Sea-based heroes get no respect, you guys. Even less than Rodney Dangerfield, and he got exactly zero respect on a daily basis. Despite all that, though, there’s something about these underwater heroes that keep drawing us back. The Little Mermaid may want to go where the people go, but we want to live under the sea with these seven heroes:
7. Monkey D. Luffy
The rubber-limbed leader of the Straw Hat Pirates may not strictly be a superhero, but he’s probably more famous than pretty much any hero on this list. One Piece, the ongoing manga series that depicts Monkey and crew searching for the fabled, titular treasure, has sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, and each new volume sells more than the last. Monkey desperately wants to be King of the Pirates – and maybe he will be, someday. Until then, he’s a stretchy-faced maniac.
Okay, so not strictly a comic book character, though she’s appeared in plenty of comics; Katara is a powerful Waterbender, as seen in Avatar: The Cartoon, Not The Terrible Movie. Strong headed, tough, and good, Katara joins up with the Last Airbender to restore peace to the realm – and develop her powers of water control along the way.
5. Aspen Matthews
The star of Michael Turner’s top selling book Fathom, Aspen is raised as a human, but actually a member of an underwater race called The Blue, who have the ability to control water. She’s also half “the Black,” which means she has a bunch of other powers, and prophecy, unite the races, blah, blah, blah. You know the drill, but what makes this series – and character – unique is that its one of the few original properties from the late, great Michael Turner.
After the Cuban Missile crisis causes the destruction of Atlanta (Atlantis, Atlanta – get it?) a race of mutated sea people join together to form the might Sea Devils! Redfin was a manta ray, content to just chill with his undersea buds, until a giant crab killed his father. Then it was all action, in the classic Tangent manner! Okay, fine, so he’s existed in a total of one comic. But come on, he’s a teenage manta ray – that’s just cool
A relatively new creation, Ian Churchill’s Marineman is only on its third issue, but already is way more fun – and way less complicated – than the big two versions of the character. Steve Ocean is a marine biologist who dresses up as “Marineman” for his nature show (basically a super-buff Jacques Costeau) – except he actually also has sea-based superpowers, able to swim for a long time underwater, with super strength and super lungs. What makes this title all the better is that Churchill knows a ton about actual marine biology, packing fun facts and information into the comic. A superhero book set in the real world, with a sea based character who doesn’t suck? Weird.
Oh boy, where to start? One of DC’s many famous continuity sink-holes, Arthur Curry has had so many origins, we’ll just recap the general basics. Usually, he’s the son of a sea captain, and either a mermaid, or just a regular human, and given a serum that allows him to breathe under water. He’s also – most times – king of the Atlanteans. Sometimes, including right now, he only has one hand, which occasionally is replaced with a hook, a magical water hand, or he’s just killed off so we don’t have to deal with it. He, like Namor, is a bit of a jerk, usually. Also, one time, he was a guy with an octopus face and barnacle arms, but that may not be in continuity anymore. He has a wife – Mera, and assorted young boys who call themselves Aqualad. He can also talk to fish, but you probably knew that.
1. Namor The Sub-Mariner
It’s always a tight race between Namor McKenzie and Arthur Curry (see number two), but we’ve always had more affection for the biggest jerk in the Marvel Universe. Born to an Atlantean princess, and a sea captain, Namor has the ability to live on land or water. He can also fly through the air, talk to fish, and provide The Invisible Woman with a viable romantic choice to her husband Reed Richards. One of the first antiheroes in comics, Namor has been both an antagonist, and an ally to most people in the Marvel Universe. One of the most complicated characters in comics, period.