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Aquaman and Thor: A Comparison
Who is Aquaman?
Aquaman (real name: Arthur Curry) is the King of Atlantis and the ruler of Earth's oceans. Born to the Queen of Atlantis and a human male, he lived his formative years on the land and eventually became the King of Atlantis after taking the throne from his evil half-brother, Orm. A founding member of the Justice League, Aquaman possesses super-strength as well as enhanced hearing, vision and smell, and he can swim at super-speed. Bullets ricochet harmlessly off him and he wields the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artefact. Furthermore, he is able to to use telepathic powers to cause any marine creature to do his bidding. He is also a founding member of the Justice League and has saved the world alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern on multiple occasions. He is becoming particularly prominent in the DC Universe due to the upcoming film "Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice" in which he will be played by Jason Momoa (Stargate: Atlantis, Game of Thrones). Furthermore, Aquaman will have his own solo movie in 2018.
So, with all this going for him, why is he such a hated character? Well, this is entirely due to his portrayal in the 1960s cartoon series "Aquaman" and the 1970s cartoon series "Super Friends". In these series, he is portrayed as a weak, pathetic character who rides a giant seahorse and talks to 'fishes'. Unfortunately, despite the various ways in which the character has been reimagined over the years, this stigma has stuck.
On the other hand, Thor is one of Marvel's most loved superheroes. Wielding the might Mjolnir, the Prince of Asgard has captured the hearts and minds of fans everywhere and the upcoming movie "Thor: Ragnarok" is almost certain to be a major cinematic success. However, there are many similarities between Thor and Aquaman, so much so that, in many respects, it almost seems that Thor is Marvel's version of Aquaman or vice versa. Following is a list of comparisons between the two superheroes.
1. They are both founding members of their superhero team
In Justice League of America #9, released in 1962, Aquaman is written in as one of the founding members of the Justice League alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. This came about following a string of alien attacks against Earth. Though the origins of the Justice League have been re-written by DC a number of times, the current continuity also has Aquaman as a founding member of the League.
In the Marvel universe, Thor is a founding member of the Avengers. In Avengers #1, released in 1963, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Wasp and Ant-Man formed the legendary superhero team in order to combat a threat posed by Thor's adopted brother, Loki.
2. They are both royalty in a mythological realm
Aquaman is the King of Atlantis, having been crowned after taking the throne from the evil Orm. Atlantis is a mythological realm first mentioned in Ancient Greek myth by Plato. Though an island in mythology, the comics have reinvented Atlantis into a vast underwater continent. Atlantis is divided into two city states known as Poseidonis (the capital) and Tritonis though the entire realm comes under the rulership of Aquaman.
Thor is the Prince of Asgard, one of the Nine Realms and home of the Asgardians. This aspect of the comics remains largely unchanged from the Norse mythology on which it is based. It is connected to Earth (Midgard) via the Bifrost and is ruled by Odin. In addition to being royalty in their realms, Thor and Aquaman must also both split their time between their duties there and their roles as superheroes on Earth.
3. They both have an evil sibling
Both Aquaman and Thor are locked in a seemingly endless struggle with an evil sibling. For Aquaman, this is Orm, also known as the Ocean Master and Aquaman's half-brother. In the current New 52 continuity, Orm was the ruler of Atlantis before Aquaman took the throne from him though this has not always been the case. Orm's primary power is magic and he can use it in a number of ways including magical bolts and telepathy.
And Thor, of course, has Loki. While not strictly a sibling, Loki often identifies as Thor's brother and they are certainly seen as such by Odin. Like Orm, Loki is often written as desiring the throne of his home realm as well as being able to use and manipulate magical energies. Loki has become one of the most popular Marvel villains thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and certainly deserves a place among the greatest villains in comic book history.
4. They both wield a mythological weapon
Aquaman's primary weapon is the Trident of Poseidon. This unbreakable weapon is a hugely powerful artefact and serves as an extension of Poseidon's power. It has a number of powers including, but not limited to, controlling any body of water, conjuring ice and cold, dispersing energy and conjuring water and storms. The weapon is based on the trident used by the god Poseidon in Greek mythology.
Thor wields the mighty Mjolnir. Like the Trident of Poseidon, Mjolnir is also an actual mythological weapon and was believed by the Norse to be used by Thor, their god of thunder. Mjolnir is capable of energy manipulation/conjuration and weather manipulation like Aquaman's trident, though it has a host of other abilities including allowing Thor to fly and even to produce and control cosmic energy.
5. They both have the ability to channel lightning and cause storms
Whilst this ties into point number 4, I have chosen to place it as a separate point as the ability to control the weather and channel lightning is an integral part of Thor's character. Furthermore, the ability to channel lightning does not directly follow on from the fact that they both wield mythological weapons. On multiple occasions, Aquaman has shown the ability to call upon devastating storms and channel lightning through his trident.
Thor is, of course, known for his ability to control lightning and storms and often uses this ability in a fight. Ultimately, both Poseidon and the the Norse thunder god had the ability to manipulate the weather to devastating effect.
Whilst there are a few other minor similarities between the characters including the relatively similar love interests (Marvel's Lady Sif and DC's Mera), there are some notable differences between the two characters. Aquaman is half-human and only based on a god whereas Thor is a full god. Furthermore, Aquaman's primary power comes from the sea whereas Thor is a lot more rounded and can function at full strength in a number of different environments. There are some who see Wonder Woman as a better comparison with Thor due to her ties with an historical pantheon of gods though Wonder Woman does not have as many of the comparisons listed above.
There are obviously a few more differences between the two characters but, in my opinion, the similarities Thor and Aquaman share are striking. What do you think? Could Aquaman be DC's version of Thor or vice versa?