There has a been a movement to make Aquaman seem cool, for, I don't know, two or three decades now. It was already underway when I started working at the comic store and presumably it's still ongoing. I really couldn't tell you.
When your pitch for the last twenty-five years is "Look how EXTREME Aquaman is now! He shoots Mountain Dew out of his orifices," then you've lost control of the conversation. You can give him all the facial hair and hooks (oh, sorry, it's a harpoon. That makes it cool) you want and it's still not going to make him any less ridiculous.
Part of the problem is the contrarian streak geeks tend to have. Everyone who writes Aquaman makes him tougher and more impressive, seemingly not realizing that every previous writer has done the exact same thing in much the exact same way.
Much has been made of his "rulership" of 70% of the earth. That always struck me as something of a vacuous claim, and here's why.
Alaska is over 660,000 square miles. It's huge. By that argument, Sarah Palin had rulership over a sixth of the United States and I didn't see her toppling Darkseid. The thing is, it's 660,000 square miles of nothing and so is the ocean.
|It's about time someone made this point.|
I can declare myself the monarch of Jupiter, but unless you're actually on Jupiter, that's not going to be too impressive. And same deal with Aquaman. His telepathic control over sea life isn't going to do him much good in Boise, unless he's foiling a robbery at the local Petco. (Okay, they've amped up his telepathy in recent years too. It wasn't EXTREME enough in the past.)
Also, they're playing up his super-strength a lot too, reasoning that you've got to be strong and tough to live on the ocean floor, which is a reasonable argument, but it's quite a slippery slope once you start applying real world science to superheroes, in that the Flash could pretty much kick everyone's ass, and Batman looks even less impressive than he did before.
However, I realized when playing with my daughter's Pez dispensers tonight that any argument that one makes for taking Aquaman seriously also applies to another character who is heir to an undersea empire and dwells at the bottom of the ocean. She even talks to fishes.
|"What's that Flounder? Scuttle fell down the well?"|