|First Appearance:|| as Aqualad: Adventure Comics #269 (February 1960)|
as Tempest: Tempest #2 (December, 1996)
|Created by:|| Aqualad: Robert Bernstein|
Tempest: Phil Jimenez
|Affiliations:|| Teen Titans|
Sentinels of Magic
|Abilities:|| Atlantean Biological Adaptation|
|Portrayed by:|| Zack Shada (Voice)|
Zachary Gordon (Voice)
Yuri Lowenthal (Voice)
Jerry Dexter (Voice)
Drew Van Acker
As a teen sidekick, Garth was known by the name Aqualad. As an adult superhero, Garth goes by the superhero name Tempest.
Garth was initially known as Aqualad, Aquaman's teenage partner, and like many other such 'kid sidekicks' popular in the Silver Age, his powers originally varied very little from his mentor. Aqualad was a founding member of the Teen Titans but was often perceived as the team's weakest link, because of his inability to survive out of water for more than an hour at a time.
Garth's origin is similar to that of his mentor. He is an amphibious humanoid who was left to die because of ancient Atlantean superstition and prophecy. Tempest is the prince and heir to the throne of the Idyllists, a colony of Atlanteans who settled in the Hidden Valley 4,000 years ago. There, nestled in the capital city of Shayeris (formerly Crastinus), the pacifist Idyllists became rabid builders and collectors, architects and artisans, and eschewed physical violence at all costs. The Idyllists were also practitioners of magic and kept an extensive library of mystical texts and scrolls.
Approximately four decades ago, King Thar and his wife Queen Berra, became the reigning monarchs of Shayeris, the capital of The Hidden Valley of colonies. Thar had inherited the throne and access to ancient magical energies that his brother Zath, a powerful magician in his own right, believed to be rightfully his. Zath practiced dark sorcery and necromancy, the raising of the dead, and was eventually banished from the Hidden Valley. His body transformed into disgusting, half human form, Zath, renamed Slizzath, returned to Shayeris twenty years later with an army of undead. He planned to invade the Hidden Valley and transform it into a necropolis he would rule.
King Thar knew of this and assembled an armory of robots and weapons to stop his demented brother. But the Idylist radicals killed him and banished his pregnant wife Berra back to Atlantis. Before Thar was killed, however, he was able to cast a magical spell that trapped Slizzath in an otherdimensional prison. Unfortunately, this spell was linked to a magical ritual which would give his offspring access to incredible mystical powers and accessing that ritual would give Slizzath the energy required to break free of his prison. So word was sent out that all babies born with purple eyes, the Idylist mark of power, should be banished and killed, lest they try to perform the access ritual and accidentally free Slizzath and his undead army. The Idylists also claimed that Thar had gone insane to hide their complex, fearful plan.
In Poseidonis, one of the domed cities of Atlantis, Queen Berra gave birth to her baby boy, Garth, who was born with purple eyes. The Atlanteans claimed Garth had been born genetically inferior and sentenced him to death on a seabed leagues away from Atlantis. It has been speculated that with the assistance of Aquaman's father, the Atlantean sorcerer Atlan, the young Garth not only survived but thrived, teaching him language and survival rituals to keep the young boy from going feral as he scavenged his way through the undersea. Garth developed an intense fear of schools of fish, however, which haunted him into his teens.
Eventually, Garth met and rescued Aquaman and became his sidekick, Aqualad. Together they shared many adventures. Once Aquaman married his lady love, Mera, and had his own son, adventuring with Aqualad became less important to him, leaving Garth feeling unsure of his role in his mentor's life. Seeking to be of help to other teens in trouble, Garth became one of the founding members of the Teen Titans. Still shunned by many Poseidonians despite his heroics on their behalf, Aqualad was sent away to be schooled in Scotland, at a school on the shores of Loch Ness, as seen in the Teen Titans series. Soon, life for Garth became increasingly difficult, both at home and away. Mera was kidnapped (Aquaman #40), forcing the Aqua-duo to go in search of her, during which time Garth's left arm was nearly severed by an attacker. While he mended in the hospital, a plot against the Crown developed and Aqualad was forced to escape, finding that he was being deliberately over-drugged to keep him from thwarting the usurpers. While on a quest to assist Aquaman, Garth was kidnapped and forced to fight a giant sea beast to the death, surviving just long enough for Aquaman to defeat the monster. Little did Garth know that, before long, he would be forced to defend himself in a life or death struggle against his mentor over the survival of the infant Aquababy (Adventure Comics # 452). Betrayed and abandoned by Aquaman, Garth stayed in the Hidden Valley to search for links to his identity (Adventure 453-455, his first mini-series), eventually finding himself to have been born the lost prince of the Idyllist, though it would be several more years before he learned the truth about his father's murder and his mother's complicity in his exile at the hands of the Poseidonians ("Tempest: Prophets And Kings").
Also as a teenager, Garth met and fell in love with Aquagirl (Tula), the impetuous and feisty Atlantean ward of Aquaman's predecessor, King Juvor. They dated for years, aiding Aquaman as defenders of the undersea realms, until Tula's tragic death at the hands of Chemo during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Grief-stricken, Garth left Atlantis, rejoined the Teen Titans on a number of occasions, and saw his relationship with Aquaman become violent and strained.
As a result of his grief and repeated telepathic abuse by Mento, among other factors, Aqualad lost his ability to control marine life. While he later regained this power during the Millennium event, it came with the condition that his commands must now be phrased as requests to the creatures to perform desired actions, although the animals apparently need little persuasion.
Garth nearly joined the list of casualties during "Titans Hunt," an all-out attempt to wipe out the former teen sidekicks and their allies. While trying to free the ascending Golden Eagle from the clutches of a member of the Wildebeest Society, Aqualad fell from a great height, his body mangled and his bones shattered on the rocks of a sea wall below. Rescued by the (then) reformed Steve Dayton and Deathstroke, Garth was confined to a tank and left to be cared for by STAR Labs physicians who found that they could do little for him, due to his Atlantean physiology. After the boy nearly died twice, the Titans called for Aquaman, who took Garth to the Idyllists in the hopes that their metaphysical cures might save him. While at the edge of death, Garth saw Tula and begged to join her in the Great Beyond, but was instead revived by Tusky the walrus. Angered that Arthur had yet again abandoned him and, worse, with people he thought hated him, he fought with his mentor but eventually they parted as friends.
Some time later, Garth encountered a band of shark-like merpeople who attacked the hero with a kind of "mystic water." Garth vanished and reappeared in another dimension, where Atlan awaited to train him. Atlan taught Garth to use powers the young Idyllist didn't know he possessed, included elemental powers which allowed him to heat and cool water and create whirlpools, as well as fiery purple blasts of energy from his eyes. Toward the end of his training, Garth was scarred in a sacrification ritual, leaving two pronounced scars over his right eye which healed into "tattoos" once he had conquered his inner turmoil. Atlan told Garth that the final part of his training was to complete the ritual that would grant him full access to his ancentral magical power, and thus Garth had to return to Shayeris, in the Hidden Valley.
Garth returned to our dimension at nearly the same time he left, although he was approximately three years older upon his return. When Garth, alongside Atlan, returned to Shayeris, he found the city overtaken by undead creatures. Completely unaware of his own history or his uncle's powers of necromancy, Garth was ill-prepared for the sudden return of Aquagirl, risen from the grave. Together with Letifos, one of the shark warriors, Atlan, and Aquagirl, Garth descended into Shayeris. Just the sheer proximity to the ancient pool of ancenstral magic allowed Garth to tap into the power, and, charged with the purple energy, he recreated his costume out of the Idylist red and black flag and renamed himself Tempest. Tempest then found his father's sanctum, and performed the magical ritual which would give him his power. But the false Aquagirl, a magical conduit for Slizzath, attacked Tempest and channeled that power into Slizzath, releasing the monster from his other-dimensional prison. Using his stolen power, Slizzath captured Tempest and Atlan, raised an enormous undead army, and finally transformed the Hidden Valley into the necropolis he long dreamed of.
Tempest eventually broke free of his prison and found the remaining Idyllists, hiding in Thar's old armory. There, Tempest was reunited with his mother and the truth -- that the fearful Idyllists were so terrified of the release of Slizzath, they lied about Thar's sanity and saw to it that Garth was banished as an infant. Disgusted, Garth took control of the armory and a small number of Idyllist warriors and attacked Slizzath. Tempest destroyed the Aquagirl zombie that had seduced him and, using his full range of powers, sent his uncle back into the other-dimensional prison void, sealing the portal forever.
After a tearful goodbye to Aquagirl, Tempest returned to Atlantis where he became the city's official ambassador to the UN. His relationship with Aquaman became more tumultuous, and Garth later learned that Aquaman had another son from a dalliance with an Inuit woman. This son, Koryak, grew to resent Tempest and the two became bitter rivals for some time. More friction arose between Tempest and Aquaman when Aquaman's lover, Dolphin, left him for Tempest, but the two have since resolved their differences. Tempest and Dolphin were soon married, with the young maid pregnant of a young son, named Cerdian by his godfather, Aquaman. At the same time, Tempest joined a new incarnation of his old team, the Titans, playing part-time adventurer as well as royal politician and new father. He also played a prominent role in the Imperiex War, not only transferring Atlantis to the past when it faced destruction with the detonation of an Imperiex probe, but subsequently providing Darkseid with a magical focus for his powers that would enable Superman to send both Imperiex and Brainiac-13 back to the Big Bang, thus defeating both of them simultaneously.
The weight of new familial responsibilities initially strained the relationship between Dolphin and Tempest, and she demanded that he choose between his duties as a hero and his duties as a father and husband. Reluctantly, Tempest complied and quit the Titans. Another weight on his matrimonial life came when a new sorcerer elite took over the government of Atlantis after its return from the 'Obsidian Age'. As friends of the deposed king, both Tempest and his wife fell under suspicion and, as suspected traitors, were put under house arrest. Tempest always managed to sneak out, sometimes briefly adventuring with his former mentor and helping him, but always leaving his wife behind.
When finally Hagen fell from his chief role and Aquaman returned to Atlantis, Tempest returned to his home, and seemingly reconciled with his wife and son, but only briefly. While Tempest was trying to channel the magic of all the Atlantis Sorcerers (to undo a spell that turned Mera into an air-breather), the Spectre sensed the strong magic power Tempest now possessed and, following his crusade against magic and magicians, unleashed his strength on Atlantis. The inhabitants of the undersea city paid the toll, and Tempest, target of the Spectre's wrath, is now missing. When Aquaman searched for him, he was only able to find part of his uniform in the presumed place of his death.
One Year Later
One year later, the solicitation for Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #51 reveals that Tempest will "[try] to help Arthur recover the Trident of Poseidon". Tempest was found by Cal Durham and the people of Sub Diego in issue #50, amnesiac and unable to process water into oxygen, with a post-hypnotic suggestion warning Arthur and Orin on the upcoming fight with their nemesis, Issitoq the Narwal. For the time being, he seems to have lost the ability to process water and any mystical abilities. He has been portrayed in other DC comics (besides Aquaman) as having regained his abilities. (Whether this is a story that hasn't been told yet, or just editorial sloppiness, has yet to be determined). During the events of issues 51-57, Garth encounters Black Manta, who belittles him yet spares his life as a nod to the "cripple" he has become. As Manta attempts to murder Arthur and Cal Durham, Garth destroys the Mantamen's ion cannon and thwarts Manta's plans. Deeply depressed about his physical condition and fearing the fates of Dolphin and Cerdian, Garth is introduced to a sorceress named Leah who leads him to a spacecraft she'd used to transport herself from a mystical city where the young mage might find the answer to his troubles. In issue 56, he boards the ship and leaves in search of his family.
Garth eventually finds that his family is dead and he takes it upon himself to lead Atlantis now that Aquaman is dead. He visits Aquaman's grave, which is buried next to his human father's by a lighthouse, with Mera. Garth argues that Aquaman should be laid to rest in the ocean and Mera finally agrees with him. They bring a group of guards back to the gravesite to take Arthur's body but find that the grave has been mutilated. Aquaman suddenly appears, wearing a Black Power Ring. He kills the guards, ripping out their hearts. He then attacks Mera while Garth is confronted by Black Lanterns Dolphin and Tula. Dolphin and Tula argue over Garth while they are fighting him. Tula gets the upper hand on Garth and tears out his heart in a moment when he is feeling great hope. Garth is then recruited into the Black Lantern Corps.
New 52 and Rebirth
Following the 2011 "Flashpoint" storyline, and the subsequent New 52 reboot of the DC Comics' superhero continuity, Garth did not appear for some time. A passing reference to Garth was made in Red Hood and the Outlaws along with Cyborg, Lilith, Richard, Gar and a new unseen character named Dustin, as members of the Teen Titans that Starfire seemingly no longer remembers. Another reference is made in Aquaman, in which a shadowy Atlantean woman is seen reporting to the current King of Atlantis, Ocean Master, about the attacks made upon the boy born with purple eyes, who is believed by some to bring the end of Atlantis. Ocean Master orders the boy, whose name is revealed as Garth, to be returned to his mother unharmed.
Garth has since made his appearance known and is among an elite force that Mera (who later is revealed to be her sister Siren) put together to hunt down Aquaman. Their ranks include besides Garth, King Shark, Scylla, Charybdis and Ch'tok. Later, Garth is made Director of Communications of the newly established Atlantean embassy on land.
The Titans Hunt (2015–2016) series later establishes Garth was a part of the Teen Titans several years ago, along with Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl and others, but like his teammates had his memories of their time together erased for his own safety. After the events of DC Rebirth, Garth is once again part of an older Titans team which includes Nightwing, Arsenal, Donna Troy, Lilith Clay and the newly-returned Wally West. Wally's return helps the group recover their full memories, establishing that they have all been friends since forming the Teen Titans as children.
Powers and Abilities
Tempest possesses superhuman strength, allowing him to lift about 8 tons on dry land. He can survive at depths of up to 3,400 feet below surface level. His body contains fluids that adjust to give him buoyancy at varying depths. His body also produces gases that push out against the ocean pressures as heavily as they push in, preventing him from being crushed at great depths. His body is also highly impervious to physical injury. His bloodstream is filled with an amino acid that keeps his body from freezing in the ocean depths, although his own temperature is naturally quite high, allowing his muscles the heat they need to swim at such high speeds. Tempest can swim at speeds of 73.86 knots (or 85 MPH or even 136.79 km/h). Tempest has excellent close range vision and he can see particularly well in low light. He is partially color blind, almost unable to distinguish between black, green, and blue. His sense of hearing is particularly acute, although, because the rate sound travels on dry land is different than beneath the water, his hearing is directly linked to his vision. He also has a powerful sense of smell. Tempest breathes by extracting oxygen from the water through tiny pores in his skin.
Tempest also has magical abilities; he can project powerful purple energy blasts from his eyes; he can manipulate water currents (e.g., he can create whirlpools) and can boil or freeze vast bodies of water. His powers also include sensing magical energies, postcognition, telepathy, dimensional travel, limited telekinesis, demonic summoning, and astral projection. Tempest's powers are so great that he was once able to teleport the entirety of Atlantis into the past during the Imperiex War; further, the villainous Darkseid used him as a conduit to help open a Boom Tube powerful enough to send Imperiex back to the beginning of time. Whether he still possesses any telepathic abilities is dabatable.
Garth is the only founding Titan whose original codename hasn't been used by a new hero. See One Year Later (above) for the controversy regarding his current power level.
In other media
- Aqualad's first animated appearance was alongside Aquaman in Filmation's 1967 animated series The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, as well as in the Teen Titans shorts that were part of the series. The Aquaman cartoon series of 1968 was a repackaged 30-minute version featuring primarily (but not exclusively) Aquaman and Aqualad. He was voiced by Jerry Dexter.
- Aqualad has also appeared on the Teen Titans animated series, where he is voiced by Wil Wheaton. His first appearance was in "Deep Six" where he, Tramm and the Titans West defeated Trident. In "Winner Take All", Aqualad demonstrates the ability to control water by means of psychokinesis. In the series, he serves as a Titans East member, a short term crush of Raven and Starfire, and a temporary rival to Beast Boy. He is now an official member of Teen Titans' sister group, Titans East, with Bumblebee, Speedy, and the twins Más y Menos. Aqualad is the most frequently used honorary Titan on the show.
- Aqualad also makes eight appearances on the comic series based on the show. In his first appearance in Teen Titans Go! (issue #10), he searches for Gill Girl. He told the Titans that she used to have a crush on him, but he looked at her like a sister. Beast Boy didn't believe him and says that she dumped him. He made short appearances in #20, #25 and #27. One of the stories in issue #30 focused on him and Speedy. In issue #48 an alternative version of him as Tempest appeared in a group called the Teen Tyrants.
- Tempest appears in the video game Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis. He is also an unlockable character in the game.