The next DC hero we’ll get to see on the big screen is Aquaman, with Jason Momoa returning to the oceans for another solo adventure as the Atlantean hero. But we seriously doubt that the new movie will take the time to adapt the most horrifying story from Aquaman’s time on the page.
In recent years, the DC Universe has become a little lighter. The last few new movies before James Gunn takes the helm have eschewed the bleak tone of Zack Snyder’s movies from the 2010s in favor of something more colorful. Go back and watch the DC movies in order if you need a reminder of how dark it all used to be.
With that in mind, we don’t think the Aquaman 2 release date will be introducing us to the Death of a Prince arc. That would certainly be a bold move to send us off into Gunn’s plans for the Chapter 1 Gods and Monsters era. Having said that, all of the key players for Death of a Prince are present in Aquaman 2.
First up, the villain. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, after his brief appearance in the first Aquaman adventure, is back and way more dangerous as the armored underwater menace Black Manta. The other major player in Death of a Prince is the titular youngster – Arthur and Mera’s son, Arthur Jr. Or, as he’s ludicrously known in the comics, Aquababy.
The story, which was first published in the 1970s, sees Arthur ousted from the Atlantean throne. Rather than return after taking out the usurper, he decides to become a superhero full-time. This infuriates Manta, who kidnaps Aquababy.
The truly horrifying thing, though, is what Manta does next. The villain encases Aquababy within a sphere and gradually fills it with air, suffocating the young Atlantean to death. Comic book bad guys always seem to be considerably more horrible on the page than the screen, and the best DC villains are no exception.
This tragedy creates a rift between Arthur and Mera, with the latter blaming Aquaman for their son’s death. They are able to bury the hatchet, though, when they fight Ocean Master together. Nothing mends marital difficulties like a super-powered fight sequence.
Arthur Jr plays a big role in the trailer for Aquaman 2, but we don’t expect a one-to-one adaptation of Death of a Prince. I think we can probably all agree that this iteration of the DC Universe is unlikely to say farewell to audiences by drowning a baby. Still, we’ve been surprised by the best movies in this universe before.
The changing of the guard at DC is very exciting indeed, so it’s well worth looking ahead to Superman Legacy, which will fire the starting pistol. But in the meantime, find out why Aquaman’s most powerful ability is too strong for the DCU.