Aquaman gets a bad rap.
See, people think Aquaman is lame because the Aquman they’re thinking of is usually Super Friends Aquaman.
No, Aquaman is not lame. Yes, Super Friends Aquaman is lame. Super Friends everyone is lame. Don’t be too hard on them, though. It was the ’70s.
Regardless, thanks to Super Friends, Aquaman has gone down in pop culture as the useless dude who talks to fish while the cool superheroes do the real work.
Which means that pretty much every single writer since has been doing their utmost to establish that no, Aquaman is not, in fact, lame. With varying degrees of success. Being the guy “who talks to fish” has proven to be something of a hurdle.
However, the good writers go beyond just the fish and take the fact that he’s basically king of the ocean to its logical conclusion to establish that Aquaman is a (Aqua)man not with which to be messed.
Being able to survive the crushing pressure of the depths of the ocean must mean he’s super-resilient. He’s the warrior-king of a warrior society. He controls the oceans on a planet that’s 70% ocean. And even if his only power is “talks to fish”, there are plenty of fish capable of ruining somebody’s day, not counting the fictional sea monsters that pop up from time to time.
Also, the Justice League cartoon gave him a grappling hook hand and a beard. That was pretty cool.
Which brings us to Throne of Atlantis, which is one of the good Aquaman stories. As evidenced by the fact that this iteration of Aquaman regularly punches people (up to an including Superman) across the room.
Throne of Atlantis isn’t a standalone Aquaman story; it’s the third major story arc of the New 52-era Justice League series, which means the other members of the League are also prominently featured, as a consequence of which, the actual Atlantis aspect of the story takes a while to get going. But, man, when it gets going, it goes.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, so suffice to say that Aquaman starts off as kind of a jerk, but then gets plenty of opportunities for both character development and being awesome.
There’s also an animated adaptation of the story from the recent DC Universe Animated Movies series, which is mostly the same story, but with various liberties taken to make it better fit the medium of animation and an hour-and-ten-minutes running time. And it has a solid voice cast.
Also worth noting is that the live-action Aquaman is at least in part inspired by Throne of Atlantis – especially the main conflict between Aquaman and his evil brother Ocean Master.