- ...and the great cities flourished o'er the mighty continent of Atlantis. The fathers of our race brought splendor where'er they went. As humanity crawled from caves, our ancestors thrived in an oasis of civilization.
Atlantis is the name of a continent located in the North Atlantic Ocean and represents one of the earliest and most highly advanced cultural societies on Earth. Untold millennia ago, groups of pilgrims settled in the greater Atlantean region establishing twelve distinctive communities, a few of which evolved into the city-states now known as Poseidonis and Tritonis. Many believe that the original twelve settlements represented the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
Atlantis owed a lot of its development to the strong mystical energies intrinsically tied to the land. Over 145,000 years ago, two powerful mystics named Calculha and Majistra became the most powerful sorcerers in the world. Calculha, a follower of the light, manipulated White Magic, while his only living equal, Majistra was a practitioner of the dark arts. Through their influence, Atlantis flourished and grew into an advanced community unlike any other on the planet. Although magic was the dominant means of power throughout the continent, noted intellectuals began to recognize the wisdom of science. While the rest of the world had yet to benefit from inventions such as the wheel, the Atlanteans were already developing highly advanced technological wonders. Legend has it that the Atlanteans even managed to combine science and sorcery to create the world's first space-craft. This vessel is thought to have left the planet Earth some 50,000 years ago. Some have speculated that the crew of this craft may have populated the nearby human worlds of Rann, Thanagar, and Krypton.
As the centuries passed, the sorcerers Calculha and Majistra decided to consolidate their mystical prowess and mate with one another. Their union produced twin offspring, Garn Daanuth and Arion. Calculha took Arion under his wing and apprenticed him in the arts of pure magic, while Majistra schooled Garn in the ways of evil. The children each grew up to become powerful mages in their own right, and the bitterest of enemies. Arion eventually defeated his brother, but at great cost to himself.
The Great Deluge (sometimes referred to as the Great Flood) was a geological catastrophe that occurred some 9,600 years ago.
A giant skull-shaped meteor from outer space crashed into the Earth somewhere near the North Sea. The impact was so tremendous that it caused worldwide geological upheaval. Tectonic plates shifted, yielding massive flooding so intense that it caused the entire continent of Atlantis to sink beneath the waves. Though nearly all of Atlantean culture had been wiped away forever, those of the capital city of Poseidonis managed to survive due to the erection of a giant dome that shielded the entire city. It was believed by some, that the destruction of Atlantis was the result of Suula - Goddess of the Sky -- who took offense to the creation of the dome that cut Poseidonis off from the skies above. These Atlanteans managed to eke out a life for themselves, though they could never again leave the safety of their city.
Some Atlanteans however, found an alternative in the priest-mage known as Shalako. Shalako used his magic to protect his followers from the crushing pressure of the ocean depths, and they migrated from Poseidonis and re-established a colony in the ruins of the sister-city Tritonis.
A few short years after the calamity, Atlantis' monarch, King Orin, had his scientists develop a means so that his people could survive underwater, without having to stay within the city. The experiment was a success and the serum transformed the Atlanteans from normal human beings into aquatic amphibians who could survive the ocean depths and draw oxygen from water to breathe.
Most regarded Orin as a strong and benevolent leader, but there were those, including his brother, Shalako, who felt that Orin's compassion made him a weak ruler. Orin was the first to put together the Atlantis Chronicles and assigned Albart-Son-of-Yarrow of Ancinor the task of maintaining a faithful history of their home country.
Due to the machinations of Shalako, the citizens of Tritonis evolved into a race of Mer-people. At first, the former Shalakites adapted to this mutation, until they discovered that the changes were being passed down to their children. The most severe example of this effect was the Atlantean prince, Kordax. Kordax was born a hideous, green-scaled mutant with blond hair and the ability to telepathically control the creatures of the sea. The existence of Kordax caused a schism throughout Atlantis as by right of ascension, he was the first-born heir to the throne. This conflict erupted into a massive war between Poseidonis and Tritonis.
The Modern Era
Although the submerged continent grew and prospered, the civilizations of the surface world remained largely ignorant of Atlantis for many centuries. In recent years however, Atlantis has found itself pushed to the forefront of public awareness. Their most notable monarch to date, King Orin, reintroduced Atlantis to the modern world when he took the sobriquet, Aquaman, and became one of the founding members of the famous Justice League of America.
Atlantis has never been a nation to know peace for very long. Over the span of four-thousand wars, it has seen conflict from the surface world, from within its own borders and even from beyond the stars.
The Zodiac Crystals
Several years ago, Atlantis nearly declared war upon the surface world when they believed that the humans had stolen the Atlantean Royal Seal. In fact, they were only partially correct. Though the thief was indeed an air-breather, he was actually Aquaman's half-brother, the Ocean Master. Ocean Master stole the seal as part of a quest to find twelve ancient Zodiac Crystals from which he would gain ultimate power. Aquaman defeated Ocean Master and the armies of Atlantis held back their assault against the surface world.
The next serious attack came from a race of highly evolved giant jellyfish. These creatures despised the notion that the seas were dominated by the humanoid Atlanteans, and embarked upon an ambitious plan to insure racial purity in their territories. They bided their time until Atlantis was at its most vulnerable, when its capital city Poseidonis was under the command of an inept leader named Pletus. The Jellyfish commandeered ships and transport craft and began their invasion. They always concealed themselves within metal shells, so that nobody ever knew what the invaders actually looked like.
In times of war, it was customary to bequeath complete authority in Atlantis to the highest ranking military commander. Although the general fought valiantly, he was killed in the first attack, thereby solidifying Pletus' bid for power. Taking control of the military, his poor judgment misdirected battles and caused a severe drop in troop morale. Ultimately, he surrendered Atlantis to the jellyfish and was summarily drawn and quartered. The Atlantean ruling council were then apprehended and torn to shreds, their remains left floating in the Atlantean waters. The jellyfish rounded up as many dignitaries as they could find and incarcerated them at the Aquarium as political prisoners. To strengthen their own army, the jellyfish found nomadic tribes from the outlying settlements around the continent and pressed them into service. Although these men had no desire to wage war against their fellow Atlanteans, they feared that the jellyfish would execute their families if they tried to resist.
At the height of their occupation, Atlantis' former king, Aquaman, returned to his home after having been away for several years. He was captured by the rebel army and placed inside Aquarium. Aquaman conspired with the other prisoners to lead a rebellion against the invaders. He knew of secret aqueducts that could be used to leave Aquarium and get back to the royal palace.
They soon discovered that the invaders were rounding up random Atlantean families and taking them to a processing plant where they were being executed. Aquaman soon determined the true nature of the invaders and realized that they were in fact sentient jellyfish. He rounded up as many resistance members as he could and had them mass produce canisters containing a poisoned specially designed to kill jellyfish. They placed them at strategic locations around the royal palace and detonated them. Though the poison was deadly to jellyfish, it was harmless to other sea life. All of the invaders inside the capital city were killed instantly. Some managed to escape and retreated back behind the dome perimeter. The invaders were not finished however. Although they no longer controlled Poseidonis, they were able to erect a blockade around the domed city, cutting Atlantis off from their supply chains. If they couldn't kill the Atlanteans directly, then they would starve them out.
An Atlantean general led the charge to push the invaders back, but the opposing force was too strong. They simply didn't have the military strength to press forward. Aquaman ascended the highest point in the city and broadcast a telepathic command to every fish, cephalopod and marine mammal that he could summon. Taxing himself beyond measure, he succeeded in raising an army that obliterated the opposing forces once and for all. Atlantis was liberated.
Long ago before Atlantis sunk, Queen Majistra became pregnant with two male heirs and to celebrate the occasion, Majistra, King Calculha, and the Magi of the time crafted the Zodiac Crystals by drawing power from the heavens. During this time, Atlantis was a magical focal point and was at it's strongest in power.
With magic being the greatest tool in Atlantis, early magisters of the Silent School sought to master the art. In turn, the practice of magic would accidentally wake the Abyssal Dark demon. Entering a magical war with the demon, the Silent School was successful in imprisoning it within the college. Over the centuries, however, the tale and origin of the demon had diminished. It was then believed that the Abyssal Dark was (falsely) the well-spring of all Atlantean magic.
Time of Arion
Arion had made a deal with an unknown benefactor to keep Atlantis safe, combining the likes of Nth Metal and Atlantean technology to achieve the goal. In Atlantean history, the details of him saving Atlantis is told differently, in which he spun ancient magic from the center of the Earth to advert a crisis in Atlantis.
Despite the prosperity Arion would soon become restless during peace time. Still lusting for new discovery, he would eventually turn his focus to what lies beyond the stars immediately beginning work on architectural designs that would enable his crown city to breach out into the heavens above. In order to help him make contact with new life on other worlds the sea god Poseidon, having been so impressed with how Arion took his true calling as a mariner in stride, would share the secret of his great power with the young demigod to aid him in his quest.
Informing Arion of the cosmic energy called the Life Force and how best to utilize it for contacting other sapient life throughout the cosmos. But being the jealous god that he was however, Poseidon quickly grew fearful and envious when a band of deities calling themselves the Triumvirate of Sea Gods answered the King's call.
Convinced by his divine liege that the Ocean Lord's were brutal conquerors out to decimate Atlantis and the world at large. Arion sullenly began reworking a device he'd summoned them with called the Clarion into a weapon that could cut them down. With it the King of Atlantis reworked the energy provided by his benefactor into an antithetical quintessence called the Death Force, extracting a portion of dark energy he would name the Tear of Extinction from it. By channeling this power through the Clarion, Arion struck down those whom he sought to befriend sending them agonizing into the Graveyard of Gods, all while fatally poisoning himself on the tear's necrotic energies presumably dying from exposure.
But in truth Arion simply went missing as he was driven insane by exposure to the Death Force. He received a premonition of the coming catastrophe that devastates his homeland, becoming obsessed with the Blue Beetle Scarab he saw in the vision and Battles Doctor Fate for ownership of the object in his mad quest to save Atlantis. Instead he is sealed away by the agent of order for thousands of years, left to stew in his hatred and madness just as the Ocean Lords were.
Sinking of Atlantis
With the passing of Arion, Atlantis quickly fell into disarray over the coming centuries.
The practice and favoritism of magic over science by the governing courts which created and awakened the malefic Abyssal Dark. Whom, while even kept in captivity, still had enough influence to rewrite the history of Atlantis to its own advantage. Gave rise to a powerful mystic cabal known as the Coven of Thule, who secretly furthered the schism of Atlantean society for their own personal benefit. Profiting by causing the city to fracture into seven kingdoms and keeping them locked in constant contention with one another in order to rule the disorderly nation from the shadows.
A plan of which that came to an end with the rise of King Atlan, histories (believed to be) first lord and great unifier of Atlantis. Who was a leader and family man that carried the open-minded memory of Arion close to home, he wished to open the doors of Atlantis to all whom wanted to share in his kingdoms many glories and further international relations.
But his treacherous twin brother Orin I and his wife usurped the rightful rulers throne, having killed all of Atlan's supporters and ousted him, embracing the falsified notion of isolationism born of the prior failures by Atlan's predecessor in making contact with those beyond the nations borders. Wounded and bereaved by such a betrayal Atlan would fall off the grid for a time. Having come into the care of an alchemist who hails from the Deserter Kingdom which he'd subsumed back into his court, he spent the next decade utilizing familial mystic gold of his caring host to forge the seven instruments of his revenge. But when the conjurer demanded payment for services unrendered, Atlan slew him and took his last and only allies sacred treasury with him.
Returning to his former kingdom in the dead of night, the deposed king dispatched any and all who stood in his path with ruthless finesse. Armed with the Seven Treasures of Atlantis he would slay his murderous kin with his bear hands, a deed which ended in civil war breaking out across his domain once again. In a fit of rage and despair as everything he'd built crumbled around him, Atlan plunged his most powerful relic into the ground. Shattering his beloved city sending it crashing and sinking beneath the waves.
Course of Adaptation
By miraculous twist of fate, instead of falling to it's demise when Atlan destroyed it. Atlantis and it's six major cities had survived the devastation that plagued it, each of the surviving kingdoms changing to evolve new biological and mystical functions in order to better thrive in the new environs Atlantis created for itself. Atlantis, being a nation unto itself, altered differently from baseline homo sapiens due the high concentration of magic flowing throughout it's vast territory from when the lost continent was at it's peak.
It's people gaining the ability to survive and move through heavily pressurized waters as easily as humans can walk through air. Due to this habitual alternation, Atlanteans of every nation are physically superior to baseline humans being stronger, faster, tougher and longer lived as a result of living on the ocean floor.
For Atlantis, such changes came with the sociological friction between royalty, citizenry and the various denizens who adjusted more radically to the change of scenery than others. A great many whom took on appearances more akin to marine life than that of the standard bipedal waterbreather. Individuals who many among the higher tride's of Atlantean culture deragotively call the Seachanged, the more bigoted and racist within their culture coined the racist slur of mutation or Taintblood due to their becoming less and less than man. They would even turn their hostilities on those who bore even the slightest deviance in physiology simply based on superstition alone, going so far as to brutalize their own for the discrepancy of having Purple Eyes.
Similarly, over the course of an eternity in their underwater exile, Atlanteans developed an extremely adversarial relationship with the whole of Humanity. Many of whom bearing grudges born of entitlement, believing that Atlantis was the first kingdom on earth and that the surface world should be destroyed.
While others prefer to stay out of the purview of the Drymouths; a colloquial bar sinister coined by all of the mariner races for air breathing mankind. They still withhold them in contempt for various reasons, speciesism and superiority complex aside countless ages of Atlantean grudges stem from the many affronts that they feel surfacers have inflicted upon them. A great many of which infinitely varied and far in between ranging from running war machines across their waters without permission, the copious amounts of trash, garbage and pollutants dumped into the wider sea by their carelessness and wastefulness. Or even out of greater fear of the superpowered Metahumans who populate the land based civilization's that many Atlanteans regale as horror stories to their children. Humanity, on the other hand, had all but dismissed the very notion of Atlantis or it's sea dwelling people even existing to begin with, most of whom having relevated their society to legends and fairy tail over the course of human history. Often denouncing the great few among their number who are fully aware that Atlantis and it's people actually do exist.
So hostile in fact are ties between the submariner nation's and most land dwellers that even acts of kindness by one side or the other were taken as malicious intent, sparking an eternities worth of nonstop acts of violence and retribution between the two races.
One of the rarest and only happenstantial events where Atlantis and the Surface had peaceably cohabited with each other was in the early 17th century. When a ruthless Atlantean pirate empress named Madame Langrock harnessed immense power through her magic ring to terrorize both the land and the sea. She was too powerful for either side alone to handle as the oceans were at her beck and call, setting aside their endless conflict, Atlantis reached out to a couple of surface world delegates to form an alliance against their shared enemy. The two opposing factions would band together in all out war to imprison the femme fatal and her army of brigands behind the Bermuda Triangle. The accord made on that day quickly reduced itself to forgotten history.
Sins of the Past
While propinquity between the sunken city with the world above has always been tumultuous, either one side hating and fearing the other or another not even realizing their myths and legends are as real as natural history. There have been occurrences where mutually beneficial unions have sprang forth due to social & civil unrest.
A lone lighthouse keeper by the name of Tom Curry went out to sea during a harsh storm to warn a passing ship and nearly drowned, he was saved by then princess of Atlantis; Atlanna who'd ran away from home due to being forced to a politically arranged marriage. The two would fall in love and their union begat the first Altanean/Human hybrid who'd eventually grow up to one day take command of Atlantis itself.
Their child going by the surface name of Arthur Curry. For a great many years Atlanna would live happily amongst her land dweller family, until duty and awareness of her sons inheritance pulled her away.
She would sullenly return to the ocean kingdom and marry Commander Orvax of the Atlantean Navy. A ceremony which she strongly stood against due to it's only real purpose serving to tithe and bind bureaucratic fences between Atlantis's military and nobility. About a decade later Atlanna would mother a son to her lawful husband, groomed to take over the throne after his parents ceded dominance of which. But the royal marriage wouldn't last as Orvax was cruel, abusive and domineering both domestically and monarchically. He would often abuse his right of leadership to pursue mean spirited, selfish ends like ordering the military to sink surface dweller ships out of spite for all land dwellers, indoctrinate his firstborn into warrior training programs at an early age to prepare him for successorship, fathering another daughter to an unnamed woman behind his wife's back at later date along with physically abusing his bemoaned spouse whenever she would scold Orvax for his xenophobic hobbies.
His rabid misuse of power earned the ire of a great many of his fellow countrymen, including his much abused queen and bride. When Atlanna prepped to leave Atlantis forever to be with her one true love back at Amnesty Bay.
Orvax would cruelly brag about how he sent an Atlantean war company to murder his betrothed's other family to keep her from leaving him. He'd hoped this would break her spirits and make Atlanna more subservient to his wishes. Instead this enraged her enough to kill him herself, taking his spear and plunging it through his chest while feigning innocence when her son came in on them after the deed was done. On the day of her other son's Meritunis: the atlantean ritual of adolescent ascension, Atlanna would fake her own death in a performance accident in order to finally be free of Atlantis's self-serving customs.
An accident would happen on stage during the celebration wherein Atlanna would seemingly perish due to a pyrotechnics malfunction while sitting behind the set. An fortuitous little crisis that many would believe Orm himself staged in order to advance his placement on the seat of power.
On the eve of the superhero age, the son begat of the union between human and atlantean went on to become the marine adventurer; Aquaman.
But he was never well received by the various peoples of the world at large. A great many on land saw Arthur's hero identity as an inside party joke about marine life, while his own people viewed him with disgust and contempt for his surface borne heritage. In trying to escape from both due to the bigotry of Atlantean culture alongside the cloying ugliness he'd seen within the surface world. Arthur would soon leave the kingdom to his long lost brother; whom unlike all the others, was overjoyed to know he had a sibling up on the land above.
While the surface world believed Aquaman and his home nation to be little more than a social media tabloid. Atlantis would not remain dissociated from the rest of the world, behind the scenes of both parties a movement would enterprise the gathering of Atlantean artifacts for fermenting their own goals.
Points of Interest
The Five Lost Cities
- Mercy Reef
- Cave of Death: This was a skull-shaped undersea cavern from the times of ancient Atlantis. It was here that the outcast mutant Kordax was raised in secrecy until such time that he emerged to claim the throne of Atlantis.
- Deep Six-A-Go-Go: This was an undersea discotheque operated by an alien criminal named Doctor Dorsal. From here, he used the power of his hypnotic eels to control the minds of Aqualad and Aquagirl, forcing them to commit crimes on his behalf.
- Maarzon: Maarzon is a barren territory on the outer perimeter of Atlantis, not far away from the isolationist Thierna Na Oge. The region is populated by tribes of green-skinned barbaric savages. Ocean Master once took control of the Maarzon barbarians in a bid to defeat his brother Aquaman.
- Tlapallan: Tlapallan was one of the cities of Atlantis, populated by a sub-species of onyx-skinned Atlanteans. Ocean Master once razed the city to acquire one of the Zodiac Crystals in order to achieve vast mystical power.
- Albart of Ancinar
- Atlan-son-of Honsu
- Bazil-son-of Alloroc
- Queen Cora
- Dardanus-son-of Shalako
- Queen Fiona
- Gaius Thetalos
- Garn Daanuth
- Haumond-son-of Honsu
- King Honsu
- Kraken-son-of Honsu
- Lady Chian
- Queen Narmea
- Orin the First
- Shalako-son-of Thorvall
- Tula (Aquagirl)
- Garth (Aqualad)
- Arthur Curry, Jr. (Aquababy)
- Orin (Aquaman)
- Eochaid Bres
- Queen Clea
- Nuada Silverhand
- Tuatha De Danann (race)
- Dianecht (of Thierna Na Oge)
- Madame Langrock
- Orvax Marius
- Orm Marius
- Corum Rath
- Jurok Byss
Groups & Teams
- The Drift
- The Kingsguard
- Silent School
- The Widowhood
- Atlantean Royal Family
- Artisans Guild
- Royal Council of Atlantis
- The existence of this location is known to the general populace of Earth, but generally regarded as the subject of myth.
- According to Tales of the Teen Titans #46, Atlantis, or at least the capital city of Poseidonis, is located northwest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and south of the "Mid-Ocean Canyon" (probably the Northwest Antlantic Mid-Ocean Channel), which would place it roughly halfway between Portugal and Massachusetts, around 40° N and 30° W.
- Atlantis has four religions.
- Adventure Comics
- Aquaman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Adventure Comics (Volume 1)
- Aquaman (Volume 1)
- Aquaman (Volume 2)
- Aquaman (Volume 3)
- Aquaman (Volume 4)
- Aquaman (Volume 5)
- Aquaman (Volume 6)
- Aquaman (Volume 7)
- Aquaman (Volume 8)
- Aquaman and the Others (Volume 1)
- Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis (Volume 1)
- Aquaman: Time and Tide (Volume 1)
- Atlantis Chronicles (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Arion Lord of Atlantis
- Arion the Immortal
- Atlantis Chronicles
- More Fun Comics
- Warlord (Volume 1)
Links and References
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Vol 1 1
- Atlantis article at Wikipedia
- Atlantis (DC Comics) article at Wikipedia
- Atlantis at the Marvel Database Project
- Atlantis article at Encyclopedia Mythica
- Atlantis is Boring at TV Tropes
- Atlantis' First DCU Appearance?
- ↑ Atlantis Chronicles #1
- ↑ Atlantis Chronicles #2
- ↑ Atlantis Chronicles #4
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 2) #1-4
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 3) #1-5
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 1) #26
- ↑ Justice League Dark (Volume 2) #11
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 3) #16
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 8) #37
- ↑ Trinity (Volume 2) #19
- ↑ Dark Nights: Metal #5
- ↑ Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 4) #11
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 4) #12
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 4) #11
- ↑ Blue Beetle (Volume 10) #7
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 8) #34
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #43
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #24
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 4) #11
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #24
- ↑ Aquaman and the Others #1-Aquaman and the Others Vol 1 3
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #24
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 8) #27
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 8) #26
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #14
- ↑ Aquaman: Rebirth
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #14
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 8) #24
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #3
- ↑ Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #45
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #14
- ↑ Teen Titans (Volume 6) #10
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #24
- ↑ Secret Origin (Volume 2) #2
- ↑ Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #23.2: Ocean Master
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #36
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #39
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #36
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #36
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #0
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #1
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #15
- ↑ Justice League (Volume 2) #17
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 7) #5
- ↑ Atlantis Chronicles #4
- ↑ Aquaman #33
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 2) #2-3