“What is the relationship between Aquaman, as ruler of Atlantis, and Poseidon, as god of the sea?”

On December 1st, 2014, /u/IrateGinger asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

What is the relationship between Aquaman, as ruler of Atlantis, and Posideon, as god of the sea?

In the New 52? None, so far, but when has that ever stopped us? To the Multiverse!

Now it’s true that since Flashpoint Poseidon has been only been seen in Azzarello’s amazing run, that ran from Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #1-35. That said, naturally as the Ruler of the Oceans he’s had a few run ins (swim ins?) over the years with the King of the Seas.

Poseidon looks a bit different in the New 52

For example, in Aquaman Vol. 1, #17 from 1964:

Poseidon, Olympian god of the sea, peers into the future with the help of Proteus, his court sorcerer, beholds Mera, and wishes to take her for a wife. Proteus provides Poseidon with “time pods” that allow him to travel back and forth in time. When Poseidon abducts Mera, Aquaman steals one of the Olympian’s time pods and follows him. Zeus proposes a contest to retrieve a golden apple beneath the sea, with Mera going to the winner. Despite Poseidon’s cheating, Aquaman manages to win the contest. Angered, Poseidon takes Mera and flees to Aquaman’s time. Aquaman and Aqualad follow, with the help of Zeus, and save both Mera and Poseidon from a berserk creature created by Mera. Poseidon vows to mend his ways, and Aquaman gives him a pod with which he can travel back to his normal era.

Basically a classic Silver Age story right? Thrills, spills, time travel and everyone learns an important lesson about ~~friendship~~ not kidnapping people to be your bride.

Edit: /u/harryboom correctly pointed out a tale I missed, from the 1995 Aquaman Annual* #1 which tells a bunch of short stories, each influenced by Poseidon and/or his kids:

In 1995 DC was running a series of ‘Year One’ books that told stories from the first adventuring days of its superheroes, and Aquaman Annual #1 was part of that. The story involves a group of thieves that find Aquaman’s secret cave. In the cave they find a diary. One of the thieves begins reading the diary in hopes that it will will reveal hidden treasure. Instead, it tells of three chapters in Aquaman’s life.

The first chapter is about how Aquaman first met Princess Diana (later Wonder Woman) when he tried to save her from the unwanted advances of the god Triton … The second chapter of the Annual … is definitely the comic relief part of the story – it deals with the first ‘date’ between Aquaman and Mera, and the hand that Poseidon’s sons Eryx and Eros (not to mention Aqualad) had in the matchmaking.

The third chapter is the fallout of Aquaman’s relationship with Mera which has angered the god Poseidon – resulting in a devastating tropical storm in the Bahamas. When Aquaman is pinned under a tree, he’s rescued by Superman – the first time the two characters meet. This chapter … deals with Aquaman and Superman as both superhuman beings, but also as victims of even greater ‘gods’.

The fourth and final chapter … has Poseidon confront Aquaman directly, while Mera is pregnant and in labor with complications. This is by far the darkest chapter and reads like a Greek tragedy. And it shows us just why Aquaman, a character that seems to have everything, is such a brooding hero.

As /u/harryboom put it, “Arthur had promised Mera that he wouldn’t leave the palace but Poseidon came and told him that a whale that had helped him when he was younger was about to be killed by a whaling ship and force Aquaman to make a choice between saving him and keeping his word to Mera. Aquaman stayed, the whale died, and Poseidon sunk the whaling ship.”

Let’s go further into the dark days of the 90s, with a tale from Aquaman Vol. 5 #34 from 1997:

Aquaman issues a challenge to Triton, God of the Tides, in one-on-one combat. Presiding over this epic contest is Triton’s father, Poseidon. While Aquaman struggles beneath the power of Triton, Poseidon chastises him, unwittingly, bolstering Aquaman’s determination and enabling him to deal Triton a fatal blow. Poseidon is stunned. For although a God cannot be truly killed through conventional means, Aquaman’s victory is nothing short of miraculous. Poseidon decrees that the humiliation of a God is something that no mortal should ever play witness to, so as punishment, he blinds Aquaman.

It gets even better in the next issue, #35:

…Aquaman has been rendered blind by the vain Poseidon for daring to look upon the death of a god. Aquaman tells Poseidon to go to Hell, but Poseidon merely laughs at him and disappears.

I don’t remember how it ends, but Poseidon doesn’t seem to be involved and Aquaman seems to have his sight back in #36 so I guess it all worked out? But only kinda! 10 issues later, in issues #44-45 it all came to a head again:

Meanwhile, Triton – anger over his loss to Aquaman and the contempt his father has for him – kills Poseidon and seizes most of his power. He approaches the Mother of Monsters for aid against Aquaman … Aquaman is stabbed in the battle, and his soul travels to the Greek Underworld. He manages to fight his way in to seeing Hades and convinces Hades to allow him and Poseidon back to the land of living. Poseidon takes back his power from Triton before killing his son and casting his trident at Aquaman’s feet.

Now, that brings us to an interesting point – in that sometimes Aquaman’s trident is referred to as the Trident of Poseidon:

The Trident of Poseidon is an unbreakable three-pronged leister that serves as an extension of the God’s own power. It can be used for base offensive purpose, but can also be used for a variety of mystical effects, such as cleaving a spatial aperture in the middle of the ocean. The trident is capable of controlling any body of water, creating water elementals, speed ships and other water vehicles with water, create fogs and storms of high intensity, summon waves of water to propel him at great speeds, and create earthquakes by increasing water pressure. It can manipulate and conjure water, as well as disperse energy in the form of bolts and forcefields.

It should be noted though that Aquaman has also at times wielded the Trident of Neptune, named after Poseidon’s Roman counterpart – gods which DC seems far less interested in:

The Trident is a magical weapon that grants its wielder great power and the divine right to rule the sea. The original Trident of Neptune was forged by the cyclopes out of admantine and Neptune’s own essence. It can manipulate and conjure water, as well as disperse energy in the form of bolts and forcefields. The Trident of Neptune may be used by his chosen champions, and was most recently wielded by Aquaman. The Trident beholds a vast number of magical powers such as the power to command the sea (making tidal waves or whirlpools or even making columns of water to stand on), control the weather (summoning rain or storms or creating rainbows), unleash blasts of lightning, transform living creatures into other forms, and it can also make things disappear.

Neither of these should be confused with his current, New 52 trident which is one of the Relics of Atlantis, artifacts that form a set with his new team The Others each carrying one and most of their arcs so far in Aquaman and the Others concerning them, their power and their history. While it’s functionally the same thing – and has even been called the Trident of Poseidon – it’s history is now tied in with the ancient king of Atlantis, Atlan, and no longer an actual diving tool of the gods, apparently.

Flash Fact!
You may notice that the ‘Relics of Atlantis’ above is not a hyperlink – this is because apparently no wikis love Aquaman enough to be up to date, even the Aquaman wiki. He’s the only major character I’ve seen on the DC wiki too whose New Earth and Earth Prime (pre and post-Flashpoint) versions have to share the same page!)

Anyway, at this point I’m rambling, but while the Greek gods mostly concern themselves with Wonder Woman, over the decades they have seen fit to mess with the outrageous ruler of Atlantis. They mostly just ignore one another though.

Hope this helps! :)

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