Behind every great man is a great woman, and that includes superheroes. For Aquaman, that woman is Mera. She may not be well-known to the casual fan, but she has become an essential part of the DC Universe. In the comics, Mera has risen above the role of a minor player. There’s more to her than just extraordinary powers and striking good looks. It’s time for Mera to take her rightful place as the Worlds of DC’s (unofficially the DCEU) next badass.
First, the Basics
Mera can match Aquaman almost power for power — they both even wield their own tridents. But it’s her physical abilities that are the most impressive. Mera possesses all the superhuman capabilities that come with Atlantean physiology. Swimming comes as natural to her as walking does for us surface dwellers. She can even see in the pitch blackest of oceans, and her hearing rivals Superman’s.
Aquaman isn’t the only metahuman with impressive water control. Mera, too, possesses hydrokinesis, an important ability not all Atlanteans share. She often uses this power to immobilize others — by draining them of their bodily fluids.
Mera’s powers are impressive, but they only represent a small fraction of what makes her an extraordinary hero. Where a hero comes from is just as important. Mera’s origins, both in the comics and in the Worlds of DC, have helped mold her into Aquaman’s most trusted ally and a hero in her own right.
A Tale of Three Origins
Mera is a fierce warrior who has embraced Atlantis’ role in the world. The comparison between her journey to get to this frame of mind in the comics versus on the big screen is interesting.
Her original origin in Aquaman #11 sees her ruling as Queen in Dimension Aqua. She is later exiled by the criminal Leron after he takes over her kingdom. She then escapes to our dimension where she meets Aquaman — and opts to stay with him in Atlantis, even after Leron is defeated.
The New 52 reboots the DC Universe and Mera’s origin. Here, Mera’s homeworld of Xebel is exiled from the rest of Atlantis and wars decimate its population. Xebel seeks recompense and sends Mera — hater of Atlantis — to murder Aquaman, who she refuses to accept as heroic. In a weird twist of fate, seeing him in action causes her to renounce her mission and pledge allegiance to Atlantis.
In the Worlds of DC, Mera is raised by Aquaman’s mother, Queen Atlanna, as her parents fight in the wars of Xebel. Trained to be the Queen’s protégée, she eventually leads the Atlantean Guard. Mera is entrusted with guarding one of the sacred Mother Boxes.
As one of Atlantis’ most prominent figures, Mera’s in a unique position to help a reluctant Arthur embrace his own destiny. If he’s to become the hero we all love, Aquaman’s going to need guidance. Mera lays the groundwork for this in Justice League.
In a deleted scene, Mera and Aquaman have an extended confrontation with Steppenwolf. Most notable is the scene afterward, which made the final cut of the movie. After Steppenwolf gets his hands on the Mother Box, Aquaman, still angry at his mother for leaving him behind, sees no reason to pursue him. Mera stops him by telling him that she knew his mother. She explains that while abandoning Aquaman as a child hurt his mother, her sacrifice was not in vain. Compassionate as she is tough, Mera’s words convince Arthur to take responsibility and hunt Steppenwolf down. Surely, Mera is destined for great things, just like her comic book counterpart.
Yes, She’s That Big a Deal
Mera’s time as both a Justice Leaguer and Queen of Atlantis has earned her a prominent place among DC’s elite. The Justice League first meet Mera after a failed attempt to rescue Aquaman results in a tidal occurrence. Batman, impressed with her abilities, invites Mera to join the Justice League while they figure out how to rescue Arthur. One of her most significant adventures with the League involves her helping the team to take down Shirak, a villain who resurrects on Earth following a showdown with the Green Lantern Corps. This story is filled with the sort of sci-fi goodness worthy of a big screen adaptation.
Mera’s popularity earned her a miniseries, Mera: Queen of Atlantis. As a newly anointed Queen in exile, Mera struggles to keep the peace between Atlantis and the surface world. Civil war brews throughout the watery kingdom, and Orm’s (aka Ocean Master) lust for power rears its ugly head again. Aquaman’s evil half-brother challenges Mera to an epic battle royale that will determine Atlantis’ fate. The odds seem stacked against the weaponless Mera, as Orm’s trident commands the wrath of the oceans and Mera’s powers are wonky. Thankfully for Atlantis, Mera uses her smarts to win, manipulating small amounts of water (instead of large quantities) to stop water from flowing to Orm’s gills. (Who doesn’t want to see this on the big screen?)
Like Dick Grayson’s evolution into Nightwing, Mera has become a standout hero in the comics. She’s more than capable of filling the void should Aquaman be temporarily out of commission or off dealing with another threat. It looks as if Mera is already on track towards fulfilling both roles in the Worlds of DC, and it’s important that her character sees this arc through.
All Hail Mera!
Dinah Drake says on a recent episode of Arrow that the four pillars of heroism are: courage, compassion, selflessness, and loyalty. Mera embodies all four pillars. It’s up to Aquaman to lay the groundwork for her to reach her full potential.
Justice League has already helped Aquaman become a breakout star. So, Aquaman should spend some time developing Mera. It’s clear from watching Justice League and what we know of Aquaman so far that Arthur is going to need a push on his journey to become King of Atlantis. And you can bet that Mera is ready to do it.
Mera is being treated as Aquaman’s equal partner, and this suggests that the Worlds of DC may have big plans for her future. The Justice League will need to expand its ranks to battle future threats like Darkseid, and it would be shocking if Aquaman didn’t recommend Mera for the job. The events of Mera: Queen of Atlantis are ripe for potential Aquaman sequel material. After all, Mera will be queen someday.
Mera has established herself as a hero both in print and in film. The comic books have already realized her potential. Let’s hope the Worlds of DC filmmakers understand what an asset she has become to the DC Comics Universe and translate this to the big screen. In an era where women are winning the superhero movie, Mera is ready to be the World of DC’s next badass.