Aquaman is a very difficult superhero to wrap your head around. He is nearly powerless on land, so he has to be in the water to use his complement of superpowers: underwater breathing, super-fast swimming, and telepathic control of sea life. However, there's not a lot of crime underwater. Most criminals can't breathe underwater, to say nothing of the people they wish to victimize. So, where does that leave the super-powered fish guy?
You can only fight evil industrialists and unscrupulous yacht owners for so long before you run out of things to do, so DC made old Arthur Curry into the King of Atlantis. O.K., now we're getting somewhere. You've got a kingdom of people living under the sea, you've got your political intrigue and your devious relatives and oh god I've fallen asleep.
There's a reason that Conan stories take place before he becomes king (for the most part), and that's something writers have written about since Beowulf decided "I'm going out to fight that dragon, what's the worst that could happen?" And that is that kings don't do anything. They're already the boss. What fun is it to read about a superhero who has an army of guys to go take care of his problems for him? "Oh dear, here comes Ocean Master! Maybe I'll send my army of guys after him." And then he got married! Married guys usually try to stay out of trouble, their wives don't like sharing them with life-threatening peril (I'm speaking from personal experience).
You know what? I really don't think sending a bunch of innocent whales and squid to fight your battles is cool, Aquaman. What would be cool is sending a small army of angry great white sharks to fight your battles for you, but your battles wouldn't end in your villains going to jail so much as it would end in them floating in chunks in your army's poop.
I am torn whether or not children should read that, pun intended.
Aquaman, predictably, has a bit of a weiner rogue's gallery. Listen to these winners: Ocean Master, The Fisherman, Black Manta. I know a ray killed Steve Irwin but it's not generally a threatening creature. One villain, a gomer named Charybdis (rolls off the tongue) managed to get Aquaman's hand off and give the old pufferfish something approaching street cred. But a hook hand is only marginally more effective in combat than a hand holding a knife, which is infinitely less deadly than any dude with a gun.
And then there's Aquababy and Aqualad. Can you imagine having a name like that? I can understand losing your hand and abdicating your throne is stressful but don't do that to a child.
Did you know that later Aquaman became a horrible slime monster and a young, handsome guy took over? Aquaman became the new guy's Yoda-style mentor. That sounds pretty good, but you're still running into the same problems as old timey Aquaman had, such as enemies with names that sound like Ocean Spray and a kingdom full of dudes who haven't invented guns yet and can't breathe on land.
I don't know what's going on with Aquaman these days; I heard he died and came back as Aquaman Classic but then got his hand ripped off again, like he's Optimus Prime and he can only do one thing. Optimus dies in every retelling, and Aquaman loses the ability to high-five.
Aquaman! That's a hard guy to wrap your head around.