Jackson Hyde: 1991 - 2003
Jackson Hyde was born in an unincorporated part of New Mexico, near Silver City. He grew up in relative isolation, living alone with his single mother. Though Jackson was never told of his origins until he was much older, Jackson was in fact the son of a Navy SEAL that would go on to become the mercenary known as Black Manta.
Jackson’s mother was an Atlantean who had been exiled from her career as a Royal Engineer for not only showing a surface-dweller the location of Poseidonis but for also designing a suit of armor that would enable her human lover the ability to work his craft underwater. After her exile, Jackson’s mother designed more devices for her lover and even his mercenary lackeys, even designed a fleet of war-subs for their use, but at some point, something happened and she realized that she had done too much, so she fled to one place her lover would not look for her: the desert.
Jackson’s mother was chocked to find she was pregnant as it is rare that human and Atlantean pairings produce offspring, but was even more shocked to discover that her child had the Gift of Kordax, easily noticed from birth with her child’s blonde hair, a trait not natural in Atlanteans. Deciding it was best to conceal her son’s nature from him, Jackson’s mother survived the desert by taking twice-daily baths and regular trips to a small hidden watering hole near their trailer home; but raised Jackson to be afraid of the water and limited his exposure to it, timing his baths and showers, intent to not give his gills time to manifest.
But for all her efforts, eventually the truth came out, when Jackson was twelve and walking home from where his school bus would drop him off. A freak rainstorm drenched the local area and caused Jackson’s gills to form and his fingers to become webbed. When his mother found him and tried to pull him out of the rain, another ability manifested: a powerful electric shock which immediately stopped his mother’s heart. Jackson called 911 but due to his aberrations, police arrested him. Within days, he was just another “metahuman freakshow” in the papers that no one cared about, until the day that Arthur Curry showed up at the jail, intent to take Jackson home.
Aqualad: 2003 - 2007
Jackson Hyde was a day away from his sentencing hearing after a quick small-town kangaroo court found him guilty for the death of his mother. Due to his believed metahuman nature, Jackson was being held at the Silver City Jail and was pretty much doomed to unknowingly follow in his father’s footsteps, but was fortunate enough to receive a visitor that fateful day.
Arthur Curry had happened to hear of Jackson’s story via a news report over a television mounted on the wall of a tavern in St. Roch. Recognizing the boy was not a metahuman, but a hybrid Atlantean like himself, Arthur Curry drove all night to reach the Silver City Jail and with nothing but a ski mask and a swing of whiskey, he freed Jackson Hyde.
After freeing the boy, Arthur brought him to Atlantis. Jackson was given the Atlantean name of Kaldur'ahm and was named apprentice page of Prince Orin’s squire Garth. Kaldur'ahm received a proper education at the Royal Academy of Poseidonis and was a dutiful attendant to Garth and Prince Orin, taking care of their equipment and training while the two were off on their adventures as Aquaman and Aqualad. In his downtime, Kaldur'ahm preferred to continue his training in more esoteric matters instead of pursuing hobbies and this led him to become a pupil of Tula and Mera, secretly studying Atlantean sorcery so that one day he could truly impress his prince, sworn master, and future king.
That day did come when Black Manta infiltrated Poseidonis, seeking to kidnap the newborn son of Prince Orin and his wife Princess Mera. Due to his Kordaxian telepathy and an unknown bond, Kaldur'ahm detected the would-be kidnapper in the nick of time and came to the child’s rescue. Though his combined psionic and magical might, coupled with his intense combat training, proved enough to fight off his opponent, it was Black Manta who would deliver the most painful blow that day: revealing to Kaldur'ahm that he was the boy’s father!
After this revelation, Arthur decided to make Kaldur'ahm his new squire, giving the boy the title Aqualad, in hopes that working in the field would help ease the boy’s traumatic anxiety.
Kaldur'ahm: 2007 - Present
- Atlantean/Human Hybrid Physiology: The Atlanteans are an offshoot of humanity that is biologically adapted to the deep ocean environment. For most Atlanteans, this means they can breathe underwater, endure the pressures of the deep (among other adaptations), and can only spend a very limited time out of the water. Jackson also possesses superhuman levels of strength, speed, endurance and durability, all by-products of his body being adapted to survive unprotected in the tremendous pressures of the ocean depths. Although other Atlanteans possess similar adaptations, Jackson's royal lineage makes him a super-Atlantean as well as super-human, and as such he has greater physical capabilities than does a typical Atlantean.
- Amphibious Nature: Jackson, as an Atlantean, can breathe underwater and on land. He can be immersed indefinitely without suffering any ill effects but due to his combined royal Atlantean and human lineage, he can survive on land longer than an average Atlantean. This length can be extended by the humidity in the atmosphere but eventually prolonged dehydration will weaken him thus he must return to aquatic environment at various period.
- Amphibious Transformation: When any source of water touches Jackson's skin his body transforms and he gains gills and webbed features (so far have only been seen on his hands). This allows him to breathe underwater and swim at speeds that can match Aquaman's. This is not a standard Atlantean feature, but a common mutation.
- Enhanced Vision: His ability to see in the murky depths of the ocean allows Jackson exceptional night vision while on land. He has claimed that his eyes are adapted to see at 6,000 fathoms (or 36,000 feet below the surface of the water).
- Enhanced Hearing: Jackson's hearing is several times more acute than human capacity.
- Enhanced Smell: Jackson's sense of smell is several times more acute than human capacity.
- Enhanced Strength: Jackson possesses superhuman strength. While the average Atlantean or Lemurian can lift/press approximately 2 tons, Jackson can press 35 and is categorized by ARGUS in Class VI of Enhanced Strength.
- Enhanced Stamina: Jackson possesses strength and stamina that allows him to swim at supersonic speed for prolonged periods of time. He can maintain cruising speeds between Mach 1 and Mach 2 with little effort for several hours. Jackson can also go without sleep for three days before showing signs of health degradation.
- Enhanced Durability: Jackson's enhanced physiology enables him to withstand impacts that would kill an ordinary human, and critically injure an average Atlantean. He has been seen in ocean depths as deep as 20,000 feet (3.79 miles) below the surface of the water. It seems that Jackson has been able to travel as deep as 36,000 feet (6.82 miles) considering that he claims that his eyes have been adapted to see at that depth. With the pressure of the ocean floor, at its deepest recorded depth, being over 16,000 pounds per square inch Jackson's body is extremely and highly durable to impact blows from even the likes of Mammoth and Amazons as well as Kryptonians. He is completely durable against small caliber firearms without being incapacitated. Most larger caliber bullets are known to make him bleed but otherwise glance off his thick skin, but armor penetrating weapons or well-placed precision shots can injure him.
- Enhanced Balance: Jackson has both extremely well developed sense of balance (the positioning of limbs) and the physical condition to use this effectively. This combination makes Jackson almost impossible to being knocked down, or thrown off-balance. Even if he should fall down, he is able to recover from momentary imbalances in an instant. He is also able to perfectly balance on any object, no matter how narrow or unstable it may be.
- Temperature Resistance: Jackson is extremely resistant to cold based attacks due to his extreme temperature adaptability leaving his skin highly resistant to freezing temperatures.
- Superhuman Reflexes: While no speedster, Jackson's reflexes are superior than average. His reflexes are on the order of 12-15 times faster than a normal human.
- Telepathic Communication: Like all Atlanteans, Jackson has a node in his brain allowing for short-range telepathic reception and transmission to other minds with similar developments. He can transmit telepathic impulses to other minds lacking a similar node, but this is one-way communication.
- Gift of Kordax: Like his King, Jackson possesses the Gift of Kordax which gives him the ability to telepathically command simple sea life, forcing the typical sea creatures to obey his whims. Furthermore, having practiced and refined this ability, Jackson is an accomplished all-around telepath and can perform such telepathic feats as mind to mind communication and resist illusions. It should be noted, he is considerably less talented in the application of this ability as compared to Aquaman.
- Access to the Clear: While not connected on the primal level like his king Aquaman, possibly due to his sorcerers studies or his electrokinesis interfering, Jackson has a poorly understood connection to a metaphysical force identified as "The Clear" which seems to function as a universal consciousness of all sea life. This connection allows Jackson the ability to sense the primal emotions of aquatic creatures through "The Clear" and can 'sense' nearby threats to "the Clear" through some sort of quasi-telepathic prompting. Occasionally, it seems that 'the Clear' will return the favor, informing Jackson of threats to his own self which gives Jackson a sort of 'danger sense'.
- Electrokinesis: Jackson has the power to emit electric waves; much in the same way an electric eel can. Though Jackson is hesitant to use this ability (due to it having accidentally killed his mother), Jackson has learned to use this to emit an electrical touch, bursts of electricity, and coat himself in electrical armor for short duration.
- Sorcery: Though mystically powerful by birthright, Jackson began his education in sorcery at a much later age than is standard, as a result, his magic is awfully unrefined and primal, lacking focus and discipline. To help him rein in his powers, he was given tattoos that help him shape his magic, causing the tattoos to light up when he accesses his mystical powers. Using his magic, Jackson can form and control the flow of water much in the same way that Mera can.
- Leadership: Jackson is a very skilled leader and strategist, arguably just as competent as Dick Grayson or Tim Drake in this regard. This however does not make Jackson feel the same about his abilities as he often prefers to be a loyal follower or trusted adviser, finding the burden of leadership to wear him down.
- Martial Arts: Trained by the best Atlantean warriors and utilizing his Gift of Korvax to better anticipate his enemies, Jackson is an extremely competent warrior. He is regularly able to defeat Conner Kent and Cassie Sandsmark in sparring matches (even when they team up). Still he has never been able to defeat Cassandra Cain.
- Multilingualism: As a side-effect of his telepathic node, Jackson is easily able to learn languages, provided he has a willing teacher. Within a few hours of dedicated study and mentoring, or even just intensive conversation, Jackson can master a language. Though this mastery will fade with time (approximately after three months without daily usage), Jackson can pick up any language he has previously learned within minutes. Without use of this ability, Jackson speaks fluent English, ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, and Bialyan.
- Swimming/Surfing: Jackson is a master swimmer. D'uh. He is also a skilled surfer, able to easily 'read' the waves.
- Weaponry: Jackson carries two weapons. They are known as 'Waterbearers'. These Xebelian weapons were a gift from Queen Mera to Kaldur'ahm and help Kaldur'ahm focus his hydrokinetic sorcery, and the Waterbearers help him focus his ability to shape water into weapons.
- Dehydration: Jackson can breathe underwater and on land. The time spent out of the water can be extended by the humidity in the atmosphere but eventually prolonged dehydration will weaken him thus he must return to aquatic environment. If he does not immerse himself in water for at least an hour every 48 hours, he will begin to suffer from severe dehydration. In humid environments, he can go without water for seventy-two hours. In particularly dry environments, he must immerse himself every twenty-four hours.
- Heat: Though most Atlanteans are resistant to heat, Jackson's own biology lacks this resistance. It is possible this is due to something his mother did to help conceal his non-human nature. Uncomfortably warm temperatures weaken him, causing his adaptable Atlantean biology to become suppressed and cutting off access to his Atlantean abilities and weakening his psionic powers.
- Confidence: Due to past experiences, Jackson refrains from being in situations where others rely on him to make the right decision. This is a true shame as he was a truly exceptional leader.
Trivia and Notes
- Jackson's rescue by Aquaman was before the JLA was set up so Atlantis wasn't even known about... Arthur just showed up in civilian clothes and wrecked shop, breaking Jackson out and taking him back to Atlantis with him so that he might learn of his heritage. Arthur being half-Atlantean as well was understandably sympathetic to Jackson's plight. Young Arthur accidentally put many people in the hospital due to his strength before he learned of his true nature.
- Jackson Hyde is still wanted by the police.
- Jackson is a horrible liar, when you know what to look for. Not that he has the most expressive face to begin with, but his left eyelid twitches whenever he is telling a falsehood.
- Jackson's favorite food is tacos. He loves fish tacos most of all, but because his teammates tease him about eating fish, he often chooses to save those as a private pleasure when dining alone.
- Jackson struggles with insomnia, and can often be found walking, running, or swimming late at night to help himself fall asleep from exhaustion.
- Jackson is a big fan of zombie movies and literature.
- Jackson identifies as a proponent of the feminist movement and usually has an easier time socializing with female peers.
- Jackson only eats locally grown fruits and vegetables whenever possible and he will never shop at a corporately owned marketplace.
- Kaldur'ahm means "Kaldur, Sworn to the Crown".
- To the Atlanteans, Aquaman is Orin. Aquawoman is Mera. Tempest is Garth. They do not really have secret identities under the sea. Some have titles. Tempest is a title. Aquaman, Aquawoman, Aqualad, and Aquagirl are all essentially seen as roles to be filled. Tula was Aquagirl, now she is simply Tula. Kaldur'ahm was Aqualad, now he is simply Kaldur'ahm. Dolphin is and always was Dolphin. Kaldur and Tula do not really need hero names anymore. Both spend most of their time in service to the Throne in one form or another and both can use their Atlantean names among humans just as easily. They do not have secret identities to conceal.
- Jackson is a composite character of Jackson Hyde from the comics and Kaldur'ahm from the TV series Young Justice. Because the character was originally created for the animated series before being brought into comics, he has a different origin from his comic book counterpart.
- Being raised in Silver City, New Mexico is a nod to his comic book origins, but his mother being named Lucia Hyde is a nod to Rebirth.
- His modern look is inspired by his look in the Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox movie.