The Atlanteans are an underwater species of amphibious humanoids that inhabit the Earth's oceans, native to the kingdom of Atlantis. They are the cousins of the humans, the inhabitants of the surface world.
Thousands of years ago, Atlanteans joined the forces of the Amazons and Humans to fight off an invasion by Steppenwolf and his massive Parademon army. As their battle escalated, the Olympians descended to aid, along with Yalan Gur. King Atlan led his forces from their massive ships onto shore, where armies of Earth had been driving back the forces of Apokolips. Zeus and Artemis greatly crippled the invaders' forces, causing Steppenwolf to retreat, much to his dismay. As they departed, the three Mother Boxes were separated by Zeus, entrusting them to the forces of Earth for safekeeping. One Mother Box was sent with the Amazons, another with the Atlanteans, and the final one with the humans.
Prosperity and the Great Fall
- "It was a time of great prosperity and technological advancement..."
In 3000 B.C.E., Atlanteans prospered under the guise of their first king, Atlan, and became the most technologically advanced society on the planet. As described by Vulko, the Atlanteans had unlocked the key to unlimited energy, and at this point Atlanteans had access to automotive and flying machines. This prosperity was ruined, however, after a test with the Trident of Atlan, backfired, creating a shockwave that ruined the city and sunk Atlantis into the ocean.
Seven Kingdoms and Evolution
- "And so, we evolved; others regressed - became savage."
After the Great Fall, Atlantis broke off into seven separate kingdoms - Atlantis, Xebel, the Fishermen, the Brine, the Trench, the Deserters, and a seventh lost kingdom. Due to the Great Fall, however, Atlanteans also gained the ability to breathe underwater. Overtime, as each kingdom grew and developed, Atlanteans belonging to different kingdoms also began to evolve to better fit their new aquatic habitats. Three kingdoms especially - the Fishermen, Brine, and Trench - evolved into non-humanoid forms, differentiating themselves from the human-like Atlanteans. As such, only those of Atlantis or Xebel are considered "Atlantean" in physiology.
Of the seven original kingdoms, only five - Atlantis, Xebel, the Fishermen, the Brine, and the Trench - are extant, with the Kingdom of the Deserts and the Lost Kingdom having died off or simply disappeared.
Years later, Lex Luthor retrieved archived footage from an NSA UUV drone, where Curry was recorded emerging from a sunken ship somewhere within the Tonga Trench at over 20,000 feet. The drone was destroyed by Curry with his trident, and footage from a second drone showed the Atlantean swimming away fast enough to cause a sonic boom in his wake.
During his return to Earth, Steppenwolf invaded the Atlantean Vault in his quest to obtain and unite the Mother Boxes. There, he faced off against Mera and Aquaman, as well as a number of the Atlantean Guard. Despite their attempts to combat his invasion, Steppenwolf successfully retrieved the Mother Box, escaping through a portal. As a result, Aquaman decided to help the Justice League stop Steppenwolf and his Parademon army.
About a year Steppenwolf's failed invasion of Earth, King Orm began to make moves to become the Ocean Master and lead a war against the surface world. In an effort to stop him, Mera and Vulko recruited half-Atlantean and older half-brother of Orm, Arthur Curry, to challenge him for the throne as its true heir.
Thousands of Atlanteans witnessed Orm and Arthur battle for the crown in the Ring of Fire. Distrustful of surface-dwellers, most Atlanteans present expressed their support for Orm and distaste for Arthur. Likewise, large numbers of Atlanteans were present at the Battle of the Brine, where they witnessed Arthur wield Atlan's Trident and claim the throne as the true heir of Atlantis.
Despite the preemptive strike sent against the surface world by the Atlanteans at the start of the conflict, most surface dwellers remained unaware of their existence, save for those such as Dr. Stephen Shin.
- "Being an Atlantean means being more than just being able to breathe in water. Your body is equipped to survive the extreme cold, and pressure, and your eyes adjust to see in the dark."
- ―Nuidis Vulko[src]
Atlanteans are generally similar to Humans in appearance; however, they are distinguished by their adaption to aquatic environments. Atlanteans possess a superior sensory arrangement that allows them to navigate the depths of oceans unexplored by humans. In contrast to their external similarities, Atlantean internal anatomy differs radically from that of humans, as some are capable of telepathically communicating with marine life.
Atlanteans possess a highly efficient respiratory system that allows them to extract oxygen from water, allowing them to breathe freely underwater. According to Mera, only the "high-born" of Atlanteans and Xebellians are capable of breathing air, including herself, Orm, Vulko, Atlanna, and Nereus. Other Atlanteans require water-filled suits to function on land, and when breached they will begin to suffocate.
Physical characteristics differ as well, as Atlanteans are shown to possess superhuman strength and speed that allows them to travel immense distances underwater, faster than any naval vessel.
The Atlantean body structure is immensely durable, enough to withstand water pressure from at least 20,000 feet below sea level.
It appears that all Atlanteans possess a level of Hydrokinesis, which is exponentially amplified when they join forces; Orm and his people succeeded to generate numerous massive tsunami-like waves all across the world, which caused horrific damage.
- Aquaman's armor
- Trident of Atlan (magical in nature)
- Atlanna's trident
- Atlantean armor
- Atlantean Energized Swords
- Atlantean Plasma Rifles
- Atlantean Warships
- Black Manta suit (Atlantean/Human hybrid)
- Ocean Master's Suit
- Orvax's trident
- Xebellian Plasma Rifles
Behind the Scenes
- In the DC Comics, Atlanteans can thrive perfectly fine on dry land, regardless of their being royal or commoner.