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Atlantis (DC Comics)

Atlantis is a aquatic civilization appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The first version of Atlantis within the DC Universe debuted in Action Comics #18 (November 1939), and was conceived by Gardner Fox and Fred Guardineer.

Atlantis Aquaman vol 8 26.png
Atlantis in Aquaman vol. 8, #26 (September 2017)
Art by Stjepan Šejić
First appearance(mention) Action Comics #17 (October 1939); (depiction) Action Comics #18 (November 1939).
Created byGardner Fox
Fred Guardineer
Notable locationsPoseidonis
Sub Diego
Thierna Na Oge
Notable charactersAquaman
Deep Blue
Lori Lemaris
PublisherDC Comics

Other incarnations of Atlantis appeared in various DC comics in the 1940s and 1950s, including the version in the Superman group of books in which the mermaid Lori Lemaris resides. Aquaman's version of the city, the most prominently featured version in the company's line, first appeared in Adventure Comics #260 (May 1959), and was created by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon. All versions are based on the fictional island of Atlantis first mentioned in Plato's initial dialogue, the Timaeus, written c. 360 BC.

The kingdom of Atlantis made its cinematic debut in the 2018 film Aquaman, set in the DC Extended Universe.

Publication historyEdit

One of the earliest mentions of Atlantis occurs in Action Comics #17, in a "Zatara the Magician" story.[1] The city was visually depicted in the following month's "Zatara" story in Action Comics #18.[2]

The city appeared in several DC comics of the 1940s and 1950s in conflicting depictions before a more consistent portrayal began with an "Aquaman" story in Adventure Comics (vol. 1) #260, in a story by writer Robert Bernstein and artist Ramona Fradon, based on the real-world mythology of Atlantis.[3]

The history of Atlantis was detailed in The Atlantis Chronicles, a 7-issue limited series published by DC Comics from March 1990 through September 1990. It was written by Peter David, and illustrated by Esteban Maroto. The series focused on a series of Atlantean historical manuscripts, also called The Atlantis Chronicles, and chronicled the rise and fall of Atlantis. Each issue dealt with a separate era or event in Atlantis' past, beginning with its sinking, as told through the royal historian's point of view.

Fictional historyEdit

Map of Atlantis from Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #42 (March 2007). Art by Ricardo Villagran.


The continent of Atlantis was settled 65,000,000 years ago, by a humanoid extraterrestrial race known as the Hunter/Gatherers, who proceeded to hunt the Dinosaurs to extinction. One million years ago, Atlantean society flourished alongside Homo erectus, the precursors of modern man. This apparently occurred long before the intervention of the White Martians whose genetic tampering with Homo sapiens created the Metagene.[4]

Thousands of years ago, magic levels on Earth began to drop due to the sleeping entity known as Darkworld beginning to wake up. The Atlantean sorceress, Citrina, struck a deal with the Lords of Chaos who ruled Gemworld, so she would be allowed to create a home there for those Homo magi and magic dependent species such as Faerie, Elves, Centaurs, and so forth who wished to emigrate from Earth. Gemworld was colonized by Homo magi emigrants from Earth made up of the twelve ruling houses of Atlantis.[5]

Darkworld was a dimension formed by the body of an unnamed cosmic entity who later fell into a deep sleep. This entity's dreams were responsible for creating the first Lords of Chaos and Order, Chaon (chaos), Gemimn (order), and Tynan the balancer.[5] These beings and others were worshiped as gods by the citizens of Atlantis. Darkworld was tethered to Atlantis by a massive "chain" created by Deedra, goddess of nature.[5] Some Atlantean magicians such as Arion and Garn Daanuth later learned to tap the mystic energies of Darkworld, enabling them to wield nearly godlike power.

Eventually, Atlantis came to be the center of early human civilization. Its king, Orin, ordered the construction of a protective dome over the city simply as a defence against barbarian tribes, but shortly afterward a meteor crashed into the earth, destroying most of the upper world and sinking the city to the bottom of the ocean. Orin's brother, Shalako, departed with a number of followers through tunnels in order to reclaim another sunken city of their empire, Tritonis, whose inhabitants had not survived. After a few years, Atlantean scientists developed a serum that would permanently let their people breathe underwater; as a consequence of the magic used by Shalako in settling Tritonis, the Tritonians were further mutated to have fish-tails instead of legs. Some descendants of Shalako's son Dardanus also inherited his telepathy, which was marked by blonde hair, extremely rare among Atlanteans. Dardanus's son Kordax further had the ability to command sea creatures. After he led them alongside the Tritonians in a revolution against the king, he was exiled, and children born with blond hair, the "mark of Kordax" were generally viewed as aberrations and abandoned to die.

New AtlantisEdit

The Atlantis Chronicles #1 (March 1990). Pencils and inks by Esteban Maroto.

Atlantean survivors of the city of Challa-Bel-Nalla, then ruled by Lord Daamon, an ancestor of Deimos, moved to Skartaris and formed an alliance with an extraterrestrial race they called the Red-Moon Gods. These aliens provided the Atlanteans with advanced technology that Travis Morgan would later discover in New Atlantis.[6]


In DC Comics, the Lemurians are a scientifically advanced race of blue skinned humanoids covered in part with large green scales. They live in the underwater city of Lemuria, based on the fictional continent of the same name.[7] Zanadu the Chaos Master professed to be a sorcerer from Lemuria.[8]

Venturia and AuraniaEdit

Queen of a crumbling Atlantean outpost named Venturia, a subsea realm situated somewhere beneath the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean (Comics Cavalcade No. 18, December/January 1946/1947: "The Menace of the Rebel Manlings" until she is deposed by Wonder Woman in Spring 1944.), Queen Clea enslaved the men of her realm and amused herself by putting many to death in gladiatorial combat. Desiring extended rule, Clea repeatedly attacked Venturia's flourishing sister city of Aurania unsuccessfully. Despite this failure she expanded her ideal towards domination over the entire lost continent of Atlantis. In order to do this, Clea stole the fabled Trident of Poseidon to make herself virtually unstoppable.

Sub DiegoEdit

Sub Diego is the new name of a portion of the city of San Diego, California which was submerged during an artificially generated earthquake, part of a plan which changed part of the surviving population into subaquatic beings. The city had a recent increase in population due to an influx of refugees from Atlantis, following the destruction of that city by the Spectre.

Roughly fifty weeks after the Infinite Crisis, an unknown event caused part of the Sub Diego population to be changed back into airbreathers. Thus Aquaman had to use magic to make a huge part of the city return on the surface, joined to the rest of San Diego. It's still unknown how much of Sub Diego stayed submerged.


Originally, Xebel was an otherdimensional kingdom formerly ruled by Queen Mera, currently ruled by her nemesis Queen V'lana. Mera's twin sister Hila also stayed behind in Xebel. The Aquaman villain known as Thanatos also originated from there. The kingdom of Xebel is located within "Dimension Aqua".[9][10] Currently. Xebel is a forgotten extradimensional penal colony for an ancient group of separatist Atlanteans, locked behind a sealed portal in the Bermuda Triangle. Mera's sister, now named Siren, has been sent to kill Aquaman.[11] It was later revealed by the Entity itself that it was the Entity that freed the Xebel soldiers from the Bermuda Triangle in order for Aquaman to learn the truth about Mera. Meanwhile, Aquaman's alliance sends the soldiers of Xebel back to the Bermuda Triangle, therefore finishing Aquaman's task.[12] Afterwards, Aquaman discovered that the Xebel's weapons were effectively made of Atlantean technology.[13] Currently, Xebel is under the leadership of Nereus.[14][15]

Destruction of AtlantisEdit

Aquaman had discovered a holographic transmission from an Atlantean who said that the underwater city was in danger and that his forces had pursued an unknown enemy to the oceans. Before the transmission ended, the Atlantean further said that this enemy was planning to sink Atlantis and claimed that the monarchs of Atlantis had hidden the truth.[16] Aquaman returned home and asked his wife Mera to seek out this enemy of Atlantis.[17]

Following Aquaman's fight with Dead King Atlan, Ocean Master has settled in Louisiana. He is later approached by Nereus who states that he found the other four kingdoms.[18]

The Seven SeasEdit

As of New 52 and Rebirth, Atlantis has been established as one of seven Kingdoms under the sea. So far, two other kingdoms have been discovered while one more is briefly hinted":

  • Xebel - Located in the Bermuda Triangle, the underwater penal colony of Xebel is reportedly inescapable by those trapped within the dimension; home to Mera, Hila, Nereus and Leron.
  • The Trench - Located in the Mariana Trench, home to a race of vicious, cannibalistic ocean-dwelling creatures with a fish-like humanoid appearance.
  • Deserters - A hidden kingdom located within the Sahara Desert, secreted by the powerful and ancient magics of its resident mystics. Nereus located it while in service to Atlan.

Zodiac artifactsEdit

Zodiac CrystalsEdit

The Atlantean Royal Seal is one of twelve powerful mystical artifacts known as the Zodiac Crystals. The Twelve Crystals were created by Calcuha and Majistra, the parents of Lord Arion of Atlantis. The twelve artifacts are able to tap into the magical energy of the Earth to perform sorcerous feats and Geomancy. The twelve crystals resurfaced in Aquaman vol. 2 #1 where they were in the possession of Orm Marius the Ocean Master.

Zodiac CoinsEdit

There were also twelve Atlantean Zodiac Coins which Doctor Zodiac and Madame Zodiac used to power his Zodiac Idol; the coins were last seen in World's Finest Comics #288 (February 1983).[19]

Homo magiEdit

In the DC Universe, the Homo magi originated on the lost continent of Atlantis. The continent was a focal point for unharnessed magical energies (wild magic), and the local Homo sapiens evolved into Homo sapiens magi as a result of their exposure to these energies.[20] Upon the fall of Atlantis, people who carried the predisposition for magic were scattered to the four winds. Today, every human being capable of casting spells is a descendant of the Atlantean "Homo magi."[21]

Atlantean coloniesEdit

There have been other undersea cities called Atlantis in various DC comics titles. They include:

  • Sub Diego, first depicted in Aquaman vol 6, #16 (April 2004) and home of Mayor Cal Durham and Lorena Marquez. It consists of a portion of San Diego that was submerged in an attempt to convert humans into subaquatic beings. The population consists of a mix of these altered humans and Atlantian refugees.
  • The city of Tritonis, home of King Iqula, Queen S'ona, Lenora Lemaris, Lori Lemaris, and Ronno the Mer-Man (formerly Mer-Boy).[22]
  • The coral outcropping known as Mercy Reef, location where Aquaman was abandoned at birth.
  • The twin cities of Shayeris and Crastinus in the Hidden Valley, home of the Idyllists and birthplace of Aqualad.
  • The city of Hy-Brasil, home of the Hy-Brazilians, their entire city is a floating war machine.
  • The Atlantean outpost city of Venturia, domain of Queen Clea, a foe of Wonder Woman's.
  • The city of Aurania, enemies of the city of Venturia and Queen Clea.
  • The city of Tlapallan, populated by a sub-species of Aztec styled onyx-skinned Atlanteans.[23]
  • The region of Maarzon is populated by tribes of green-skinned barbarians.[23]
  • The city of Thierna Na Oge, first depicted in Aquaman vol 2, #1 (February 1986), is home to the Tuatha De Danann, a society with a great affinity for magic, and ruled by Queen Nuada Silverhand (her namesake is Nuada Airgetlám).
  • The city of Nyarl-Amen, home of a race of fish-headed men with lightning spears. Ruled by the sorcerer king Nyarl-Amen, the Nyarl-Amen dynasty ruled the world 50,000 years ago.[24]
  • The city of Bitterland, home to a race of Seal Men, humanoid Pinnipeds who live beneath the South Pole.[25]
  • The Sargasso Sea, home to a race of frog-like neanderthals called "Troglodytes" who live beneath the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. The Troglodytes have nuclear weapons which may have been salvaged from sunken submarines.[26]
  • The city of Merezonia, the aquatic home of Queen Klitra and the Mermazons, enemies of the Red Torpedo.[27][28]
  • The city of Sareme is a secret undersea domed city of air breathing albinos, it was discovered by the Flash.[29]
  • The Deep Canyons beneath New York Harbor, home of the Kogats, an evil apelike aquatic race of telepaths.[30]
  • References to other undersea cities named Atlantis were in Challengers of the Unknown and The Sea Devils, such as the homes of Dolphin and Man-Fish (Juan Vallambrosa).[31]
  • The homes of Neptune Perkins, Tsunami, Deep Blue, Little Mermaid (of the Global Guardians), Barracuda (of the Crusaders), Piscator, and Siren have all been referred to as Atlantis. Some of these cities existed in pre-Crisis DCU continuity, and it is unclear if they are part of the current continuity.

Other versionsEdit

In other mediaEdit


  • In Superman: The Animated Series, part of the DCAU, Atlantis was hidden for centuries until Aquaman came up to confront Lex Luthor after a recent LuthorCorp underseas construction project. It also featured in Justice League, where the League helped Aquaman deal with an attempted coup.
  • Atlantis is not explicitly referenced in Smallville, but A.C.- the counterpart of Aquaman- mentions that his mother was attracted to his father because she noticed him swimming at his lighthouse, but she died when he was a baby, hinting at his comic origins of his mother as an Atlantean.
  • In The Flash, Jay Garrick (who is actually Hunter Zolomon/Zoom in disguise) mentions that Atlantis exists in his world of Earth-2, but it is actually above the water and one of his best friends is from there. The episode "Gorilla Warfare" shows a map of that world. There is a large island, presumably Atlantis, located between Europe and North America. Earth 2's Barry Allen buys his parents vacation tickets to Atlantis for their wedding anniversary, implying that Atlantis has become a resort location. During the episode "Escape from Earth-2," Earth-1's Barry Allen/The Flash advises Earth-2's Barry and Earth-2's Iris West to get out of Central City in order to hide from Zoom and they mention having relatives in Atlantis who can offer them refuge.
  • In Powerless after Wayne Security loses their contract with Ace Chemicals, they manage to close a deal with the Lost City of Atlantis to supply them with security solutions.


  • Atlantis appears in the films set in the DC Extended Universe:
    • Atlantis is featured in Justice League. The Atlanteans assisted the tribes of men, Amazons, the Olympian Gods, and the Green Lantern Corps in fighting Steppenwolf's army. After the battle, Zeus entrusted one of the Mother Boxes to the Atlanteans for safekeeping.
    • Atlantis was featured heavily in Aquaman where there are seven kingdoms that formed after the original Atlantis sank into the ocean: Atlantis, Xebel, the Kingdom of the Trench, the Kingdom of the Brine, the Kingdom of the Fishermen, the Kingdom of the Deserters, and a missing kingdom. Xebel is a military power that rivals Atlantis. The Trench reside in the deepest part of the ocean. The Kingdom of the Brine consist of crustacean-like humanoids. The Kingdom of the Fishermen is inhabited by fish-like merpeople. The Kingdom of the Deserters died out when the Sahara Desert first became a desert when it was formerly an inland sea. The missing kingdom is an unknown one, and it is said to have collapsed along with the Deserter Kingdom. Ocean Master planned to unite the different kingdoms in his war against the surface world. After winning the favor of Mera's father King Nereus (portrayed by Dolph Lundgren) of Xebel, Ocean Master led him to the Fisherman Kingdom. He killed King Ricou (motion-captured by Andrew Crawford and voiced by Djimon Hounsou) of the Fishermen when he declined and Ocean Master persuaded his daughter Princess Scales (motion-captured by Sophie Forrest) to take up his offer. When it came to the Brine, its king (motion-captured by Andrew Crawford and voiced by John Rhys-Davies) agreed to lend his army with him not swearing his allegiance to Ocean Master. Before Ocean Master can kill the Brine King, Aquaman arrives with an army of sea creatures, the Trench, and the sea monster Karathen as Mera persuades her father to side with Aquaman. At the end of the film when Aquaman defeats Ocean Master, Atlantis, Xebel, the Fishermen, and the Brine swore allegiance to their new king.


  1. ^ "In Search of Atlantis Contest: Conclusion!". The Aquaman Shrine. 2011-02-18. Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  2. ^ Action Comics #17 (October 1939). DC Comics.
  3. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 1) #260 (May 1959). DC Comics.
  4. ^ Aquaman (vol. 2) #17-24. DC Comics.
  5. ^ a b c "Atlantis". Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
  6. ^ New Atlantis first appears in Warlord Annual #2. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Super Team Family #13-14 (November 1977) and Secret Society of Super-Villains #10 (October 1977). DC Comics.
  8. ^ All-Star Comics #62 (October 1976). DC Comics.
  9. ^ Aquaman vol. 1 #11 (October 1963). DC Comics.
  10. ^ Action Comics vol. 1 #539 (January 1983). DC Comics.
  11. ^ Brightest Day #6 (July 2010). DC Comics.
  12. ^ Brightest Day #20 (February 2011). DC Comics.
  13. ^ Brightest Day #24 (June 2011). DC Comics.
  14. ^ Aquaman vol. 5 #25 (November 2013). DC Comics.
  15. ^ Mera: Queen of Atlantis #4. DC Comics.
  16. ^ Aquaman vol. 7 #5 (January 2012)
  17. ^ Aquaman vol. 7 #6 (February 2012). DC Comics.
  18. ^ Aquaman vol. 7 #25 (January 2014). DC Comics.
  19. ^ World's Finest Comics #288 (February 1983). DC Comics.
  20. ^ "The Unofficial History of the DC Universe". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  21. ^ "Global Guardians". Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
  22. ^ Wonder Woman vol. 1 #107 (July 1959). DC Comics.
  23. ^ a b Aquaman vol. 2 #1 (February 1986). DC Comics.
  24. ^ More Fun Comics #57 (July 1940) & More Fun Comics #65 (March 1941). DC Comics.
  25. ^ Wonder Woman #13 (Summer 1945). DC Comics.
  26. ^ Wonder Woman #61 (September 1953). DC Comics.
  27. ^ "Red Torpedo". Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  28. ^ "The Unofficial Queen Klitra Biography". Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  29. ^ Flash vol. 1 #109 (October 1959). DC Comics.
  30. ^ Flash Comics vol. 1 #9 (September 1940). DC Comics.
  31. ^ Sea Devils #22 (April 1965). DC Comics.

External linksEdit

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