(1) What are Garth's new powers?
This is the most asked of all questions, and sadly, most of his new abilities have gone unused in his appearances. As established in the mini-series, "Tempest: Prophets And Kings," Garth inherited many of his powers such as control of water temperatures directly from his father, and, furthermore, he had been in possession of these powers since childhood---he just needed Atlan to advise him of their existence and of how to utilize them. He gained additional powers after accessing his birthright through the performance of a ritual which included stabbing himself through the heart with a sacrificial dagger, for only one whose heart was completely free of malice and hatred of any kind could survive such a test. For the record, here are his known abilities:
Enhanced agility, strength, hearing and vision (most evident on dry land), limited telepathy, astral projection, control of water temperatures and of water in any form (liquid, gaseous, frozen), ability to change the course or flow of water systems, including the creation of water anomalies such as water spouts, vortices, whirlpools and tidal waves. He can cast spells and can detect the use of magic by others; he is also capable of teleportation and has the power of telekinesis.
(2) How did he get those facial scars?
This is not clear, though we know they were the result of a sacrification ceremony his mentor, Atlan, put him through as he trained as a mage. The scars were an outward visual signal of his inner torment; they healed as he came to grips with his loss of Tula and his acceptance of his "destiny" as the protector of the people of the seas. Still visible, possibly as a reminder to him of all the adversity over which he has triumphed, the scars now appear as a tattoo over his left eye.
(3) Are Arthur/Orin (Aquaman) and Garth (Tempest/Aqualad) related?
Quite likely, by a common royal lineage linked to the ancient house of King Orin I. They are not related by adoption or any other legal means. Orin is not, as is sometimes said, Garth's "adoptive father" (he never adopted him) or "step-father," since he has never even met Garth's mother, Queen Berra, let alone married her. According to Aquaman #33 (first series), Arthur had no legal guardianship or hold on the boy at all, and at no time did he refer to Garth as a "son" in the legal sense, though he clearly, at times, stepped into the role of surrogate big brother. He refers to Aqualad as his friend and junior partner, but nothing more. However, for some unknown reason, the end of the series "Our Worlds At War" alters this, wherein Arthur's return to our plain of existence culminates in him being reunited with Garth, whom he pronounces to be his "son." Continuity is a fluid thing...!
It's clear from Garth's standpoint that he always thought of Arthur as a big brother figure. He considered himself to be the "uncle" of baby AJ (Aquababy), telling his Titans teammates that the child called him "Uncle Aqualad." (See his final appearance in the original Teen Titans series). Other characters were used to illustrate the lack of connection between the two as well, including Arthur's half-brother, Orm, who, as Ocean Master, declared that Aquababy was his blood-nephew but that Garth was nothing to him, and even AJ himself (as the artificially-aged heir to the throne) declared Garth to be of no regard and banished him from his kingdom. Mera was normally plain to the point of bluntness about the situation, clearly establishing the regal status of Arthur's son over the orphaned Aqualad, and, of course, Arthur makes it even more plain as he drew the line between his partner and his son in Adventure Comics 452. (This was, however, a running theme in the first Aquaman series, even prior to AJ's birth). In the current series, Koryak makes it plain that he is Arthur/Orin's sole heir, as King Orin declares him to be Prince Koryak, the next in line for the throne (Aquaman #38, David series).
(4) How did Garth get his given name, and when?
Interestingly enough, though he first appeared way back in Adventure Comics 269, he didn't receive a "real" name (as opposed to a hero codename) until more than twenty years later, in Tales Of The Teen Titans #45. Credit Marv Wolfman with dubbing him "Garth," though no one seems to know why that name was chosen (including Marv, or so he says).
How he found out his true name has still not been revealed, but it's simple enough to conjecture: the Tempest mini-series (1996) tells us that his mother, Berra, named him Garth prior to the Poseidonian authorities banishing the infant to die by exposure on Mercy Reef. The name must have appeared on the records which certified his death sentence was carried out and most certainly would have been researched when the boy was returned to Poseidonis many years later after Aquaman found him (when Garth was around eleven years old).
From the time they lived together in the Aquacave, Aquaman gave the boy a litany of diminutive names---"Minnow," "Shrimp," "Tadpole," and "Sardine"---but never a true name, though it was the press of the upper world who dubbed him "Aqualad." Despite it being stated in Aquaman #63 (first series) that Garth discovered his name during his mini-series (Adventure Comics 453-456), that was not the case, though he did find out some aspects of his royal birth and of the demise of his father.
(5) Why was Garth abandoned, and who was responsible for it?
This part of Garth's history is the most widely misrepresented of all aspects of his origin. The usual shortcut answer has been that the Idyllists abandoned him because he had purple eyes. This was not the case and has never been a part of the origin story.
Using the latest origin (Tempest: Prophets And Kings) to unite the previous ones, here is the basic idea: King Thar of the Idyllists was murdered by his own palace guards when it was discovered that he was creating weapons of mass destruction; they wrongly assumed him to be insane and in defiance of their nation's pacifist belief structures. Thar died months before the birth of his first and only child, the prince Garth, to whom he had innately passed on much of his ancestral birthright---the mystical abilities of a sorcerer---and the sign of his royal linkage to the great mage-kings of the past: his purple eyes. (Atlan cryptically warned the ancient prophetess, Shayera, of the then-future line of babies with purple eyes in "The Atlantis Chronicles #5").
Queen Berra and her people discovered the truth behind Thar's actions soon after his murder: his elder brother, Prince Slizzath, the cruel and criminally insane heir to the throne, had threatened to free himself from the netherworld imprisonment Thar had imposed on him. He planned to use the birthright of Thar's offspring to carry out his escape and to destroy the Idyllists. The Royal Council met in Crastinus (later known as Shayeris), dissolved the monarchy and conspired with Berra to destroy her unborn child.
Since these pacifists could not willingly shed the blood of the infant, Berra was exiled to wander the outside waters far from the Hidden Valley. She found her way to the ancient homeland of her people, Poseidonis, and it was there that she gave birth. The Poseidonians were primed to murder a purple-eyed child due to their well-known xenophobia and a fear that such a child was the sign of the return of the ancient evil wizard, Garn D'anuuth, the brother of Arion. (This is strongly suggested in the John Ostrander story for "Teen Titans Spotlight On Aqualad"). Garth was taken from Berra within days of his birth and left to die many leagues from the domed city.
(6) Was Garth really afraid of fish?
In his first appearance, it is established that as a child Garth suffered from an acute fear of fish (the original reason for his exile from Poseidonis). Aquaman teaches him to play with the creatures of the sea, thereby freeing him to live a normal life. Though not much has been mentioned of this since that story, it has been reestablished as still being part of his history, most recently in The Titans #5, in which Garth admits to Damage and Argent that he was indeed afraid of fish as a child.
(7) How old is Garth?
He's approximately 26 years of age (judging by appearance, mainly). Originally, he was one of the youngest of the Titans, but time passed differently in Atlan's water dimension, artificially aging Garth about 3 years, now making him the eldest of his peers.
(8) Is Garth still considered to by "royal?"
According to the epilogue of Tempest: Prophets And Kings, the monarchy in Shayeris has been restored, and, in the dialog of the series, the Idyllists refer to him as "their king and savior."
(9) Why were Garth and Arthur fighting in JLA/Titans #2? What did the "punching bag" reference mean?
It's evident that Vic's hold on the heroes in the series enhanced or altered their emotional responses to each other, but in the case of Arthur and Garth it also brought forth some very painful aspects of their lives together. For all of the filial love they may share, their relationship has been rife with tension, distrust and violence since the very beginning. The JLA/Titans series reestablished that past while toning it down, leaving the reader with the feeling that maybe Garth, while in Vic's thrall, remembered the events of his childhood with more intensity than might have existed in truth, depicting Arthur in the epilogue as being merely a boisterous seafarer, too big and clumsy to realize that his "playful" hitting and back-slapping was indeed painful to Garth. But earlier on, as he grabs Garth's arm and tries to yank him away from his Titans "family," the pain of his treatment at the hands of his mentor is laid bare for all to see.
There are a number of references to Arthur's ill-treatment of Garth in the first Aquaman series, and prior to that in their appearances in Adventure Comics (can't recall any in Showcase at the moment). In Adventure 270 (Aqualad's second appearance), Aquaman is convinced that the boy is trying to kill him in aid of usurping his role as "King Of The Sea." He threatens Aqualad with abandonment, a cruel act for a child he knows has nowhere to go except back to Poseidonis where he isn't wanted. He later, of course, finds out that Aqualad's actions were part of planning an elaborate birthday celebration for him, and he chides himself for mistrusting the child.
Fearing his mentor's rage became a part of Aqualad's young life during his early Aquaman appearances, and that angry streak in the Sea King was recently reestablished during the "JLA: Year One" series (which takes place prior to Arthur finding Garth). Early in the first Aquaman series, Arthur suffers amnesia; this story casts him as a cruel and vicious king, hot for bloodshed. Before his memory it restored, he caused sea creatures to fight to the death for his amusement. As Mera stands by, the gentle Aqualad refuses to let his mentor continue his actions and nearly pays for this with his life, as Aquaman chases the boy and attempts to stab him to death.
Not long after Arthur became king of Poseidonis and took a wife, he and Mera found that they were to be parents, but that she and their child would die without a magical elixir only obtainable in a place so deadly that no one who had traveled there before had come back alive. Arthur, without care or concern for the young Garth, orders him to saddle up and prepare to ride on this perilous mission; nothing will stop him from saving his wife and his son and heir. (The orphan, after all, is expendable). It is also during this era of the series that Arthur is seen kicking Garth and ridiculing him in front of his playmates, further illustrating his lack of compassion where the child is concerned.
Of course, no action was more cruel than Arthur's behavior in the events of Adventure 452, in which he savagely stabbed the unsuspecting Garth and reminded him of just how expendable he was. As the fight ends, Arthur's ire at Garth's refusal to join him in a quest for Black Manta leads him to a hateful denouncement of his former partner, openly regretting ever taking the young orphan under his wing.
The Aqua-duo came to blows on several other occasions, validating Garth's remark in JLA/Titans #2, "Maybe you should have just gotten a punching bag." In issue #8 of the McLaughlin series, Garth meets Arthur at the gates of Crastinus following the boy's recovery from the coma he suffered after being attacked by the Wildebeest Society (New Titans #72). He punches angrily at his mentor (the first time he's seen initiating blows), accusing him of once again dumping him at a time when he needed Arthur's help, just as he had abandoned him several times before, most notably in Aquaman #40 (first series). They again exchanged blows in Aquaman #1 (David series), when Garth, angered by Arthur's dismissal of him, takes a swing at his former mentor and pays for it with a seriously painful kick to his mid-section. Later, in issue #36, Aquaman indulges in a bloody, gut-wrenching fantasy sequence of beating Garth to death after finding the young mage with his former live-in lover, Dolphin. And, as has happened each time before, the mutual respect shared by these two still managed to overcome the harshness of their actions toward each other, though the old firm of Aquaman and Aqualad and the kindliness of that relationship has long ceased to be.
(10) Have Garth and Berra resolved their differences?
No, not that we have seen. He was clearly angered to find that she had been party to his abandonment as a baby and that she had conspired to insure that he would never find out about his past. (She and the other Idyllists kept a watchful eye on their prince from the time Arthur found him and followed his exploits from afar). There have been no references to Garth visiting his mother or having had any exchanges with her since the end of the Tempest mini-series. He seemed resigned to have her take his rightful place on the throne of the Idyllists, though it is not made clear whether or not he has relinquished any claim to his royal birthright.
(11) How did Garth find out he is an Idyllist?
A farmer by the name of Mcaan noted Garth's purple eyes and recognized them as a trait common to some members of the off-shoot colony of religious pacifists, The Idyllists. These people had defected from Poseidonis many centuries before the present day, fearing that the warlike actions of their king would force them into military service, a violation of their non-violent beliefs. Long shunned by particularly superstitious citizens within the tight confines of Poseidonis, Garth had grown ashamed of his violet-hued eyes but had no idea they meant anything more than what the authorities had said: they were deemed a "malady," a sign of his supposed physical and mental inferiority, conclusive proof of his status as "cursed."
Mcaan's young son, Syan, had been lured away from Poseidonis several years before by the message of peace offered by a wandering Idyllist preacher; he longed to find the secret, fabled home of the pacifist race and bring his son home. Seeing Aqualad's eyes, he attacked the boy and demanded that he take him to his people. At first fearful of the man's behavior, Garth listened with growing interest to his story, fascinated to find that there were others with his "malady." The two joined forces and roamed the ocean until they found the Hidden Valley, home to the Idyllists; unfortunately, this was at a time when the city-state was under invasion, captured by the Black Manta.
(12) What about his family?
Tempest's marriage to the no longer active hero, Dolphin, is proof that there are trailer parks somewhere in Atlantis. It's sad to say, but this union was a marriage made in the hot place from the very beginning, between two incompatible people. Theirs had been a tense, uneasy union from the start, made worse by their constant quarreling (induced by writers who didn't understand either character), Dolphin's deceit and her anger with anyone who distracts Tempest from her charms, particularly Garth's friends, the Titans.
Prior to their relationship, Dolphin had been acting as Aquaman's consort during the time when Garth was away studying magic under Atlan's tutelage. Upon his return, Dolphin began making overtures in Garth's direction, never revealing to him the true nature of her relationship with Arthur. At a later date, Dolphin is seen conferring with a mysterious dark figure far away from the city-state and her pregnancy is revealed, though who the figure is and why Dolphin did not seek out a doctor in Poseidonis is left a mystery as Erik Larsen soon took over writing duties, trashed this subplot and railroaded Garth to the altar. Still, this action left the impression that there was something none too kosher about the baby she carried.
Soon afterward, Dolphin advised Tempest that she was with child, and, being a good and honorable man, Tempest opted to marry her. Angered when his fiance' finally told of her affair with Arthur, Garth knew then that he would have to face the wrath of his mentor. Eventually, Arthur accepted the union between the two and sanctioned their wedding, a grand state affair attended by their many friends.
Not long after the wedding, Dolphin gave birth. Their child, a boy* born during Atlantis' war against the island nation of Cerdia, was used by Aquaman as a symbol of peace between the two nations. He dubbed the boy "Cerdian" to illustrate the union which absorbed Cerdia into the nation of Atlantis. The baby has yet to exhibit any signs of either his mother's mixed human/dolphin genetic code or his father's mystical heritage. Additionally, the baby was usually depicted with blue eyes, not purple, meaning he was quite unlikely to be Garth's son, since all the men in Garth's line display that genetic oddity. Because of the mystery surrounding Dolphin's actions regarding her pregnancy, it has been unofficially speculated that this child may actually be Arthur's, not Garth's, but only time will tell on that count. Both Dolphin and Cerdian have been revealed to have met their demise as a result on the attack on Atlantis by The Spectre (see Titans 18)
*Note: Several references in recent DC Comics stories have referred to Cerdian as being female, which he was not. The mistake might be due to confusion over a story during the Dan Jurgens run on "Aquaman" which told a future tale of Garth's adventures with his granddaughter, Donna, a girl who looked much as he did as a child, complete with the trademark freckles from his Ramona Fradon days. (We were never told who Donna's parents were).
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