesome overall; there's plenty of action and a little humor throughout, with some drama added towards the end of the second part and all of it is done very well. Plus a lot of nods or allusions to other neat stuff from the comics: a recreation of the cover of the comic that first featured the Justice League (though with a different roster of heroes), the relation between Faceless Hunter and Starro mirroring the Silver Surfer/Galactus one from Marvel Comics (or at least it seems so at first; in the second part of the story we see Faceless Hunter is far more evil than the Surfer), the many trophies aboard the spaceship, just to name a few. The first part of the story ends with Starro being defeated by Earth's heroes - mostly thanks to Shazam, and with Faceless Hunter kidnapping B'wana mentioning he will act as his new weapon.

    Aquaman plays a neat role in the second part of the story - after Starro has been subdued, the heroes have freed their comrades and everyone else from the Starro clones. Aquaman is revealed to be the last one still "infected" by a Starro, and tried to use his enchanted Trident to resurrect his master but was quickly stopped by the combined forces of the other heroes. Meanwhile, Faceless Hunter forces B'wana to use his powers to merge the thousands of miniature Starro spores with Starro itself, resulting in a giant rampaging monster (which I'll call Starzilla, since that's what the Metal Men call it and the name really fits). Aquaman is also among the first heroes to confront this new menace, only to fall prey to its powers which drain all of his energy. Batman's secret weapon are the Metal Men, who not even combined as Alloy are strong enough to defeat the monster. In the end B'wana Beast is the true hero of the story, as he makes the ultimate sacrifice to destroy Starzilla. All in all, this was a pretty epic adventure - which Aquaman plans on calling "The time the C-list heroes barely helped saved the day". Classic Aquaman.

    [​IMG]
    This season also contains the (in)famous episode "The Mask of Matches Malone!", which never actually aired on television in the US. Aquaman is absent from the story, but he is one of the many super-heroes mentioned during the Birds of Prey's musical number. Black Canary, Catwoman and Huntress basically sing about how Batman is better than all the world's heroes put together. It's a pretty hilarious song, in the middle of an otherwise darker than usual episode.

    Aquaman next appears in the teaser for "The Criss Cross Conspiracy!", where miniaturized Batman and Atom call for help in dealing with the Bug-Eyed bandit and his army of robot ants. Aquaman arrives on the scene and it takes him a while to notice the little heroes, but once he does he finds it hard to concentrate on his mission since he finds them so cute. The chemistry between Atom and Aquaman once again shines as it did in their previous team-up ("Journey to the Center of the Bat!"), with the latter trying to understand the former's instructions on how to handle a fragment from a white dwarf star to help fix the Atom's size-changing belt.

    Hints that Darkseid was planning on invading our planet were placed in a couple of teasers from previous episodes, though not to the same extent as with the Starro invasion. In "Darkseid Descending!", Batman alongside Aquaman and Martian Manhunter welcome a new group of heroes (Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Fire and Ice) and together form a new Justice League - not named yet, but based on the Justice League International. I wasn't too familiar with this incarnation of the team from the comics when this episode premiered, so I was a little surprised by the selection of heroes but it all worked out really well in the end. Their interactions were great and very entertaining to watch. The team was founded by Batman, in an attempt to stop Darkseid's invasion plans.

    Aquaman had some great scenes in this episode - annoyed by the way Martian Manhunter tells a story, getting into a fight with Booster Gold and Guy Gardner, enjoying himself by battling Parademons, etc. In the original plan devised by the Martian (apparently the strategist of the team), Aquaman was supposed to be paired with Fire, but the heroes ended up having to improvise as they go along. In a short scene where the heroes are defeated and captured, Aquaman is placed underneath a special heat lamp (somewhat similar to how he was imprisoned by Owlman in the previous season); Ice is also trapped alongside him under this device. Darkseid is eventually defeated when the Question (who has been masquerading as one of his Parademons) reverses the frequency of the Boom Tubes' generators, sending the villain and his troops back to their home planet. All in all, a great episode and a good introduction to this new Justice League which will see more action as well as gain some new members in the next season.

    Up next: One final outrageous outburst as we end this Batman: The Brave and the Bold edition featuring Aquaman's appearances on the third and final season of the show!
     
  12. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.
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    Excellent write ups, RoyalRubble. Keep up the great work. "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!" will definitely go down as one of the greatest Aquaman stories ever.
     
  13. JTMarsh

    JTMarsh Wing Commander

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    Great write ups Royal Rubble. At the expense of sounding like a broken record "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!" was by far my personal favorite of the Aquaman centered episodes - and possibly my favorite episode overall.
     
  14. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Thanks, guys. :)

    Glad to see I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the episode. I guess the only complaint I have is that the teaser featuring Enemy Ace wasn't revisited during the show's run. But as far as Aquaman's story goes, it's pretty much flawless.
     
  15. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Wrapping up this rundown of Aquaman's appearances on Batman: The Brave and the Bold...

    This season, Aquaman mostly appeared as a member of the Justice League International. Interestingly, even though this season was the shortest (13 episodes, as opposed to the other two having 26 each), this time I'll probably have the most to talk about. In "Shadow of the Bat!", Batman has been bitten by Dala and has become a vampire. Wanting to feed on his fellow heroes, he calls an emergency meeting aboard the Justice League satellite, planning on turning them all into vampires, one by one. Trapped aboard the satellite, the heroes try to understand what's going on and find a way to save Batman but he proves to be too powerful for them. Aquaman is the first to fall victim to Batman's bite, followed by all the others except for Martian Manhunter. In the end the Martian gets help from Etrigan the Demon, and manages to change the satellite's orbit, allowing the sunlight to cure Batman and the others. Some more interesting Aquaman-related stuff this episode includes him reading his own comic book adventures, Ice mentioning to Fire she has a crush on Aquaman, and seeing a vampire version of Aquaman. Overall a good episode, with a nice, creepy atmosphere.

    [​IMG]
    Aquaman is one of a group of heroes that tries to stand in for Batman while the caped crusader is injured in "Night of the Batmen!". After Aquaman published his newest memoirs chapter (The time Batman almost died) - and thus accidentally informed other heroes and villains of Batman's predicament, he made himself a bat-suit and set out to fight crime in Gotham City. He wasn't the only one with this idea though, as Captain Marvel, Green Arrow and Plastic Man also joined in on the fun, with their own unique bat-suits. Aquaman at first only confronts the Penguin. Trying to act like Batman was tough on him. Hilarious how it highlighted his heroic moment of materialization, marginally managing to mimic Batman's brilliant but bizarre alliteration abilities, always amazingly displayed during his daily duels. Alliteration was just one of the many things I really enjoyed on this show - it got so creative at times. The final battle sees the fake Batmen, and the real one going up against the Joker and his minions. The episode ends with an amazing shot of Batman teaming up with the heroes seen this episode and other versions of himself from alternate universes as well as various incarnations of himself from other animated series.

    In "Time Out for Vengeance!", Rip Hunter the Time Master recruits the JLI to investigate the disappearance of present-day Batman and protect previous versions of Batman throughout time from mysterious robot assassins. The heroes split into smaller groups - Guy Gardner and Ice help a prehistoric Batman, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle meet up with a pirate Batman, and Aquaman and Fire travel to Ancient Rome where they encounter Batmanicus. While in Rome, Aquaman mentions the city reminds him on a dry Atlantis, and is amused when he is mistaken by the townspeople as King Neptune. He gets very excited at the thought of fighting Romans - and he gets a chance when he and Fire are believed to be escaped slaves and soldiers try to capture them. Aquaman later joins the other heroes in a mission to the far future, where the robotic threat originated and discover the one who's responsible for this: Equinox (or at least a fragment of him, representing his hate for Batman). It was a nice, unexpected twist to have Equinox appear again on the show though to be honest I wasn't really looking forward to a continuation of his story-arc, which doesn't really end here either as the episode ends on a rather ominous note (the series ending prevented him from returning again).

    The teaser for "Sword of the Atom!" is an episode of the fictional sitcom "The Currys of Atlantis", produced in color and filmed before a live studio audience. Aquaman sings during the opening credits; John DiMaggio's singing voice probably made this funnier than it was intended to be. The episode features lots of fun stuff despite its short running time: Aquaman bickering with his neighbor Black Manta, him trying to find his trident so he can go fight crime alongside Batman (something he does every Tuesday, apparently) and him forgetting that today was his and Mera's anniversary. They're all pretty much standard sitcom plots but it feels so surreal and hilarious seeing Aquaman in such a setting.

    [​IMG]
    Aquaman also has a great role in the main part of the episode, where he once again teams up with Ryan Choi, who has retired from being a super-hero and has returned to a life as a scientist. Batman has gone missing while trying to find the original (and fun one, as Aquaman mentioned) Atom, Ray Palmer. The duo miniaturizes and leaves on a mission in the Amazon Jungle to find the two lost heroes, and find themselves in the middle of a tiny race of aliens called the Katarthans. Aquaman was hilarious throughout the episode, despite the story focusing mostly on the two Atoms. By the end of the episode Ryan Choi has a change of heart and agrees to continue being the Atom (as Aquaman said once a super-hero, always a super-hero) thanks in no small part to Aquaman's actions during their team-up. Other hilarious Aquaman scenes include his prank call to Ryan at the beginning of the episode, him being mad at a frog for being an amphibian and thus cannot be trusted ("Land or water. Choose a side!"), or his ability to summon silverfish in the middle of the rainforest ("A fish is a fish, even if it's a bug"). All in all a great episode and my favorite of the three Aquaman-Atom team-ups on the show.

    The teaser for "Triumvirate of Terror!" features a baseball game between members of the JLI and the Legion of Doom. Aquaman is one of the heroes participating in the match, though we don't get to see him in action, just sitting on the bench. It's a pretty amazing scene overall; the idea of a baseball game between heroes and villains sounds ridiculous but it plays out beautifully. That's one of the things I really liked about this show in general; no matter how wacky the concept was, the episode turned out pretty amazing and very entertaining to watch. The good guys obviously win in the end - after Superman makes the shocking discovery that Luthor has been cheating the whole time. Bonus points for Batman's speech to the team, with him rousing the others into winning the game for all the kids in the audience, like little Julie Schwartz and Frankie Miller.

    "Bold Beginnings!" is a pretty lackluster episode (though to be honest, I think after the amazing teaser featuring a team-up between Batman and Space Ghost, pretty much anything else would have felt underwhelming). Aquaman, Green Arrow and Plastic Man are trapped by Mr. Freeze and reminisce about their first encounters with Batman. Aquaman is probably the highlight of this episode, with him trying to tell his story only to be interrupted every time. In the end he manages to at least begin his tale - once again seen without his luxurious beard, the younger Aquaman saved Batman from Black Manta and then the duo teamed-up to stop Manta's army (which kept getting larger and larger, thanks to Aquaman exaggerating as he went along). In present-day, Batman arrives in time to save the three heroes and defeat Mr. Freeze; it's actually Aquaman the one who lands the finishing punch on the villain, as payback for interrupting his story. When the others leave to take care of Freeze's icebergs, Aquaman stays behind, to keep an eye on the villain until the police shows up - and get a chance to finish his tale, to a literally captive audience. All in all a decent episode though somewhat disappointing.

    [​IMG]
    "Somehow I know we're destined to become the very best of friends"
    Aquaman is the best part of an otherwise dull episode in "Powerless!". The story focuses on Captain Atom, an all-powerful and arrogant hero, the newest member of the JLI. When his powers are drained in a fight with his arch-enemy Major Force, Nate Adam must now learn to cope and fit in with the others without any super-powers. Aquaman uses his "rousing song of heroism" - a musical number meant to inspire the powerless Captain, and probably the best part of this entire story. We get to see Aquaman pose as various other heroes and heroines; pretty funny stuff. And I loved how he pretty much denies the moral of the song in the next scene, when they're leaving to confront Major Force ("That was just a song. This is real life, man!"). Also pretty funny how Captain Atom never learned anything from his experience here - but overall not a remarkable episode.

    In "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!" the JLI hosts a party aboard the Watchtower, with the original members of the Justice Society of America being the guests of honor. The way the two generations of heroes interacted was pretty hilarious, and Aquaman was his usual funny yet awesome self. He tries to be the life of the party, entertaining the others with Atlantean songs, or by playing charades (acting out Jaws, which funnily enough nobody gets). There's also the fact that for most of the episode the JSA and JLI members keep bickering and getting into fights - prompting Aquaman to call this story "Please stop fighting, it's getting awkward". In the end the two teams of super-heroes work together to help Batman stop Ra's al Ghul's newest plan to fire a fusion rocket into the Sun; Aquaman gets another neat scene when he uses his powers to take control of Ra's giant squid and make it change sides during the fight. All in all, a pretty awesome episode.

    The series finale is titled "Mitefall!" and it's an amazing conclusion to an overall terrific run. In this story Bat-Mite (the mischievous all-powerful imp from the 5th dimension who just happens to be Batman's biggest fan), gets bored with the show and plans on getting it cancelled so that a new, more serious Batman animated series would take its place. He goes to great lengths to change pretty much everything about the show, all for the worse with some pretty hilarious results - Batman gets a wife and daughter, he has a talking Bat-luge, he uses guns, Ace the Bat-Hound's nephew is added to the cast, John DiMaggio (Aquaman's voice actor) is replaced by Ted McGinley, etc. just to name a few. I won't really try to review everything that happens in this episode because there's just so much stuff going on (and so little of it actually concerns Aquaman) - and it works incredibly well as a finale. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I think it's impossible to watch this and not like at least part of it. If you've seen this episode before, well go watch it again.

    As for Aquaman, in the beginning of the episode (before his voice changed), he teamed-up with Batman to try and stop Gorilla Grodd from stealing an ocean laboratory. Grodd does manage to learn how to create a weapon that can turn people into bananas, so that ape-kind will never go hungry again. The "new" Aquaman (listed as Aquaman 2 in the closing credits) returns to help Batman stop the primate. They are aided along the way by Ambush Bug - the only one aware of Bat-Mite's meddling, who manages to return everything to normal by the end of the episode, including bringing back Aquaman's normal voice. As a small side-note, Bat-Mite mentioned that he considered Aquaman the show's break-out character - something I agree with, and I thought it was nice the show acknowledged this (if it was ever going to be addressed, this episode where the fourth wall was broken every other scene had to be the place). Once everything is back to normal, all the heroes and villains featured on the show gather together to say goodbye to the viewers. A very touching moment.

    [​IMG]
    Like I said before, this show's version of Aquaman is my favorite animated incarnation of the character. He was just awesome, and pretty much everything he did turned out great, with a perfect mix of comedy and adventure. His portrayal here was radically different from anything done in animation before, and hasn't been surpassed yet (though to be fair, it's still relatively recent), and I don't think it will be anytime soon. I liked the DCAU version of Aquaman, he was great there as well and I don't really have any complaints about the way he was used, but this brave and bold Aquaman just felt so much more entertaining. And I loved the way he interacted with the other heroes; not just Batman, but pretty much everyone else he encountered throughout the show (most notably the Atom, I guess - their chemistry was great). I've never been a huge fan of the character but this show has really changed my opinion on him. Outrageous!

    Next time: Aquaman on Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and The DC Super Friends!
     
  16. Road to Gotham

    Road to Gotham Well-Known Member

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    At first I had a Luke-Warm reaction to the B:TB&TB Aquaman. He seem too out there.
    Plus I thought he tought time away from Adam Strange and the Atom.
    After viewing "Aquaman Outrageous Adventure" I warmed up quite bit to Arthur and his outsize personality.
    Actually this episode is in my top 10 favorites.
    Here after I was a big Fan of the this version of Aquaman.
    The Opener with the Sit-Com Currys was a delight.
    Also Aquaman has a fine singing voice.
     
  17. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths was released straight to DVD in 2010, as the 7th animated movie in the ever-growing line of DC Universe Animated Original Movies released by Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation. Directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu, the movie was inspired by several parallel universe stories from the comics published over the years, with a script written by the late great Dwayne McDuffie - a script which originally would have placed the events of this story somewhere between the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series. While it would have been nice to revisit the DCAU continuity even for a little bit, I think this movie works as a stand-alone story as well. It's a pretty amazing movie and has some very cool stuff in it.

    The story really begins when, convinced by a heroic Lex Luthor to intervene and help the people of Earth 2 by standing against the likes of Ultraman, Super Woman and Owlman, most of the JL members (except for Batman) travel to the parallel universe to battle the Crime Syndicate - their evil doppelgangers. There are lots of characters appearing in this movie; mostly bad guys, leading to some great action scenes but also a couple of new recruits for the JL, including the character this retrospective is all about, Aquaman. His design here looked pretty good, though I thought he looked (and sounded) a little too young compared to the other heroes. His one line of dialogue was apparently provided by Josh Keaton, who also voiced the Flash in this movie. Aquaman only appears in a couple of scenes in the entire movie - a grand total of like four minutes, but his fight aboard the JL Watchtower was pretty great.

    [​IMG]
    When Super Woman (the evil version of Mary Marvel) arrives in our dimension with her group of Made Men (Captain Super, Captain Super Jr. and Uncle Super - parallel versions of Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Uncle Marvel, respectively) looking for the device the heroic Lex Luthor hid aboard the Watchtower, Batman finds himself outmatched and outnumbered by the villains, until he teleports a group of heroes to aid him in the fight: Aquaman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Firestorm and Red Tornado. Aquaman is caught off-guard by Captain Super at first, prompting Batman to believe he is much too weak to win the fight. After proudly replying "That remains to be seen", Aquaman surprisingly proves him wrong by managing to knock his opponent around quite easily. It's a short but sweet fight, especially the moment Aquaman punches Captain Super through the ceiling, into an upper floor of the base. Unfortunately he is left unconscious by Uncle Super towards the end of the fight.

    That's about it; it isn't anything spectacular, but I liked how Aquaman was used here. He's also briefly seen at the end of the movie when the JL members return home and Batman introduces the heroes he has allowed access to their headquarters. There's also another neat Aquaman-related scene when the Martian Manhunter recalls, via a flashback his early days with the League. Aquaman has apparently aided them before as well, as we briefly see a recreation of the cover of the comic The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960), featuring the first appearance of the JL fighting off Starro. And this time, as opposed to the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode I mentioned in a previous part, they used the correct heroes. I don't recall the movie featuring any evil Aquaman counterpart in the parallel world, so this is about all I have to say about the film.

    In the end it's a great movie and a lot of fun to watch. Every main member of the League gets at least one cool moment, though I think Martian Manhunter is the only one who actually had his own mini-arc in the middle of the movie, and I liked that. J'onn is a pretty awesome character and I think it'd be great if someday he'll get his own movie or something. I admit I'm probably a bigger fan of J'onn than I am of Aquaman (though I can't think of any DC hero I don't like at least a little). Perhaps I'll try writing a retrospective on him in the future... would anyone be interested in reading something like that?

    Also in 2010 Warner Bros. Animation produced the DC Super Friends, an animated short inspired by and meant to promote the Imaginext line of toys made by Fisher-Price. Somewhat similar in style and tone to Marvel's Super Hero Squad Show, though a little more serious and not as "retro" (for lack of a better word) as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the short does manage to re-create and slightly update the feel of the classic Super Friends toons. A DVD with the cartoon was included with the toy sets, and the short has been available online for a while now - you can find it on a very popular video streaming website (as far as I'm aware, it was uploaded by the company's official account so it should be alright to mention this). Check it out if you haven't seen it before - or even better, go buy some of these toys, if they're still available; I'd say it's a pretty fun way to spend 17 minutes.

    [​IMG]
    Aquaman can be seen in the opening credits of the cartoon... and that's it. He's nowhere to be found in the actual story, which I found pretty funny. The same can be said about Wonder Woman and Robin. On the other hand, while Hawkman and Cyborg were only briefly seen in the intro they had large roles in the episode. Aquaman's design here looks okay I guess. There really isn't that much to talk about him here, as he is basically non-existent throughout the episode. He doesn't do anything, has no lines, nothing. The cartoon (titled "The Joker's Playhouse") is lots of fun, though - the story sees the Joker teaming-up with various other super-villains (like Gorilla Grodd and Mr. Freeze), and taking over the Hall of Justice. The heroes split up to take down their enemies, and learn to work together in order to defeat Joker's giant robot. It would have been fun if this ended up as a full-fledged animated series.

    Next stop: Aquaman on Young Justice!
     
    #17 RoyalRubble, Nov 13, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2013
  18. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Young Justice premiered in fall 2010 on the Cartoon Network, as a new more-serious (perhaps a little too serious at times) animated series featuring the DC Universe characters, set on the fictional Earth-16 and pretty much introducing a whole new continuity with little to no connection to other shows, movies or comics at the time. Created by Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman, the show was pretty amazing overall and continues to have a big fan-base even today, after its cancellation earlier this year (with only two seasons totaling 46 episodes airing in that time-frame, thanks to the very long breaks the network had between episodes). The series was followed by a tie-in comic book, which as far as I understand revealed more about the characters, stuff that didn't we didn't get to see on the show and was canon to the main story; unfortunately I haven't had a chance to follow this comic so the rest of this retrospective will focus exclusively on the animated series.

    The Justice League was obviously present in this show, originally consisting of 16 members (16 is a number which popped up occasionally throughout the show, sometimes when you least expected it), with Aquaman, voiced by Phil LaMarr, being one of its members. His design here looked pretty great. I really liked how the characters looked on this show; despite their overall simple designs, each one had a lot of subtle details you might miss the first time you see them. Aquaman's designation within the League was 06, apparently meaning he was the sixth hero who showed up to stop the Appellaxian invasion which lead to the forming of the JL in the first place. His powers and abilities remain the same as with previous versions of the character.

    While pretty much each JL member had a couple of awesome moments during the show's run, the story more often than not focused on a team consisting of their "don't call them sidekicks" young (hence the title of the show) partners, originally only Aqualad (Kaldur'ahm, not Garth the classic one from the comics and a few cartoons), Kid Flash, Robin and Speedy, with many others joining the team along the way. Kaldur possesses pretty much the same abilities as Aquaman (minus the telepathic control of sea life-forms), and also has his water bearers, weapons that allow him to create weapons from water. Kaldur definitely gets more screen-time than his mentor, just like all the other teenage heroes. There are some neat story-arcs surrounding him, like his ascension to leader of the Team during the first season and his betrayal and joining the villains during the second season.

    [​IMG]
    Other members of Aquaman's supporting cast were also featured in various episodes: Garth (though not as Aqualad), Tula (one of the many Aquagirls from the comics), his wife Mera and a few other Atlanteans who appear and are apparently also from the comics but I couldn't be bothered to remember their names. In the second season, following Kaldur's "betrayal" (I'll get to that later), Aquaman's new partner is Lagoon Boy. As for villains, we get to see Ocean Master as a member of the Light (Project Cadmus' Board of Directors, and the main villains throughout the series) and Black Manta, who proves to be awesome every time he appears. Manta would eventually replace Ocean Master on the Light's ruling council, in the second season, though the details of what exactly happened to the latter were never revealed.

    Aquaman is present in a number of episodes during the first season, but since he doesn't always actually do anything worth mentioning I'll just comment on his most notable appearances. First off, we have the series premiere - the two-part episode titled "Independence Day" (with the 2nd part being re-titled "Fireworks" when the episodes aired in re-runs separately). At the start of the episode we get to see four of the main heroes of the League and their sidekicks battling various ice-themed villains all over the world; Aquaman and Aqualad are seen defeating Killer Frost at Pearl Harbor. The story begins with the sidekicks finally being allowed access to the JL headquarters, something they've been waiting for ages. When an emergency call concerning Wotan prompts all the heroes present to leave the Hall of Justice, the young sidekicks (minus Speedy - long story) are left alone in the building. Wishing to prove to their mentors they are ready to take on bigger threats themselves, the trio leaves to put out a fire at Cadmus Labs. There they encounter and free Superboy, Superman's clone who by the end of the story agrees to join the teenagers on their team. Aquaman is seen again towards the end, when he arrives with the other Leaguers and agrees to let his protege form the Team, which will act under Batman's orders.

    The essential episode this season every Aquaman fan should watch is "Downtime" (and Aquaman isn't even present for the entire episode). In this story Kaldur returns to Atlantis, and reunites with his friends Garth and Tula. There's a lot of stuff going on - a neat history lesson on how Ocean Master was defeated (interestingly the villain managed to hide his real identity perfectly, as Orm is still a member of the royal family and apparently on good terms with his brother), Aquaman announcing that Mera is pregnant (though we'll probably never find out what will happen to the baby), lots of cool underwater action scenes once Black Manta and his army attack the city and take the recently discovered Starro fossil (which will play a big role in the season finale, once the Light manages to fabricate the so-called StarroTech), etc. The design of Atlantis's capital city of Poseidonis looked pretty cool, as did most of its inhabitants - their designs were pretty creative. Aquaman is absent from the main battle this episode since he was called in to help the Justice League on another mission, leaving towards Tokyo Bay. Not surprisingly once he leaves, Black Manta makes his move and attacks the city. While it would have been nice seeing Aquaman fight alongside the others, pretty much all the Atlanteans seen partake in some really cool action sequences. Bonus points for adding dialogue in Atlantean for a couple of scenes at the beginning, loosely based on ancient Greek - it made the setting seem more realistic.

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    Aquaman's next appearances on the show are basically nothing more than a series of brief cameos. In "Homefront", he is seen towards the end of the episode alongside other members of the League helping the kids recover from Red Tornado's attack. In "Revelation", he is paired with Martian Manhunter to fight Poison Ivy's plant creatures and save the civilians in Paris, France. He appears again at the end of the episode together with the rest of the Justice League to save the Team from the Injustice League. In "Coldhearted", Aquaman works alongside Batman, the Flash, Aqualad and Robin to stop one of four flying ice fortresses. The episodes are quite good; I can't really do them justice by just mentioning the scenes which concerned Aquaman from them.

    In "Agendas", Aquaman attends a Justice League meeting aboard the Watchtower concerning the team's possible expansion, and to select its new members. Suffice to say I enjoyed this storyline a lot more than the episode's sub-plot, featuring Superboy being tricked by Lex Luthor into returning to Cadmus Labs where he meets his Match - Superman's original but unstable clone. During the JL meeting, Aquaman objects to Green Arrow's nomination of Red Arrow (formerly known as Speedy) to join the League. On the other hand, Doctor Fate considers Aqualad ready to join. It's a pretty awesome debate overall, with some neat commentaries on each candidate.

    We get to see which heroes were chosen to join the Justice League in "Usual Suspects": the Atom, Doctor Fate, Icon, Plastic Man and Red Arrow. Aquaman appears in only a couple of scenes, at the beginning of the episode (at the press conference held to introduce the new members to the public), and at the end - when he alongside all the other Leaguers are implanted with mind-control StaroTech implants, by Red Arrow who is revealed to be the mysterious mole the Team has been trying to identify for half the season. Not only that, but he was never aware of what he was doing for the most part, as he's revealed to be only a clone of the original Roy Harper, created by the Light in order to infiltrate the Justice League. Vandal Savage teleports to the Watchtower, and all the heroes present (except for Red Arrow) bow in front of him, recognizing him as their new master. It was a pretty amazing conclusion to some of the long-running story-arcs, as well as some great mysteries about the heroes' pasts and real identities this first season offered.

    In the season finale ("Auld Acquaintance"), Red Arrow manages to escape, after being chased by mind-controlled Aquaman, Flash and Green Arrow. Later, alongside the members of the Team he returns to the Watchtower armed with a negation device for the StaroTech, to save the heroes. But first, they have to confront their mentors and any other hero present in the headquarters, leading to some amazing fight scenes, most notably the double-team of Robin and Superboy versus Batman and Superman. Aquaman, Flash and Green Arrow were subdued by Aqualad, Artemis and Kid Flash in the cargo bay where they are left out of breath and then slammed into the bay doors. In the end the day is saved (though the Light still manages to escape), but the League is surprised to learn that 6 of them were absent from Earth for 16 hours, and there's no way to know what they did under Savage's control.

    All in all, an amazing first season which managed to develop most of its characters and produced some great stories. Lots of stuff happened, and lots more stuff will happen in the next season, which to be honest I didn't find nearly as entertaining as this one. Next part: Aquaman on Young Justice: Invasion!
     
  19. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Starting with the second season the aforementioned show was re-titled Young Justice: Invasion. Taking place five years after the first season, we find that lots of things have changed: the Team expanded and got a lot of new members, some of the previous members joined the Justice League, Dick Grayson took on the codename Nightwing, Tim Drake became the third Robin, Wally West and Artemis continued their relationship and quit being super-heroes, Impulse arrived from the future to stop an impending invasion (hence the subtitle "Invasion"), etc. It feels kind of confusing at first but along the way as more stuff is explained it mostly makes sense. This season offers us some more great stories, but mostly focuses on the Reach's plans to invade Earth. The missing 16 hours brought up in the previous season finale are also addressed, and as a result the six members of the Justice League who were mind-controlled by Vandal Savage into pretty much destroying the planet Rimbor, as well as a couple of others leave Earth to stand trial for their "crimes". Aquaman remains on our planet, though he won't be seen that much this season. As I mentioned earlier, this season he gets a new partner, Lagoon Boy (who actually had a cameo back in "Downtime") who joins the Team and starts an awkward relationship with Miss Martian, who broke up with Superboy. This season is six episodes shorter than the first, and it mostly focuses on serialized story-telling with a pretty amazing story. There are plenty of twists to the story though (up to the point it got a little boring, to be honest), but overall it's still good.

    Probably the most notable change concerns Aqualad, who has also quit the team, but has joined the bad guys, specifically Black Manta who is revealed to be his biological father. Interestingly, Aquaman knew about Kaldur's heritage but hid the truth from the young hero. This was just one of the reasons Kaldur joined the Light, the other significant reason being the death of Tula (who became Aquagirl sometime between the seasons, joined the Team and was killed - apparently Kaldur blames both super-hero teams for not doing anything to save her life). It's never really explained what exactly happened, but the bottom line is she died. I wasn't too impressed by her brief scenes back in season one, so I can't say I was really looking forward to seeing her again (I didn't exactly wish she were dead either, though). As the story progresses it's revealed that Kaldur was actually an undercover agent as part of a very elaborate plan Nightwing put together, to infiltrate and eventually stop the Light once and for all. I'd say Aqualad left a better impression on me as a villain (even though he was faking it), than he did as a hero. Along the way the plan gets more and more complicated with the addition of Artemis faking her death and joining Kaldur as Tigress, Miss Martian not knowing about any of this attacking and severely damaging Kaldur's brain, etc. I don't really want to list all the stuff that happens this season, because 1. it's too complicated, 2. not all of it actually concerns Aquaman, 3. I'm guessing most people reading this already know what I'm talking about, and 4. I wouldn't want to spoil some of this stuff for anyone who hasn't seen the episodes yet.

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    As with the previous part of this retrospective, there really isn't all that much stuff to talk about regarding Aquaman. He appears in a bunch of episodes, but mostly as a background character, with only maybe two great moments during the entire season. His first appearance here is towards the end of the season premiere, titled "Happy New Year!". He is seen alongside the other members of the Justice League, and the now senior members of the Team, arriving to see the results of the mission the newest recruits just completed - mirroring the scene from the previous season premiere.

    Aquaman isn't the only hero who gets to team-up with his new partner in the episode "Alienated", as the episode features a joint operation by the JL and the Team, to travel to Malina Island and end the Light's partnership with the alien race the Kroloteans. This is probably my favorite episode this season; seeing all the heroes in action was amazing. Aquaman, alongside Lagoon Boy. Batman, alongside Batgirl, Nightwing and Robin III. Martian Manhunter, alongside Miss Martian. Superman, alongside Superboy. Wonder Woman, alongside Wonder Girl. I would have loved if there were more episodes featuring entire "families" of super-heroes, like this. Aquaman and Lagoon Boy were apparently Beta Squad during this operation, and we once more hear some Atlantean dialogue at the start of their mission.

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    We get to see some pretty amazing action scenes, as the heroes work their way through the Manta troopers and the Krolotean's mechs. As for Aquaman, he gets some great moments as well, like confronting Kaldur and discovering that he truly has joined his worst enemy. Some pretty neat fight scenes follow, as both Aquaman and Lagoon Boy try to subdue Kaldur, but without success. In the end Kaldur manages to escape, as well as the heroes before the whole island explodes. Superman stays behind, trying to communicate with the Kroloteans left behind, but doesn't manage to convince them in time. Aquaman is the one who recovers a weakened Superman from the ocean (he was injured by the explosion), and brings him back to the Team's bio-ship.

    Also present in the episode (but not on the island) was Black Manta himself, who congratulates his son on his successful mission, and then is contacted by the Light, who welcome him as their newest member, replacing "poor, disgraced Ocean Master". We never actually learn what happened to Ocean Master or why the Light would consider him that way but it doesn't really matter in the end - I thought Black Manta was pretty amazing on this show, so I was glad he'd appear more often from this point onward. His rivalry with another amazing villain, Deathstroke was one of the highlights of this season for me.

    Following a similar pattern as in season one, Aquaman's next appearances are a series of brief cameos. In "Before the Dawn", Aquaman is present alongside Captain Atom on the JL Watchtower, watching the press conference which made the Reach's presence on our planet known to the general public, with the aliens claiming to have peaceful intentions, co-incidentally after the JL acquired enough proof, but before they could expose them. In "War", Aquaman can be seen together with other heroes once again aboard the Watchtower, this time monitoring the Warworld approaching Earth. Aquaman and Nightiwng also coordinate the teams sent to the Warworld to stop it. There's also a neat scene where during a news report, images of Aquaman and Red Tornado are shown; the two heroes helped rescue civilians on the coast line, where the Warworld's gravitational influence caused mini-tidal waves. After successfully turning off the Warworld, in "Intervention", Aquaman can be seen alongside the Atom and the Flash guarding the Crystal Key, the device that can re-activate the artificial planet and allow anyone who yields it control over all its weapons.

    Most of the story-arcs developed this season are tied-up in "Summit", the episode with the most plot twists and some really great surprises. Basically the heroes and villains compete to see who can trick the others the more times. Faked deaths, heroes impersonating villains, and other normal stuff like that. Nightwing's master plan comes to an end, with Aqualad returning to his life as a super-hero, Artemis returning to life (sort of, she never actually died), the Reach and the Light being defeated, with a couple of the latter's organization actually getting captured. Once everything seems to be over with, the heroes return to the Watchtower, where Aquaman can be seen congratulating Kaldur for everything he has managed. Kaldur also regains leadership of the Team, as Nightwing steps down as leader. Meanwhile, the escaped members of the Light defeat the heroes that were guarding the Warworld, activate it and leave Earth's orbit with it. The unconscious heroes are transported via a Hush Tube back to the Watchtower, just as the aforementioned Aquaman and Aqualad moments finished.

    The series finale is titled "Endgame". In this final story, Black Beetle has activated Magnetic Field Disruptors all over the globe, which generate kinetic energy that would eventually lead to the destruction of the planet's magnetic field. All heroes split up into squads of two to take care of the Disruptors, with tech strangely enough developed by Lex Luthor; unfortunately there's not enough time in this episode to show us each squad's mission. Though thanks to Greg Weisman's generosity revealing a bunch of deleted scenes from this episode, we learn that Aquaman was paired with Tempest (formerly know as Garth), as part of Eta Squad. Aqualad was paired with Lagoon Boy, as part of Sigma Squad, in the middle of the Atalantic Ocean - also giving them a chance to work out their differences while saving the world, and thankfully we get to see this noteworthy scene. In the end the day and the planet are saved, but not without a price: Kid Flash has ceased, because of absorbing too much kinetic energy. It's a pretty well done scene, especially the aftermath showing how his closest friends and family cope with this. There's also the neat way the series ends, with Darkseid being revealed as the Light's mysterious partner. Unfortunately the show was cancelled, so we will probably never know how these events would have played out. A shame, really.

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    All in all, Aquaman was pretty good on this show. He wasn't used that much and was mostly seen as a background character but he did have some great, brief moments. He wasn't that well developed, but the same can be said about pretty much every other Justice League member. I'm not complaining though since the show focused on the teen heroes and for the most part did a great job at presenting them and developing their characters along the way. There wasn't enough time to actually feature every super-hero and put him or her in the spotlight - I understand and appreciate that. I don't mean to bash the show or anything, either. Like I said, the show is pretty amazing overall - though to be honest I'd say it's my least favorite out of the "big 3" Greg Weisman created animated series (Spectacular Spider-Man would be my first choice, if anyone was wondering) - I'm just trying to offer a detailed as possible rundown of Aquaman's appearances on the series, for all his fans (there must be some out there... right?).

    Next: Aquaman on Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox!
     
  20. JTMarsh

    JTMarsh Wing Commander

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    I thought the YJ version of Aquaman was pretty dull (possibly even more dull than the old Super-Friends version if that's possible) and not really all that deserving of Aqualad's respect (which could just as easily be said of pretty much all the JLA characters when juxtaposed with their young counterparts) but that was probably inevitable after the boisterous swashbuckler version of him from B&B or the more hotblooded DCAU version. There was also something unintentionally funny about hearing Phil Lamarr's DCAU Green Lantern voice coming out of Aquaman's mouth, like he had escaped from a bad kung fu dub.

    Well, on to the Flashpoint Paradox.
     

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