Real Name: Jackson Hyde/Kaldur’ahm
First Appearance: Young Justice/Brightest Day #4 (August, 2010)
Powers: Enhanced strength, can breathe underwater, hydrokinesis, can expel bolts of electricity from his fingers
Affiliation: Teen Titans, Young Justice
Did You Know? Aqualad made his actual first appearance on the television show Young Justice
A Little History
Aqualad has two origin stories, one for the television show Young Justice and one for his comic book counterpart.
Making his first appearance during Young Justice, Aqualad eventually became the protege to Aquaman. This happens after he and his friend, Garth saved Aquaman’s life during an encounter with Ocean Master. Aquaman extended an invite to the teenagers to travel and learn from him but Garth chose to stay behind to continue his studies. Kaldur’ahm, on the other hand, accepted the invite, took on the name Aqualad, and the rest is history.
In this version, Aqualad hails from Atlantis and developed his powers after studying Atleanean sorcery. Further to that, it he was actually the son of Aquaman’s mortal enemy, Black Manta.
Comic Book Origin
In comic book continuity, Aqualad hails from New Mexico and not Atlantis.
In this version his adoptive parents teach him to fear the water and prevent him from going near it. They do this to stop him from learning of his true identity and discovering what his actual heritage is.
Jackson is first revealed to possess powers after the events of Brightest Day bring a group of heroes to a White Lantern Battery in New Mexico. As the battery calls out to the heroes, Jackson’s tattoos begin to glow and his powers begin to manifest. Along with a power-set, he learns that he possesses webbed hands and gills.
He then learns that he is the son of Black Manta and that Mera had brought him to his adoptive father to keep him safe from harm. Finally, he learns of a chest that is to be opened only after the truth had been exposed.
With the chest opened, he finds out that his parents were captured and tortured by the Xebel and that the King had ordered him to be experimented on. He ordered the experimentation because he was the first outsider born in Xebel and the King believed him to be the key to ending their exile. Unable to simply stand by, Mera takes the now named Kaldur’ahm to the surface for a new set of parents to watch over him.