Thousands of years ago, before their descent into the sea, Atlanteans joined the forces of the Amazons and Humans to fight off an invasion by Darkseid and his massive Parademon army. As their battle escalated, the Old Gods 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 Darkseid to retreat due to his severe injury by Ares. 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.
Monitoring of Aquaman
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 Mother Box Stronghold 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 Guards. 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 the Trident of Atlan 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 they are adapted to underwater life.
Atlanteans possess a highly efficient respiratory system that allows them to extract oxygen from water and breath freely while submerged. According to Mera, only highborn Atlanteans are capable of breathing both water and air, including herself, Orm, Vulko, Atlanna, Nereus, and Scales. Other Atlanteans require water-filled suits to function on land and will suffocate if their helemts are breached. However, it should be noted that this was not always the case, as Atlanteans were once humans before the Great Fall of the original Atlantean empire.
Physical characteristics differ as well, as Atlanteans are shown to possess superhuman strength and durability, enabling them to withstand water pressure from at least 20,000 feet below sea level. In addition, while it is unknown if all of them share this quality, some Atlanteans can live far longer then their human counterparts, as Atlan was around when Darkseid invaded Earth prior to 3000 BC and died sometime after the fall of Atlantis that occurred thousands of years later.
It appears that all Atlanteans possess a level of hydrokinesis (control over water and simialr liquids). This power is apparently part of the source of their ability to swim at supersonic speeds and still retain incredible maneuverability. It also appears that their hydrokinetic powers are amplified exponentially when they join forces; For example, Orm and his followers were able to use their powers to generate numerous massive tsunami-like waves all across the world, causing horrific damage to the human cities that they targeted in the process.
Although it is very rare, some Atlanteans are able to telepathically communicate with and even potentially control marine life. The only Atlanteans confirmed to possess this ability throughout history are Atlan and Arthur.
- Aquaman's armor
- Trident of Atlan (magical in nature)
- Atlanna's trident
- Atlantean soldier armor
- Atlantean energy swords
- Atlantean warships
- Atlantean Hydro-cannons
- Black Manta suit (Next Generation Atlantean Armour)
- Hydro-pulse rifles
- Mera's ship
- Ocean Master's armor
- Orvax's trident
- Xebelian plasma rifles
- At one point in their history, the Atlanteans went to war with the Amazons, who were once their allies against the forces of Apokolips.
- In the DC Comics, Atlanteans can thrive perfectly fine on dry land, regardless of whether they are royals or commoners.
- Terrio, Chris, Whedon, Joss (writers) & Snyder, Zack (director) (November 17, 2017). Justice League.
- Beall, Will, Wan, James, Johns, Geoff (writers) & Wan, James (director) (December 21, 2018). Aquaman.
- "‘Aquaman’: 50 Things to Know about James Wan’s Ambitious Spin on a Superhero Movie" - Collider
- Ayer, David (writer and director) (August 5, 2016). Suicide Squad.
- Goyer, David S., Terrio, Chris (writers) & Snyder, Zack (director) (March 25, 2016). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.