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The science of Aquaman
September 13, 2012 5:09 PM   Subscribe

The science of Aquaman (previously: 1, 2)
posted by Egg Shen (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
But does it cover the construction of the trojan horse/cake?
posted by pompomtom at 5:29 PM on September 13, 2012


I don't get Aquaman hate.

(Oh, New 52 Aquaman? Yeah. Carry on).
posted by Mezentian at 5:40 PM on September 13, 2012


One of the comments on the third linked article is just great:

Wouldn’t it have been cool if DC had rebooted Aquaman as the diminished male consort of Mera, and given her all the powers, with him just hanging off her (and a backstory for that)? Osedax, Xylophaga and deep-sea angler fish can’t all be wrong…

It's pretty much already the case.
posted by painquale at 5:41 PM on September 13, 2012


I haven't looked yet, but I have to assume this is about the scientific properties of vacuum.

Because Aquaman suuuuuuuuuucks!
posted by cortex at 5:46 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, there are two problems with Aquaman’s plan. First, anglerfish use their bioluminescence to lure prey while hatchetfish use it to camouflage themselves. Neither produces enough light to see by, even for an Atlantean.

Now, really, how do we know how Atlanteans see? I mean, maybe Aquaman summoned those anglerfish so the artist could see to draw! Ever think of that Mr. Marine Scientist Smart Guy?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:48 PM on September 13, 2012


Sorrry, Dr. Marine Scientist Smart Guy. It never pays to be impolite.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:49 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never underestimate Aquaman; according to AskMe, he can defeat a supertanker.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:56 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Costner was magical.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:01 PM on September 13, 2012


with him just hanging off her

Remoraman?
posted by yoink at 6:04 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because Aquaman suuuuuuuuuucks!

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, uh, your opinion, man.
posted by Aquaman at 6:09 PM on September 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, uh, your opinion, man.

Glad to see you've joined Metafilter to participate in this thread, but you really were a lame superhero in the seventies. You offered nothing of value to kids.

You were swimming about in your underwater home while I was scaring children away from the spray bottles under the kitchen sink.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Meh. This analysis suffers from the "but that's not how it works!" effect so common in so many reviews of comics, TV shows, movies, etc. For example, the principle of biological evolution as shown in the TV show Heroes.

No. The way it is shown in the story, is exactly how it works in the story. Characters in the story, by examining the actual facts and determining what causes them, are doing actual science. By insisting on ridiculous levels of caloric consumption, bringing up blatant nonsense about nitrogen bubbles in bones, etc etc when the plain fact before your eyes is that Aquaman does what he does and is just fine doing it, the author of the article puts himself in the analogous position of a real-world creationist. He has decided how Aquaman's world ought to work, because of his pre-existing experiences (ie, in what we might agree to call reality), and then against the facts before his eyes, he maintains that his interpretation is correct.

Aquaman is clearly visually indistinguishable from human, and yet he obviously can survive the deepest depths, swim instantly to the surface, doesn't appear to need to eat much, and isn't overly bothered by ecospheric predation. Given these facts before us, we must come up with an appropriate theory. If our theory--like caloric hyperconsumption, bone density, etc--doesn't fit the facts, it is the theory, not the facts, that we must discard.

Aquaman is an Atlantean, and much like Kryptonians, Daxamites, Amazons and a variety of others, Atlanteans are a humaniform species, with innate physical and mental superiority. (Arguably humans are a bizarrely weak version of the master template species, given that the majority of humaniform non-humans are much more powerful.) The exact consequences of this superiority are broadly known, however there is no clear theory yet formed as to the reasons why it exists. The Guardians of Oa probably know, but have evinced no desire to share that information.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:42 PM on September 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


Glad to see you've joined Metafilter to participate in this thread, but

Hey now, give Aquaman some credit. He's been hanging out on the site for like 8 years now.

Because he has a lot of free time to kill between all the Justice League things that he doesn't get assigned to because he suuuuuuuuucks.
posted by cortex at 6:54 PM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Uh, guys? The robot landed on Aquaman.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:05 PM on September 13, 2012


Meh. Imperius Rex!
posted by vrakatar at 7:32 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


you really were a lame superhero in the seventies

To be fair, Aquababy took a lot of his time. Arthur was a good dad; maybe not the most exciting hero, but a good dad.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:33 PM on September 13, 2012


I shall call this new caper... My OUTRAGEOUS Adventure in Science!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:40 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a sudden urge to spouse Aquaman.
posted by catlet at 7:55 PM on September 13, 2012


Never underestimate Aquaman; according to AskMe, he can defeat a supertanker.

Sure he can, if he uses Twinkies (TM).
posted by straight at 8:01 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This analysis suffers from the "but that's not how it works!" effect so common in so many reviews of comics, TV shows, movies, etc.

To be fair, this is also an important tendency within comics themselves. The marker between the child-like Silver Age and the more-adult Bronze Age, for instance, is the normal laws of physics suddenly reasserting themselves, after a long absence, the night Gwen Stacy died.
posted by gerryblog at 8:10 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree, aeschenkarnos, and I think your comparison to the dogmatism of creationists is apt. I felt something similar to you when I read in one of the linked articles where the author complains that a particular species of tube worm is only found in locations thousands of kilometres from where they were depicted in the story. Not only does that simply mean that these tube worms are found in this location in this fictional universe, it's not uncommon at all to discover species with broader ranges than previously known, or close relatives, so it's not even that big of a stretch for our universe.

Saying Aquaman can't survive the pressures of the deep sea because of the pressure is akin to saying Superman can't fly because of the gravity. Duh. But so what?

The really interesting "science of science fiction" type of analysis happens when someone points out how two qualities can't exist in the same universe. It requires the first step of speculating "what if...", as in "what if Aquaman could survive the deep sea, what kind of qualities would he need?" Which is already far more interesting than "that can't happen." But then taking it a step further and saying, "but we see Aquaman out in space, and to survive that, he'd need these qualities... and maybe those are incompatible." My example sucks because I'm not a physicist or biologist, but I hope the point is made.

It's fun listening to (or reading) scientists who can at least imagine possibilities, or, as you say, accept the observable evidence and start there. It's no fun listening to scientists who merely whine that their understanding of this world can't work in other worlds.
posted by ebisudave at 8:15 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stupid Superfriends, Aquaman has been fighting the perceptions of being useless ever since that time. Yeah he kinda sucked back in the Silver Age but modern Aquaman is pretty decent, especially in recent years. One of the best issues I've read with him is Brave and the Bold #32 written by JMS. In this issue Aquaman and the demon Etrigan have a secret pact to work together every year (or month I can't remember) to stop the intrusion of an aquatic eldritch horror like Cthulhu from entering our reality and causing all sorts of mass carnage. That Aquaman is responsible for making this continual sacrifice to protect humanity and the Earth without anyone being the wiser kinda speaks to his contributions to the society of superheroes. He's not as popular as the Trinity or as powerful as Green Lantern and the Flash but he's just as critical to protecting the DC universe as any other hero.

Of course he kinda pales in comparison to Namor but just about every hero does.
posted by vuron at 8:16 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Point taken. The great thing about Namor is that he's very level-headed.
posted by SPrintF at 8:21 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lest you think I’m a spoil-sport out to dump on comic book science...

Sorry. Too late.
posted by Splunge at 10:09 PM on September 13, 2012


Aquaman is, for all intents and purposes, a marine mammal.

Plainly, Aquaman is an amphibian, he can breathe under water. He may look human but inside he's all frog.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:51 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never underestimate Aquaman; according to AskMe, he can defeat a supertanker.

A drunk and/or rocks can defeat a 1980s-era supertanker.
posted by Mezentian at 3:40 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Completely unrelated, but if I may draw your attention to Wally West and Donna Troy Against the New 52!
posted by Mezentian at 4:00 AM on September 14, 2012


Of course he kinda pales in comparison to Namor but just about every hero does.

Namor rocks, in part because he seems to have taken on pretty much everyone in the Marvel Universe at sometime or other, mostly out of sheer badassery. While wearing a scaled Speedo. And flying with the ears of the lady on the Liberty Dime stuck on his ankles.

Of course, like Aquaman, he has to deal with the annoyances of the surface-dwellers. Not getting "Haha, you can talk to fish!" but by getting "Is it sub-MAY-ruh-ner or sub-muh-REE-ner?"

Every damn day. No wonder he's a badass. Dude could work a scowl like no one's business.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:06 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's see you get by underwater as well as I do on the ground.
posted by Eideteker at 11:19 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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