Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm – What’s The Difference?

Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur - What's The Difference?

Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm – What’s The Difference?

In the world of DC Comics, two characters have taken on the mantle of Aqualad. The first and original being Garth and the second Kaldur’ahm. Each is unique in what they bring to the table. The problem is that there are confusion and uncertainty about which is which and how they are different from one another.

That’s why we’re here.

Let’s analyze, decide who’s who, and figure out who, Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm, is better. 

1. Origin Stories – Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm


Aqualad Kaldur'ahm Origin

Jackson Hyde hails from New Mexico and not Atlantis. Contrary to what we’re about to find out with Garth, his parents made him fear the water. They did this so as to prevent him from going near the water and learning who he was. 

Their efforts were all for not as Jackson learned of his heritage after the events of Brightest Day. 

As a White Power Battery calls a group of heroes to New Mexico, Jackson’s tattoos begin to glow. Just as his tattoos glow so too do his powers begin to manifest. He learns that he is actually the son of Black Manta and that Mera brought him to his adoptive family as a means of keeping him safe. He also learns that his parents had been tortured by the Xebel and the King had ordered him to be experimented on. 

As for Garth, his parents were the rulers of Shayeris, or the capital city of the Hidden Valley of Colonies. His father, Thar, earned the right to rule and along with it, access to ancient magic’s. Sadly, Thar’s brother Slizzath believed himself to be the true ruler.

But he wasn’t.

As a consequence of his practicing Dark Magic, Slizzath was banished from Shayeris and transformed into a hideous beast. 

Before long Slizzath marched an army on his brother. At the conclusion of the battle, Thar had been beaten and Slizzath trapped in a dimensional portal by a spell. What nobody foresaw was that the spell that trapped Slizzath could and would be broken by the ritual that anoints rule. Word was immediately sent that any baby born with the mark of power, purple eyes, was to be slain.

At the onset of Garth’s birth, his mother, Berra knew that he wasn’t safe. Her baby had purple eyes and she knew that he would one day perform the ritual. Believed by the Atlantians to be genetically inferior, he was sentenced to death. This, of course, did not happen and he was taught to survive by Atlan.

2. Costumes – Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm


Aqualad Garth Origin

Each of the two Aqualad’s has their own distinctive costume. One firmly places emphasis on the old guard while the other fully embraces the new age. Due to their unique looks, it’s near impossible to mistake one for the other.

Kaldur’ahm’s makes use of modern day fashion. His costume utilizes a basic skin-tight leather looking pant coupled with an even tighter red sleeveless shirt. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was a high fashion model. 

Because his shirt is sleeveless his tattoos are always on full display. Depending on which version you’re looking at, the Young Justice television show or the comic book adaptation, Jackson has either bleached blonde hair or dark dreadlocks. 

For a new age superhero, his look follows a pretty standard formula.

Garth, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Whereas Kaldur’ahm’s outfit is the definition of a mullet, short on top, long on the bottom, Garth’s is not. 

His costume is right out of the era he came from. Short, Robin-esque blue trunks and a long, leave everything to the imagination red top. Think reverse mullet. Of course, this dramatically changes with his transformation into Tempest, but we’re not talking about Tempest.

For all intents and purposes, Garth looks like the guy you don’t want to look at on the beach but like a train wreck, you can’t help but look.

3. Power Set – Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm


Aqualad Kaldur'ahm Young Justice

Nearly identical in their power set, the two Aqualad’s are more than capable of handling their own.

Kaldur’ahm, the newer of the two, uses a pretty straight forward set of powers. He can breathe underwater and utilizes hydrokinesis. This means he can bend and use all things water to his will. He can also expel bolts of electricity from his fingers, possesses superhuman strength, and has a partial immunity to underwater poisons. Lastly, he’s an amphibian of sorts. This allows him to do everything that you’d think of when thinking of the word amphibian.

As far as Garth goes, his power set is a little more vast.

He, like Kaldur’ahm, possesses superhuman strength, utilizes hydrokinesis, and is also amphibious. But their similarities end there. Garth is adept at seeing long distances both underwater and in the dark while on land. His body is filled with amino acids that prevent his body from freezing in the deepest depths of the ocean. This also means that he is able to survive for extended periods on land without the need for water. 

In addition to his superhuman strength, he also possesses superhuman stamina and speed. In fact, he has been known to travel in excess of 80 miles per hours underwater. Because he can swim in the deepest depths of the ocean, his body naturally produces gases that push against the pressures of the water around him. 

Like Aquaman, Garth has lived his life at the butt end of jokes. He is able to talk to sea creatures, and even control them. His magical powers are so great that he is nearly unrivaled in DC. Further to this, he can generate heat from his left hand and cold from his right. 

Finally, he can dimensionally transport himself and turn himself invisible.

4. Potential – Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm


Aqualad Garth and Sea Horse

Even though Garth appears to be more powerful, remember that his character has been around a lot longer than Kaldur’ahm. He has had what we all desire, time. With time he has been able to develop and refine his powers in ways that Kaldur’ahm can only dream of.

If the two were to battle, the winner would be Garth, hands down. He is the original Aqualad and as such, has become one of the most feared and respected sea dwellers in DC.

But that doesn’t mean his potential is higher. Quite the opposite actually. With Kaldur’ahm we have unbridled potential. 

Kaldur’ahm is in such an infant state that he would take in lessons and teachings like a sponge. His power set is not limited by what he knows. Instead, his power set is unlimited by what he doesn’t know. 

Kaldur’ahm has already proven that he is a force to be reckoned with. He is a vital member of the Teen Titans and a popular character on the Young Justice television show. Kaldur’ahm has a superior potential to Garth because hasn’t had decades of history defining exactly who he is. Instead, he has decades of history ahead of him defining exactly who he will become.

5. Historical importance – Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm


Aqualad Kaldur'ahm Water Weapon

When it comes to either Aqualad their historical importance is significant. 

For everything that he is known for, for all the power that he possesses, and for his out of style costume, Garth is a founding member of the Teen Titans. This means that he didn’t just join the team, he made the team. He, alongside Robin and Kid Flash first appeared as the team in Brave and the Bold #54. In the issue, the three can be found thwarting Mr. Twister. 

In one of the most evil and well thought out schemes in comic history, Mr. Twister has taken the teenagers of Hatter Corner hostage. He did this because he had planned to use the teenagers to erect some stone monuments to tornados. 

The three soon to be Titans made their way to the villain and through a series of distractions, were able to save the children. Even though this kind of story seems outdated and certainly hasn’t stood the test of time, it’s importance is just that…important. 

Kaldur’ahm on the other hand, has only been around for a decade. However, his significance shouldn’t be taken lightly. Kaldur’ahm made his actual first appearance on the television show Young Justice. On it, he was an instrumental part of the team, capable of doing whatever it took to win.

For example, in one story arc the teenager had looked to switch sides and join his father Black Manta. By aligning himself with his father, Kaldur’ahm was able to acquire information that couldn’t have been acquired had he not gained his trust. Of course, as the story played out the audience learns that his switch was a clever hoax.

Kaldur’ahm was one of the most beloved characters on Young Justice. This was so much that DC Architect, Geoff Johns saw his potential outside of television. Shortly after the show began, Johns got to work adapting the character to the comic book medium.

Making his debut during Brightest Day, Kaldur’ahm was giving a slightly different look, had his origin story modified, and was humanized. This meant that he was changed to like soccer, excel at math, and come out as gay. 

But that’s not what humanized him.

Kaldur’ahm is human because he faces human problems and deals with human emotions. His mother becomes uncomfortable with his sexuality and his boyfriend, Kenny, is worried and scared by his powers. These two small tweaks to his character instantly made Kaldur’ahm resonate with those who read his book. Suddenly, he was relatable. He was a teenager with teenage problems. 

When it comes to historical significance, Kaldur’ahm’s cannot be measured. Sure, Garth formed the original Teen Titans but the team has been reformed so many times that it practically doesn’t matter. Kaldur’ahm, on the other hand, has become a voice for a new age. His defining traits will help change the perspective of what it means to be accepted. 

And I’m going to wrap it up here. What did you think? Do you know of any Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm differences that should be here? What Aqualad Garth vs Aqualad Kaldur’ahm would make your list?

Cheers,

Joel

Title Image © DC

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