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Tempest

Alias: Garth
Formerly: Aqualad

Titans Member
Joined:
Brave and the Bold #60 [1965]
Related Links: AquamanAquagirl I (Tula)Queen Berra & King Thar
SlizzathAtlanDolphinCerdian
Aquagirl II (Lorena Marquez)Aqualad II (Jackson Hyde)

Tempest Quick Bio: Young Garth was abandoned by his own people because of a superstition concerning his unique purple eyes. Befriended by Aquaman, the underwater orphan became his sidekick as Aqualad! Years later, Garth discovered his secret mystic birthright and emerged as the powerful aquatic hero known as Tempest.

Recent File Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

Hero History


Royal Beginnings

The Idylists were a group of pacifists living in self-exile from Atlantis in the Hidden Valley for over 4,000 years. They knew no violence; Peace and serenity were their way of life. King Thar came into power and ruled from Shayeris, the capital city. Thar had inherited much of his ancestor’s mythic power, and practiced sorcery alongside his brother, Zath. The history of Atlantis is fraught with a recurring them of brother against brother. Thar and Zath proved no exception to that rule.

Zath thought power should be his and resented his brother for “taking” it from him. In truth, Zath was denied his birthright because he dabbled in the black arts by practicing necromancy, the evocation of the dead. He was banished from the Hidden Valley but returned 20 years later with an army of undead soldiers. When King Thar assembled weapons to destroy his brother Zath’s invading armies, his palace guards mistakenly believed he was going insane, and murdered him.

Garth’s origin retold – from TEMPEST #1 [1996].

Fearing the monarchy was tainted by foul violence, Thar’s pregnant wife Berra was exiled to Atlantis, where she gave birth to Garth. Believing his purple eyes to be a bad omen, the Atlanteans seized the infant and left him to die, abandoned to the sea.

Undersea Sidekick

Miraculously, Garth survived in the ocean depths on his own. As the infant grew into boyhood, he eventually met Atlantis’ greatest hero, Aquaman.

Aqualad meets Aquaman in ADVENTURE COMICS #269.

Befriended by Aquaman, the youth was cured of his initial fear of fish and became Aqualad, the Sea King’s junior partner in crime-fighting. Aqualad possessed abilities which, while not increased by a hybrid metabolism as are Aquaman’s, were greater than those of the average Atlantean. Like Aquaman, he could telepathically control and converse with all manner of sea creatures, as well as being able to breathe underwater like all Atlanteans and to swim at fantastic speeds with super-human endurance. Also like his mentor, his sole weakness lay in his inability to remain on land without contact with water for longer than one hour without asphyxiating.

After roaming the ocean depths with Aquaman (while attending school in Scotland by special arrangement), Aqualad returned to Atlantis as a permanent resident when Aquaman married Mera, the queen of an extra-dimensional water-world, and became the new king of Atlantis.

ABOVE: Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad team up for the first time in
BRAVE AND THE BOLD #54 [1964].
BELOW: Aqualad joins the Teen Titans with Aquaman’s approval
in BRAVE AND THE BOLD #60 [1965].

Friendly Waters

A short time later, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad joined forces to stop the menacing Mr. Twister from enslaving the children of Hatton Corners. It was the first time the sidekicks joined forces.

When the Justice League inexplicably turned to crime, their young sidekicks – Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Speedy and Wonder Girl – teamed up in an effort to solve this mystery. The teen team eventually learned the evil entity known as the Antithesis had used its powers to manipulate the minds of the Justice League. The five resourceful teenagers joined together, stopping their possessed mentors and expelling the Antithesis back into limbo. Spurred by their success, the group decided to make their partnership permanent, and the Teen Titans were officially formed. Although the sidekicks would continue to operate alongside their mentors, they discovered newfound confidence fighting crime with their peers in the Teen Titans.

Aqualad eventually took an extended leave of absence from the Titans in order to aid Aquaman in a lengthy quest for Mera, who had been abducted by parties unknown, and to care for the royal couple’s infant son in their absence. Aqualad was replaced in the group by Speedy.

Aqualad meets Aquachick… er, Aquagirl in the
pages of AQUAMAN #33 [1967].

It was about this time that Aqualad crossed paths with a vivacious young Atlantean known as Tula, who he quickly dubbed “Aquachick.” Immediately smitten with each other, the couple ran into trouble when they were both hypnotized into aiding the evil Dr. Dorsal. Once freed from his thrall, Garth and Tula began to date, with Tula eventually adopting the codename Aquagirl.

In his absence, the Teen Titans had undergone radical changes, becoming the non-costumed, pacifist participants in the special training program run by Mr. Jupiter. Aqualad rejoined the Teen Titans, only to find himself at odds with their new ideologies, under the guidance of Loren Jupiter. He became an occasional member, helping out with a handful of cases. And as he did participate in the group, he was plagued with an undiagnosed sickness, which was actually a manifestation of an inferiority complex. It seemed Garth felt useless to the team, largely due to his one hour limitation away from water. Garth officially resigned from the team shortly before they eventually disbanded anyway.

Buried Truths

After a falling-out with Aquaman, Aqualad decided to search for the truths behind his own mysterious origins. Barging into a meeting of the Idylist ruling council, Aqualad demanded information on his parents. The council refused, and secretly kept all records sealed.

Resolving to gain answers on his own, Aqualad discovered a banished Idylist hermit who admitted to killing King Thar. Upon seeing a picture, Aqualad immediately recognized Thar as his own father.

Garth discovers the truth behind  his parents in ADVENTURE COMICS #453-455 [1977]

Aqualad broke through council security and accessed the ancient files to learn his parents were King Thar and Queen Berra, who ruled peacefully until King Thar went mad and was killed by his own guards. Aqualad also believed he was left to die because his purple eyes were a sign of inferiority. Unknown to Aqualad, the ancient files were missing pieces of information which would later inform his true destiny as Tempest.

Satisfied with his findings, Garth left the Idylists to search for Aquaman, who he had rebuffed earlier.

Tragedy Strikes

The next incarnation of the Teen Titans was gathered by Raven, which Aqualad was not to be a part of, although he did assist the team on various cases – including the shattering Crisis on Infinite Earths. During the Crisis, Aquagirl was part of the group of super-heroes who traveled to Earth-Four to battle Brainiac’s battalion of super-villains. There, she found herself in the wake of Chemo’s acid pollution of the ocean as she battled the Shark, and died a slow death as the poison infiltrated her system. Aquagirl’s death left Aqualad in a deep state of mourning.

ABOVE: Aqualad refuses a mission in space – for obvious reasons – in
NEW TEEN TITANS #23 [1982].BELOW: Aquagirl dies in the pages of
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #9 [1985]; She is pronounced dead in CRISIS #10.

Aqualad remained in Atlantis, but still assisted the Titans on various missions. On one such case, Garth was abducted by a then-insane Mento, who used his helmet to inflict psychological torture on Garth. This somehow effected his ability to telepathically control sea life. It did, however, allow him to come to terms with the death of Tula, to some degree.

Garth’s marine telepathy would return a short time later, during the “Millennium” conflict. Following that, Garth and Golden Eagle were savagely attacked by Wildebeest Agents. Golden Eagle was presumed dead, while Garth lay in a coma for weeks. Once revived, Aqualad donned a new costume and helped ease the Titans into their next phase under the auspices of the United States government.

Tempest Makes A Splash

Given a new lease on life, Aqualad began to team up more regularly with Aquaman. As the Aqua-allies tried to stave off an alien invasion, Garth was whisked away by Aquaman’s father Atlan, a powerful Atlantean wizard.

In an other-worldy dimension, Atlan helped Garth fulfill his destiny as a powerful mage. Under Atlan’s tutelage, Garth discovered new limits to his powers, including the ability to control the temperature of water and fire mystical power blasts from his eyes. As time flowed differently in Atlan’s dimension, Garth trained for several years while only a few months passed for Aquaman.

Garth’s training with Atlan is explained  in TEMPEST #1 [1996].

Upon his return, Garth learned that his power-mad Uncle Zath had been planning his own return as well. Zath – now transformed into the demon necromancer Slizzath – sought to escape his mystical prison by exploiting Garth’s newfound magics. Slizzath created a mystical a doppelganger of Tula, who was created to trap Garth and siphon his new powers.

Garbed in the flag of his people, Garth confronted Slizzath in is new identity as Tempest. Eventually seeing through this ruse, Tempest was able to defeat Slizzath, while gaining a sense of closure in regards to Tula’s death.

During this encounter, Garth also experienced a tense reunion with his mother Berra. Garth still dealt with feelings of abandonment, while Berra took tentative steps toward rebuilding their fractured relationship.

Garth becomes Tempest, and says a final goodbye to Tula, in TEMPEST #4 [1996].

Finding Love Again

Tempest soon found new love with Dolphin, who was awkwardly still seeing Aquaman at the time. Dolphin broke things off with Aquaman, who eventually gave the union his blessing. It proved fortuitous, as Dolphin realized she was pregnant and Garth was the father. The couple was quickly married and Dolphin soon bore a son. Dolphin and Tempest’s first child was named Cerdian by Aquaman as a gesture to the surface-country Cerdia, which had recently fallen under Atlantean control.

In the far reaches of space, an alien threat loomed – one that would soon reunite the Titans of past and present. Having collected a planet-size assortment of technological debris, Victor Stone journeyed to Earth to turn its moon into a new Technis world and populate it with his Titans allies. The JLA and the Titans first clashed, then united, eventually freeing Victor from alien influence. Following this encounter, the original five Titans decided to reform the team, inviting five other members to join as well.

ABOVE: Garth and Dolphin celebrate the birth of Cerdian in AQUAMAN #63 [2000].
BELOW: The five original Titans bond in JLA/TITANS #3 [1999].

As Garth’s obligations to the Titans increased, he seemed to have trouble balancing his family life with his dedication to the team. Dolphin rectified the situation by moving into the Titans Tower with Cerdian. But soon after, the Titans Tower was destroyed by enemy forces. To put a further strain on the situation, Tempest was almost killed by an addictive drug from a Chemical World. After these events, Dolphin insisted Garth retire from the Titans, and Garth reluctantly complied.

Dolphin gives Tempest an ultimatum in TITANS #47 [2003].

Watery Graves

Garth moved his family to New Atlantis, where he was greeted with suspicion from the new rulers and placed under house arrest. Leaving his wife and small child behind, Tempest used his wizardry to escape Atlantis and sought Aquaman for help. Eventually, the sorcerers’ rule was overturned and Atlantis was restored. Before its citizens could celebrate, Atlantis was attacked by the Spectre, who was driven mad when he lost his human host. As Spectre razed Atlantis to the ground, Tempest and several Atlantean mystics unsuccessfully tried to combat him. With Atlantis destroyed, only Tempests’ tattered costumed was found – leaving his fate in question.

Tempest later returned, but his powers had somehow left him. He was also shocked to discover that Aquaman had perished, and another undersea adventurer had appropriated his name. With his former mentor gone, Tempest embarked on a search for his lost wife and son, as his powers eventually returned to him. Returning to the ruins of Atlantis, Tempest was struck with tragedy upon discovering the corpses of Dolphin and Cerdian among the debris.

After some soul searching, Tempest assumed his new role as leader of Atlantis. He was soon attacked by undead Black Lantern versions of Aquaman, Dolphin and the original Aquagirl – and was transformed into a Black Lantern himself. During the Blackest Night, Black Lantern Tempest was killed in battle.

Tempest buries Dolphin and Cerdian in  TITANS #15 [2010].

Powers & Abilities


Tempest has enhanced strength and enhanced senses, due to his time spent in the ocean depths. As Aqualad, he had the ability to telepathically communicate with marine life, although that ability has been lost to him. As Tempest, he has the ability to control the temperature of water, from freezing ice to boiling hot. He also have mystical energy force beams which he channels from his eyes. Having spent years under Atlan’s tutelage, Garth may possess other mystical mage-like abilities that have not been revealed.

 

Essential Reading


Adventure Comics #269: Aquaman finds an orphaned boy on a reef. Taking the name Aqualad, the boy works closely with Aquaman, learning to overcome his initial fear of marine life. First appearance of Aqualad. Aqualad’s birth and parentage not revealed until Adventure Comics #453-455 [1977-1878]. Aqualad’s name, Garth, not revealed until Tales of the Teen Titans #45-47 [1984].
Brave & The Bold #54 [1964]: The future Teen Titans make their first appearance as a team in this story, but the team is not officially organized or named. Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad are asked by the teenagers of Hatton Corners to resolve a generation gap dispute; The young heroes defeat a villain called Mr. Twister. First un-official appearance of the Teen Titans. First appearance of Mr. Twister.
Brave & The Bold #60 [1965]: Now organized as the Teen Titans, Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl respond to a call for help from the teenagers of Midville.
Aquaman (first series) #33 [1967]: Aquagirl is introduced in a Bob Haney/Nick Cardy story in Aquaman #33, in which she and Aqualad are hypnotized into aiding the evil Dr. Dorsal. First appearance of Aquagirl.
Teen Titans #19 [1968]: Speedy and Wonder Girl begin dating. Aqualad returns to Atlantis for an extended leave, ostensibly in order to look after the infant Aquababy while Aquaman is involved in a quest for his missing wife, Mera (as shown in Aquaman), and Speedy becomes Aqualad’s replacement among the Titans. Aqualad leaves the team. Speedy joins.
Teen Titans #28-29 [1970]: Aqualad tries to find Wonder Girl at the apartment she shares with Sharon Tracy, but instead finds himself battling thugs who are after Sharon because of something she accidentally witnessed in the park, but which she cannot remember due to selective amnesia. Aqualad returns and asks the Teen Titans to redon their costumes in order to help him battle the Ocean Master; Angered at his former comrades’ seeming apathy, Aqualad pursues the case alone, but is defeated by Ocean Master, bound, and left to die when the hour he can survive out of water is up. The heroes, with Hawk and Dove, eventually agree to help and defeat Aquaman’s evil half-brother.
Teen Titans #50-52 [1977]: Aqualad announces his resignation: he has diagnosed his “fainting spells” as a psychosomatic illness brought on by his feelings of inferiority and uselessness to the land-based Titans team.
Teen Titans #53 [1978]: The origin of the Teen Titans is revealed in flashback as an Untold Tale from the Teen Titans Casebook: the story of how Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, and Speedy met and formally organized and named the Teen Titans team, between the events of The Brave and the Bold #54 and 60.

Adventure Comics #453-455 [1977-1878]: Aqualad Back-up Story. Aqualad barges into a meeting of the Idylist ruling council, demanding information about his parents. The council refuses to give Aqualad any information as they fear he may learn the truth. Soon after, Aqualad finds a banished Idylist hermit who admits to killing King Thar. Upon seeing a picture, Aqualad immediately recognizes Thar as his father. Aqualad breaks through security and accesses the ancient files to learn the truth: His parents were King Thar and Queen Berra, who ruled peacefully until King Thar went mad and became hungry for war. Thar’s peace loving people revolted, killing their once-beloved king and banished his now-pregnant wife. The Idylists, ashamed of the sins of this dark day, buried this information. Garth leaves knowing the truth and searches for Aquaman, who he had rebuffed earlier. First appearances (in flashback) of King Thar and Queen Berra.

Tales of the Teen Titans #45-47 [1984]: After Aqualad and Aquagirl run afoul of the H.I.V.E. and their underwater base, the pair – desperately in need of water – arrives at an empty Titans’ Tower. Aqualad’s name, Garth, revealed for the first time in issue #45.
Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10 [1985]: Aquagirl joins all of earth’s heroes during the so-called Crisis On Infinite Earths . Tula drowns in a body of water poisoned by the toxic waste of the mindless villain, Chemo. The Atlantean doctors try to save her life but fail. Death of Tula in issue #10.
Teen Titans Spotlight On: Aqualad #10 [1987]: Mento holds Aqualad captive and psychologically tortures him, taking Garth on a nightmarish trip through his life. Aqualad is able to break free when he senses a bond between himself and Mento: both have lost the woman they love. Mento threatens Garth, but allows him to leave.

Aquaman #8-9, 19-20 [1995-1996]: Aqualad is seemingly killed by flesh-eating water in Aquaman #8 [1995]. Garth washes up on a strange shore, still alive in Aquaman #9 [1995]. Garth next appears on the last page of Aquaman #19 [1996] and makes his first full appearance after his mage training in Aquaman #20 [1996], which sports a Garth cover: “Don’t Call Him Aqualad Anymore! “. In Aquaman #20, Garth reveals new powers and abilities and hints that he has spent 3-4 years with Atlan, Aquaman’s father. The events of Garth’s training are detailed in Showcase ’96 #1 [1996]. Garth continues as a supporting character in Aquaman from issues Aquaman #21-25 [1996], and even has a confrontation with Aquaman’s son, Kordyak, in Aquaman #24-25 [1996]. After Aquaman #25, Garth becomes Tempest in Tempest #1-4 [1996-1997].
Tempest #1-4 [November 1996 to February 1997]: Aqualad becomes the final original Titan to ‘graduate’ to an adult persona and lose his sidekick status. Phil Jimenez wrote and drew the mini series, which pitted Garth against his power-mad uncle, the demonic Slizzath. Aqualad emerges from his training with the mage Atlan and assumes the identity of Tempest. Soon after, Garth encounters his uncle, who had transformed himself using dark magic and has become Slizzath. Slizzath was King Thar’s brother, who was forbidden the throne for practicing dark magics. Thar imprisoned his brother in a mystical binding prison. Slizzath wanted to siphon Garth’s mystical energies for his own dark purposes. Slizzath creates a mystical a doppelganger of Tula, who is created to dupe Garth. Garth sees through the plan and is able to defeat Slizzath, and once and for all maintain a sense of closure about Tula’s death. Showcase ’96 #1 [1996]:Aqualad, Garth, dead to the real world, has lived for months in the Grotto with Atlan, Aquaman’s father. During this time, Atlan has trained Garth to use the natural sorcery he was born with, including powers of ice and fire. Leads into Tempest mini series #1.
Aquaman #36-37 [1997]:
Aquaman discovers that Garth and Dolphin are romantically involved. Still rather unstable from his recent changes, Aquaman imagines beating Garth within an inch of his life. Garth later reveals he didn’t know Dolphin was romantically involved with his former mentor, and Dolphin felt their relationship died long ago. Aquaman accepts their relationship, with his eventual blessing.

JLA/Titans: the Technis Imperative #1-3 [December 1998 to February 1999]: With a story by Devin Grayson and Phil Jimenez, and art by Phil Jimenez, everyone who had ever been a Titans was reunited. Former Titan Vic Stone threatened to carry out his Technis Imperative and turn the earth’s moon into a new Technis world. The JLA and Titans first clashed, then united to save the earth and Vic Stone. The mini series was designed as a primer to restart the Titans series with the five original members (Nightwing, Troia, Flash, Arsenal and Tempest) as the core.
Titans #1-2 [1999]: Following close on the heels of the events in the JLA/TITANS miniseries, the original Titans decide to set up shop, rebuilding their headquarters (a new Titans Tower) and enlisting a second, non-core group of Titans to help them.
Aquaman #55-56 [1999]: Dolphin announces she is pregnant. Garth is initially shaken, and seeks counsel from the shark-woman, Letifos; When Garth sees Garth with Letifos, she jumps to the wrong conclusion and is heartbroken. All is made well when Garth returns to Dolphin to propose marriage. She accepts.
Aquaman #60 [1999]: It’s the wedding of Tempest and Dolphin, guest-starring the Titans! But when the celebration is interrupted by a mindless menace, the Titans must team up with best man Aquaman to stop it. Marriage of Garth and Dolphin.
Titans #14 [2000]: Still picking up the pieces from their face-off against the super-villain group Tartarus, the Titans head to Scotland – led by Tempest – to save Lilith (Omen) from the clutches of the villains.
Aquaman #63 [2000]: Sometime in the future, a girl named Donna writes the Atlantis Chronicles, and contacts Tempest to clarify some of the history she’s recording. Tempest starts relating the war with Cerdia. Meanwhile, in the present, Dolphin gives birth to Tempest’s son. The ‘Cerdian War’ arc concludes with issue #68. Birth of Cerdian, Garth’s son. Garth names his son Cerdian in Aquaman #70.

Infinite Crisis #2-3 and Aquaman #37:[2006]: Tempest and a group of mystics fight to defend Atlantis, which is being attacked by the Spectre, who has been driven mad upon losing his human host. The Spectre razes Atlantis to the ground, killing many of its inhabitants. Deaths of Dolphin and Cerdian, although this is not confirmed until Titans #15 (2009).
Aquaman #38:[2006]: Aquaman and Aquagirl mourn the destruction of Atlantis, and the deaths of Kordyak and Vulko. Tempest, Dolphin and Cerdian remain missing in the wake of the attack.
Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50-51 [2007]: Tempest returns, drained of his abilities and in search of Dolphin and Cerdian. Note: Tempest later returns in Final Crisis after the events of Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, with his powers fully restored, although no explanation is given.
Titans #15 [2009]: After discovering the dead bodies of Dolphin and Cerdian in the ruins of Atlantis, Tempest ponders his future. Slizzath returns with warnings of the Black Lanterns’ arrival. After some soul searching, Tempest assumes his new role as leader of Atlantis. Deaths of Dolphin and Cerdian confirmed.
Blackest Night #1-8 [2009]: Tempest and Mera are attacked by undead Black Lantern versions of Aquaman, Dolphin and the original Aquagirl. Tempest is transformed into a Black Lantern by Aquaman.

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Aqualad: Underdog Titan Makes Good


Garth never got much respect as a character in TEEN TITANS. Sure, he was a natural for the book, as Aquaman’s teen side-kick, but writers seemed to have a hard time finding productive things to do within the story.

An Aqualad sketch by Karl Kerschl.

CONTRIVED HEROICS

Bob Haney seemed to have some difficulty with Aqualad. To use him to his full potential, nearly every story had to involve some body of water. Eventually, this became excessively contrived: an Olympic swimming pool in #4, a high-dive tank in #6, and sewers and broken fire hydrants in #8.

In 1968, Dick Giordano edited the TEEN TITANS. Change was everywhere. The emphasis in the book switched from a junior Justice League solving teenage problems to, as one letter writer put it, an “internationally-flavored quartet of teenage superheroes.” The Titans visited London, Stockholm, Berlin, Istanbul, and Venezuela. They teamed up with Starfire, the first Russian superhero, in an attempt to stop the French jewel thief, Andre Le Blanc, from stealing the crown jewels of Sweden. No longer was the original lineup sacred. With Teen Titans #19, Speedy became a regular member and Aqualad left.

Aqualad took an extended leave of absence from the Titans in order to aid Aquaman in a lengthy quest for Mera, who had been abducted by parties unknown, and to care for the royal couple’s infant son in their absence. Instead, however, he became involved in a separate solo adventure (as seen in Aquaman), which saw him reunited with his adult counterpart only after the quest for Mera had been completed. In his absence, the Teen Titans had undergone radical changes, becoming the non-costumed, pacifist participants in the special training program run by Mr. Jupiter (see Teen Titans #25 onward), and Aqualad returned to the ranks only to experience irreconcilable idealistic differences with his former comrades.

An Aqualad convention sketch from Jeff Parker in 2001.

USELESS & INFERIOR

In the following issue, the Titans were joined by Mal Duncan, the first black Teen Titan. But non-costumed, non-super-powered Titans were apparently too drab for the readers because by TT #28, the changes were partly reversed, with the costumes, Robin, and even Aqualad all returning. Now rejoined by Robin, the Teen Titans continued their adventures. The group later disbanded after helping an old man rid his estate of a demonic race of creatures [TEEN TITANS, first series #43].

The second version of the Teen Titans [TEEN TITANS, first series #44-53] came into being after the young heroes defeated Dr. Light, who had summoned them all to Titans’ Lair in his attempt to get revenge on the JLA by attacking their young companions. All of the original Titan members eventually returned, plus new recruits such as the Bumblebee and the Herald [Mal Duncan].

Soon after, Garth found himself stricken by an undiagnosed malady, which he finally realized was psychological in nature, resulting from his feelings of uselessness to the team because of his limited powers and need to remain near water, whereupon he resigned his membership [TEEN TITANS, first series #51], just before the team itself disbanded for the second time.

Writer Bob Rozakis explains that he favored Speedy over Aqualad: “As far as we (he and editor Jack C. Harris) were concerned, Speedy was a member of the group from the beginning,” said Rozakis. “I think he was a much more useful character than Aqualad.” And that showed! Rozakis wrote in Aqualad’s ‘inferiority malady’ in TEEN TITANS, first series #51.

A George Pérez Aqualad commission from 2004.

HEARTBROKEN, MAIMED & ALMOST DEAD

The next incarnation of the Teen Titans was gathered by Raven, which Aqualad was not to be a part of, although he did assist the team on various cases. Writer Marv Wolfman admitted he had a hard time working Aqualad into any stories. Garth assisted other heroes during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. During the Crisis, Garth’s longtime love Tula was killed. Garth was devastated.

The hard-luck hero was later kidnapped by Mento, endured mental and physical torture, and lost his marine telepathy for a time. Could it get any worse? yep.

Shortly after this, current and former members of the Titans were hunted and captured by the Wildebeest Society, for unknown reasons [NEW TITANS #71-72] . A Wildebeest agent attacked Golden Eagle and Aqualad. The Wildebeest strangled Golden Eagle to death, killing him. Aqualad was left almost dead, barely clinging to life. Garth remained in a coma throughout the Titans Hunt storyline, until he was eventually revived.

Titans Hunt Editor, Jonathan Peterson comments “As for Aqualad, no, I wanted to keep him [alive] as well. He was a close call though…in terms of killing a major side character, we did come close to axing him AND Jericho, just to give things more weight.”

Labeled useless, maimed and almost killed. Poor Garth. Things were bound to get better, right? Thankfully, yes.

A Tempest convention sketch from Phil Jimenez in 2002.

POWERED UP

Peter David and Phil Jimenez starting charting a new course for Garth. Garth continued to assist Aquaman, as needed. As the team tried to stave off an alien invasion, Garth was whisked away by Aquaman’s father, Atlan. Atlan was a mage who existed in another dimension, and told Garth his destiny was to become a powerful mage as well. Atlan trained Garth in his dimension, and taught him how to greatly augment his powers. Garth studied with Atlan for a couple of years, although only a couple of months passed in Aquaman’s world. Thus, Garth returned a short time after his disappearance (yet having aged a couple of years) with new powers, including the ability to control the temperature of water and fire mystical power blasts from his eyes. Garth was also given a new purpose by Atlan, who told him his destiny was to protect all who live in the ocean.

In Tempest #1-4 [1996], Aqualad becomes the final original Titan to ‘graduate’ to an adult persona and lose his sidekick status. Phil Jimenez wrote and drew the mini series, which pitted Garth against his power-mad uncle, the demonic Slizzath. Aqualad emerged from his training with the mage Atlan and assumed the identity of Tempest. Titans’ writer Jay Faerber observes: “I think Tempest always gets a bad rep as the weak Titan or the wallflower. But I really like Garth and think he’s always fun to write and read. I like, how thanks to Phil Jimenez, Garth has gone from being one of the weakest Titans to one of the most powerful.”

A Tempest convention sketch from Phil Jimenez in 2005.

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 Titans In Love: Aqualad & Aquagirl


The cover of Aquaman #33 [1967] described young Aquagirl as “wild, wet and whacky.” And it wasn’t long before the extroverted Aquachick caught the eye of a more reserved Aqualad. In that same issue, the pair were  hypnotized into aiding the evil Dr. Dorsal before realizing the error of their wild ways. But the Atlantean teens continued to make waves, as Tula adopted the name Aquagirl  and helped overthrow the evil Narkran (Aquaman #42-49).

Teen Titans and Aquaman  artist Nick Cardy recalled the introduction of Aquagirl: “I think it stemmed from the idea that the Aquaman character had Mera, while Aqualad was sort of left out. So George and Bob wrote in a young girl character, Tula. Like with Mera, I designed Tula’s outfit and overall look. She was Aqualad’s companion, being of the same age, they could relate to one another, or oppose the elders. We played up the fact that she was this wild, hip 1960’s modern girl and Aqualad was more reserved and introverted.”

ABOVE: Tula meets Garth in AQUAMAN #33 [1967].
BELOW:  A romantic moment at Donna Troy’s wedding, 
in TALES OF TEEN TITANS #50 [1984].

Garth and Tula’s love grew, as they became a long-standing couple through the remainder of Aquaman’s first series and in Adventure Comics. Aqualad and Aquagirl made a bigger splash in the pages of Tales of the Teen Titans #45-48, where the Titans aided them in taking down the H.I.V.E.’s underwater base. The pair attended Donna Troy’s wedding in Tales of the Teen Titans #50, briefly stealing away to enjoy a romantic skinny-dip in Steve Dayton’s pool.

Sadly, their long-standing love was cut short in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10 [1985], as Aquagirl gave her life defending Atlantis from the evil Chemo. A devastated Garth mourned her death for years, before finally laying their love to rest in the poignant pages of Tempest #4 [1996].

Romantic Reads:
Aquaman [1967] #33
Tales of the Teen Titans [1984] #45-48, 50
Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10 [1985],
Tempest #4 [1996]

 

A 2006 Aquagirl and Aqualad commission by 1960’s Aquaman artist, Ramona Fradon.

TT

Creators on Garth


Nick Cardy: Series artist Nick Candy admits that he was not above playing a few favorites as he designed the book. “I had drawn the Aquaman book for a while” he chuckles, ‘so I had a soft spot in my heart for Aqualad and I would always give him a boost by placing him as one of the strangest elements on the page. And I’ve always liked drawing pretty girls, so I paid special attention to Wonder Girl.”

Nick Cardy, on the introduction of Tula: “I think it stemmed from the idea that the Aquaman character had Mera, while Aqualad was sort of left out. So George and Bob wrote in a young girl character, Tula. Like with Mera, I designed Tula’s outfit and overall look. She was Aqualad’s companion, being of the same age, they could relate to one another, or oppose the elders. We played up the fact that she was this wild, “hip” 1960s modern girl and Aqualad was more reserved and introverted.”

George Pérez: “Speedy and Aqualad? Nicest guest stars. I like Speedy/Aqualad because of the limitation of his powers. He’s nice – nice visual – but now that Robin’s wearing his Nightwing costume, he’s the only one that’s showing his bare legs. Again, a nice little sexiness about him. I always like that kinky hair, and I deliberately gave him a more Italian looking face- Actually, I based it on a girl’s face. I dated a girl, she had very strong features, and I matched them, made them a little more masculine and made Aqualad out of her.”

Devin Grayson: “Garth, as the new financier of the team, has more of a voice in this incarnation than he’s used to having… and I think he kind of likes the feeling. Especially when things start getting complicated in his personal life back in Atlantis. I could have told you more last week, before Erik Larsen quit Aquaman – now, to some extent, I’m just as clueless as you are about what his future holds in store for him. But hopefully we’ll find out soon!”

“Tempest [aka. Garth] is a man with something to prove. He’s another one of the members who’d just as soon do his own thing, but he’s gaining a sense of confidence, although he may be the quietest one on the team. He becomes the Titans’ treasurer. That’s a new position for hire, and he’ll find he has more of a voice than he ever had before.”

Jay Faerber: “I think Tempest always gets a bad rep as the weak Titan or the wallflower. But I really like Garth and think he’s always fun to write and read. I like, how thanks to Phil Jimenez, Garth has gone from being one of the weakest Titans to one of the most powerful. His mystical powers can open up some great stories.”

“Garth isn’t quite the wallflower he used to be. Maybe it’s his increased duties in Atlantis, maybe it’s his increased powers, or maybe it’s his new role as father and husband. Whatever it is, he’s coming out of his shell a little more these days. He’s considered by everyone to be the man you can count on when the chips are down — Garth would sooner die than let any of the Titans be harmed, and he enjoys his role as the Titans’ powerhouse, because it lets him protect his friends. While he’s always had a long friendship with Dick and Donna, he’s probably closest to Argent, of all people. Since he sometimes felt like an outsider back in the early Teen Titans days, he could recognize that Argent was having similar feelings in this version of the Titans — especially after Damage left. So he made it a point to be there for her, and he’s come to genuinely like her, in a kid sister kind of way. Roy gets under his skin more than any other Titan, but he loves him like a brother. He thinks Jesse needs to slow down and loosen up. ”

An Aqualad commission from Nick Cardy.



Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, DC Who’s Who Binder Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published by ICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990], DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author