Robot 6

Meet Jackson Hyde, the new Aqualad who is afraid of water

In addition to the live-action Blue Beetle images, Geoff Johns also shared a little more information on the new Aqualad on DC’s the Source blog yesterday:

Brightest Day #10

Brightest Day #10

When we first meet Aqualad in BRIGHTEST DAY he’s Jackson Hyde. An average student, with an on-and-off girlfriend, that’s pretty bored in New Mexico.

Since he was young, he’s been taught by his parents to fear water…they don’t want him near it because his true parents would be able to locate him. Not to mention certain changes happen to Jackson when he gets in the water.

Jackson has kept this secret hidden for years, lying to his girlfriend about being afraid of drowning, being unable to swim and being in the dark about the mysterious tattoos he’s had since birth. He’s done his best to avoid it. But soon something’s going to force him out into the open and dive into the water.

Obviously, this all ties into the larger Aquaman and Mera story within BRIGHTEST DAY, but Jackson’s adventures will also be seen in the YOUNG JUSTICE animated series this fall along with more DC characters than you could imagine.

I really believe in the story behind Jackson and, like Blue Beetle, I hope you give him a chance to grab your heart and imagination as he arrives on the scene in comics and cartoons.



Black Aqualad … is afraid of water. This does not bode well for either the character or the comic’s standing with the NAACP.

I predict backlash. What’s new, right?

Would you guys please spare the rest of us your tired cynicism? A new Black superhero is cause for celebration, and this guy seems like an interesting and well worked-out character, not just a skin-color in tights… which is all some people seem to see.

@Andreas: the difference here is that, thanks to his depiction on Superfriends, the Aquaman character and related characters are still pretty much a joke everywhere you go outside the hardcore Aquaman acolytes. Ask someone who the lamest superhero is, and I predict that the number one response from casual observers will be: “Aquaman.”

And now he’s afraid of water? The whole talking to fishes wasn’t too sad of a character trait to cook up? Combine that with the whole “Black people can’t swim” stereotype and this becomes somewhat problematic.

El Santo’s last point was what I was reacting to as well. The whole “Black people can’t swim” thing is an old stereotype, and here’s it played up as an attribute of an African-American character. I imagine there will be an in-story reason for it, and he’ll overcome his fear and be Prince of Lake Tahoe or whatever in the end, but the character begins his journey defined in part by an old and ugly stereotype. It would have been so easy to avoid doing so…

I was thinking of the stereotype too, not to mention that this is not exactly a new character either, just another legacy character (of a sidekick, on top of that). Yeah, he might be in the cartoon, which will probably extend his life expectancy, but give it five years and this dude is going to be cannon fodder for the next event.

Which is not to say that this characters is going to be bad, or anything, it’s just that DC has shown that it does not have a good record with these kind of things.

Mysterious Stranger

June 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

What got my attention wasn’t the stereotype but the fact that he changes in water. So what happens when he showers? Is it just sea water? Or is he the “Pig-Pen” of the DCU, walking around with a cloud of stink hanging over him?

You guys are disgusting. He’s black. ALSO, his parents taught him to fear water for fantasy story reasons.

James from the Block

June 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm

This sounds like the plot to the the delightful Disney Channel original movie The Thirteenth Year

I think his superpower is to create comment threads that make me want to kill myself.

@Mysterious Stranger You make an excellent point. To what extent is this new Aqualad afraid of water? Does he never shower or take baths? Can he not go swimming? How about simply washing his hands? Can he even drink water without it affecting him? How about when it rains? His powers being based on saltwater would explain it, but seeing how he apparently lives in New Mexico, I don’t see why that should be a problem for him.

I’m with Sean here. You people are goons.

The real question is, can he dance?

Man..DC just can’t catch a break. People either complain because they kill off characters that are part of an ethnic minority, or people complain when they create a new minority character.

No one is complaining that the new Aqualad is black (well not here anyway), they are complaining that the new black Aqualad riffs on a black stereotype and calls it a “story”.

First, let me say I am a huge DC Comics fan. DC is definitely me favorite company and universe. As such, I am secure enough in my love for them to notice their flaws…

The problem as I see it is that I would love it if DC could create a black, hispanic or any non-white ethnicity character that is not only interesting and tough but sticks.

Sadly, it seems like only Johns cares enough to even try. Remember the new Amazing Man for the JSA Gog/Magog storyline? If Geoff isn’t writing the story, do you think we will ever see that guy again? Mr. Terrific is a great character and a nice take on the legacy idea but he is not a visual splash page character. We aren’t likely to see him side-by-side with Superman. The one awesome black character DC has is John Stewart, who was barely a footnote in Blackest Night, the biggest Green Lantern crossover in forever.

All I’m saying is that while I’m willing to give this character (the new Aqualad) and his story a chance, all my African-American friends are disappointed already and don’t see this guy lasting. That’s really unfortunate but they’ve been burned too many times. My good buddy Dave said it yesterday, “DC feels like this awesome private club we’re not invited to join. I want to be a DC fan but there’s no room for me or my guys on the JLA. The best we can hope for is a temporary job as the pool boy.”

This sounds like the plot to the the delightful Disney Channel original movie The Thirteenth Year


It also sounds similar to the AQUAMAN TV pilot. Typical Hollywood action/adventure TV series plot.

if DC made him gay he would be a double minority, also change his name to Blaxmith

DC has never really done well with the whole race concept and being race “knowledgeable” we all remember the superfriends… and to be honest that one big splash page with all the while laterns why where all the characters white they kinda almost looked like the clan

ur all makin this a big deal but its not. so hes black so what? i highly doubt the creaters were thinkin of an old stereotype when they made the character, im half black so if it doesnt bother me it shouldnt bother you. The reason he is probly black is to move just a little away from every single big hero being white not that white heroes are bad i love both dc and marvel but makin a few heroes of different race adds diversity and depth to stories. And if you read the top it said he he lied to his girl so he wouldnt have to get in the water because of what would happen i dont think this would be a big fear and will most likely go away as soon as he hits the water.

ur all makin this a big deal but its not. so hes black so what? i highly doubt the creaters were thinkin of an old stereotype when they made the character. im glad he is black because lets be honest white people rule the hero world haha. If you notice there r still few african american heroes in dc and basicly all of them have electric powers(black lightning, static) which gets old. This is to move just a little away from every single big hero being white not that white heroes are bad i love both dc and marvel but makin a few heroes of different race adds diversity and depth to stories. Im not sayin go turn superman hispanic but small changes like this one to aqualad will be good for DC in my opinion and will capture different audiences and i dont think this fear of water will last long and will most likely go away as soon as he hits the water. im sure the creaters didnt sit down and say “ok weve got a black character now lets make him afraid of water” they did it for story. countless heroes have been afraid of their powers at first but they quickly learn to deal with it. Im looking forward to seeing jackson hyde in comics and the new tv series

As a black person, when I read that he couldn’t swim, I actually didn’t think of any stereotypes at all. I read comic books to escape all that. If I really wanted to read or hear about all of that, then I would just listen to Limbaugh or O’Reilly or simply watch Fox news. All I want to do is to read good comics, regardless of the race of the characters. I enjoyed the entire “Blackest Night” series, I am really getting into the “Brightest Day” series as well. So, regardless of the fact that Aqualad is black and can’t swim, I am going to give it a chance, just like I do many of the other titles. If I don’t like it, then I have the option not to buy it anymore.

water is in almost exclusively used in mild tempered heroes. with a black lantern as a dad and a red lantern as a mother, his emotion should be shown in his fighting style. hopefully the writers will look at what water-benders did inland in the avatar series, that would give aqualad a much need buff inland. if he has a ruthless justice feel to him, i think he will stay around.

PS: can someone explain how a white alien and a white Atlantean gave birth to a black kid? this is also expecting Arthur Curry and Mera are his real parents.

just so all of you know, his father is black manta which would explain not only why hes black but why he wouldnt want to go in water seeing as his dad is an assassin…

Wow, a new Black super-hero in the DC Universe ?! It’s overdue like a library book! Give the character to McDuffie and it’s on like Icon and Rocket.

I’m willing to give this new guy a chance. I think its an intrestring change of pace. I’ve followed comics for a few years now. And seeing how the other founding Titans Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl all have successors, I was wondering when- if ever Aqualad would have one. And sure enough he now does. I think this new kid Jackson is intrestring. And I cant wait to find out more about him, so I can write about him myself. It shouldnt matter what color a character is. The newest Aquagirl is Mexican-American and she’s not dead yet. Been around since 2004 and I like her just as much. Same with the newest Blue Beetle, and people love him.

When I read (just now) that’s he’s supposedly afraid of the water. I never thought of it as a sterotype. I’m a white kid and I cant swim. My point is give this guy a chance and we may seem him as a successful character for years to come. And just like Head’s Up said, his father is Black Manta, Aquaman’s sworn enemy who is himself African American. As for who his mother is, I guess we’ll find out.

hes got sick dreadlocks, a characteristic i like in static shock

I am so tired of folks whinning about not having hereos that are not white. The reality of the situation is that when most characters were created, most of the readers were white, most of the artist were white, most of the editors where white, most of th writers were white, etc., so yeah most of the characters are still white cause they are established that way. For comic book companies to force non-white characters, it will never happen.

Here is why: white writers seem to try to make ethnic characters fit a mold of being a color or being a certain way because of their color. It is fake and manufactured. Emphisis on a character being white is never seen because it does not matter if he white to the writer. For a black, hispanic, etc, character to make it, the same needs to apply. So what if he is black? That does not matter. How is he a hero. The cast black characters in certain light, even while trying make thing Political correct is still stereo typing. How about just good stories with good characters?

One other thing:

DC sucks for getting rid of Tempest.

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