Warning: SPOILERS for Aquaman
Aquaman may be the rightful King of Atlantis, but his superpowers are no match for those of Mera, his right-hand woman. Which raises the most important question of the film: why can Mera control water when nobody else can?
As obvious a question at it will seem, it’s one that the devoted DC Comic fans won’t think to ask. In hindsight, it may be an oddity in the superhero movie genre as a whole: Mera possesses a power no other Atlantean shares, but that fact is never even raised – either in this film, or in Mera’s introduction in Justice League. That means the comic historians will have some explaining to do. And while it might seem like the source of the superpower is an easy question to answer, the truth of Mera’s water-bending is a bit more complicated.
Because Mera isn’t the only water-bender in the DC Universe, and as we’re about to explain, Aquaman could learn to control water too.
Mera’s Water Control Isn’t a Superpower
We’ll start here, since Aquaman audiences are guaranteed to see this explanation online, or hear it in conversation. And on the surface, it does appear to be the simplest explanation: Aquaman’s superpower is that he can “talk to” and manipulate sea creatures, so why would it be strange that Mera is able to manipulate water instead? But where Aquaman’s unique power has been explained in a few different ways over the years, Mera’s has one key difference. She has the power to manipulate water into blasts, draw moisture out of a human body (or their lungs), and even create weapons out of anything even containing water. That power is hers because she is a member of the Xebellian Royal Family… but that doesn’t mean it has anything to do with her DNA.
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For the record, the Aquaman movie makes this gift of the Xebellian royalty unclear by never showing Mera’s father, King Nereus, use his own mastery of water. In the comics, where Nereus is Mera’s would-be husband and not her father, he makes use of water control as often as Mera does. In director James Wan’s defense, King Nereus is never shown engaging in melee combat of any kind, instead taking ranged shots and surveying his armies in battle as one would expect of a king. But following the logic of DC Comics, King Nereus should be able to unleash his water-bending just as effectively as Mera.
But what makes the source of Mera’s power so interesting in the comics is that manipulation of water – or hydrokinesis, as it’s technically called – is that it isn’t a superpower, but a skill one must master. So yes, it really is like Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s version of water-bending. The difference is that in the modern comics, the Xebellian Royal Family aren’t the only ones who CAN control water, they’re just the only ones who know HOW to. And for those already looking to Aquaman 2… Yes, Mera could pass on the secret to help Arthur use the power, too.
Key Release Dates
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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