Water is a natural element that goes from one extreme to another: on one side associated with birth, rejuvenation, and grace, the other side of the coin holds probably one of the most destructible natural forces known to humans. That is why water-based superheroes in comics hold an immense amount of power and can turn the tide (no pun intended) in every battle. Today, we bring you our list of the 15 best water-based superheroes currently known in DC and Marvel comics.
Old school superhero whose first appearance happened in 1939, Namor is still the most important water-based superhero in Marvel Universe. He is a mutant son of the sea captain and a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Very protective of his home, he can be pretty violent against outsiders but often goes and aids “surface dwellers” in times of crisis.
Not only does he have water-based abilities like manipulating water and more, but his superhuman strength and mutant ability of flight of Homo mermanus (a fictional race of gilled aquatic humanoids that live in the underwater kingdom of Atlantis) also makes him one of the strongest among Marvel superheroes. At the beginning of his run, in the so-called Golden Age of Comic Books, Namor, then named Sub-Mariner, was ranked top three superheroes with Captain America and Human Torch. Namor’s debut in Marvel Cinematic Universe will happen in Black Panther 2 and we really can’t wait.
Namor’s cousin, who first appeared in Marvel comics in 1947, Namora also shares her cousin’s abilities like superhuman strength and the power of flight by using the wings on her ankles. When injured, she uses water as a healing tool and can breathe, swim at superspeed underwater, and is immune to the cold and pressures of the depths.
Her epic battles alongside Namor and other Avengers are one of the best there are in Marvel Comics. Also, soon to be seen in Black Panther 2 with her cousin Namor.
She’s quite an interesting character. Namorita is a mutant clone of her mother Namora but the fact she is a clone, her powers differentiate from previous entries on this list. Besides the usual superhuman strength, durability and superspeed underwater, she also has an ability related to her emotional state that triggered her dormant Atlantean genes.
She can change the color of her skin as camouflage and excrete corrosive acid or paralyzing toxins from her skin. Founding member of New Warriors and being affiliated with superhero teams like Defenders, Secret Defenders and Fantastic Four, makes her a really important comic book character for the Kingdom of Atlantis.
After we listed multiple Marvel “Namor-named” superheroes, we’re getting to the part of the list that contains a lot of the word “aqua”. Arthur Curry aka Aquaman firstly appeared in DC comics in 1941. King of Atlantis in DC Comic Universe has some similarities with his counterpart in Marvel, however, telepathy and proficiency in magic distinguish him from everyone else.
Sacred Trident is also a part of his power kit that reminds us of another superhero or God in comics – Poseidon from Marvel. Aquaman’s affiliation with variations of Justice League and is one of the original members of those prestigious DC superheroes make him one of the most important and strongest comic book characters.
Tula Marius is from Atlantis and has the usual super powers as her colleague and namesake Aquaman. She has limited telepathic powers but her proficiency in armed and unarmed combat, politics, and diplomacy, makes her a great asset against supervillains.
When Aquaman leaves his throne to find his missing wife Mera, a dictator named Narkran takes over with his dictatorship. Unfortunately for him, Aquagirl let the rebellion against him and eventually helped Arthur to take back his rightful throne. She’s also part of the original Teen Titans and helped in taking down the H.I.V.E.
We can’t go through this list without mentioning Aquaman’s better half, Mera. She is from Xebel, a forgotten Atlantean colony inside the Bermuda Triangle. Bearing the title of Queen of the Sea, Mera also possesses great physical strength and magical powers to control water. She is also a very interesting character – her very deep comic book storylines depict Mera’s struggles of coping with anger and rage after losing her child with Aquaman in one of the DC comic book issues.
The general public knows her from DC Extended Universe film “Aquaman” where she was portrayed by Amber Heard. It will be interesting to see what is DC going to do with her character after everything that went through with the actress because Aquaman, as a character cannot be complete without Mera.
This superhero is quite different from the rest of this list because he is 100% human. With his Ph.D. in Oceanography and inventor of oceanographic equipment with his gifted intellect, Walter Newell invented an exoskeleton battle suit that grants: superhuman strength and durability, enhanced swimming speed, and electrical bolt projection via gloves.
At first look, he doesn’t seem as water-based as the rest of the entries, but his battle suit potential underwater, is second to none – is almost the same as beings who were born underwater and lived there their whole life. Teams Stingray is affiliated with such as Avengers, Defenders, Secret Avengers in Civil War, and recently Mercs for Money, where he is cooperating with Deadpool. A very interesting and powerful character that can’t come sooner to MCU.
8. Tiger Shark
A supervillain from Marvel comics named Todd Arliss is the opposite of the previously mentioned Stingray. An Olympic swimmer who, in his origin story, sought a cure for his ruined spine. After participating in the experiment by Doctor Dorcas, who cured his injured back by combining the DNAs of Namor and tiger shark, Arliss takes over the alias of the animal’s name that now he has DNA of. He’s not the same person anymore but a psychotic creature filled with motivation to take over Atlantis.
Of course, by gaining access to Namor’s DNA, they both share some abilities. However, what Namor doesn’t have are adamantium razor-sharp teeth and tiger sharks’ metamorphosis. A very interesting villain in Namor’s story and had multiple cameos in Marvel games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance from 2006.
Robert “Bobby” Drake is one of the most notable X-Men characters. His charisma and directness make him really favorable to comic book fans. As his superhero alias says, he manipulates water vapor and can change the temperature in his immediate environment to below zero degrees Celsius.
What makes him also water-based, besides him being from ice, he can survive as liquid water and water vapor as well. All in all, cryokinesis and everything mentioned makes him a valuable part of great teams like X-Men, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, Defenders, and more.
10. Tempest (Garth)
A friend and a sidekick to Aquaman, Garth, who is currently known as Tempest, is an Atlantean superhero who grew up under the guidance of Aquaman and even trained in the Atlantean school of magic. Founding member of Teen Titans, Garth has a lot to offer when it comes to his powers. Because of his Atlantean physiology, he shares some abilities with his hero, Aquaman.
However, his Idyllist heritage provided him with a great variety of magical abilities: mystic senses, telepathy, teleportation, hydrokinesis, and many more. He’s also a great diplomat and politician. Today we can watch his character in a TV show called Titans.
Previously mentioned Garth was the original Aqualad. However, in 2010, Jackson Hyde took over the mantle. He firstly appeared in the comic book issue Brightest Day #10, and later in DC Animated Universe, in the show Young Justice.
He can breathe underwater, swim at superspeed, has super strength, and can withstand underwater pressures. Furthermore, his abilities to use “hard water” and shapeshift it in different types of subjects used in battle. This particular ability was only used by Aquaman’s wife, Mera in the comics but Aqualad mastered this power as well.
One part of the Wonder Twins, Zan, after fist-bumping his sister Jayna and saying “Wonder Twins powers, activate!”, gains the ability to transform into water. Of course, with transformations like this come abilities like hydrokinesis, which allows him to manipulate water, and cryokinesis, which lets him reduce the kinetic energy of atoms, thereby decreasing the temperature and offering Zan to generate, absorb and manipulate ice.
Really interesting DC character that is part of Young Justice.
13. Orka, Killer Whale
Mostly a villain in Marvel Universe, Orka was originally an Atlantean soldier in the army of Warlord Krang, who he helped in attempts to dethrone Namor. He was experimented on by Doctor Dorcas like Tiger Shark but this time Doctor injected Orka with the killer whale DNA. Together with Tiger Shark, this duo brings disorder wherever they go.
Nemesis of Namor and the rest of the Avengers, Orka is incredibly strong. His powers consist of already mentioned Atlantean-born abilities, but his Killer Whale persona truly comes to the fore when he summons killer whales and his orca-based empowerment comes out.
Another partner of Tiger Shark, Attuma, as you guessed it, is the enemy of Namor. From his birth in the barbaric tribe of Atlanteans, Attuma stood out from the rest. He gained abilities far superior to the rest of his fellow Atlanteans.
Except for superhuman strength, agility, stamina and reflexes, and underwater perks that are similar to Namor, Attuma is also a very skilled weaponry weaver and an expert in hand-to-hand combat. In one comic book issue, Doctor Doom resurrected him and enhanced his abilities even more which propelled him to be on par with Namor.
Accidentally knocked overboard from the ship where he worked by Spider-Man, Morris Bench gained his powers from a powerful experimental generator that’s been tested in the ocean. Radiation and ocean bacteria turned him into Hydro-Man. He is an expert street fighter, has superhuman strength and durability, and can manipulate water.
We saw him in the live-action movie Spider-Man: Far From Home, where he fought Mysterio, and in the latest Spider-Man: No Way Home, where he fought Spider-Man with the rest of the villain organization, Sinister Six. A great villain that affiliates with teams like Sinister Six, and Sinister Twelve and makes him one of the most iconic Spider-Man’s Marvel villains