Young Justice: Phantoms has revealed that the true king of Atlantis is not Aquaman, with the bomb already setting up a new war between the sea kingdoms.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Young Justice: Phantoms Episodes 14-16, now streaming on HBO Max.
In young justice, Atlantis got plenty of screen time, detailing Orin/Arthur Curry’s journey as the Justice League’s Aquaman and eventually passing the torch to Kaldur/Aqualad. This was partly because the League needed new blood, but also so that Orin could tend to the various kingdoms under his banner. He knew that the more attention they received, the more diplomacy would increase.
This is something Atlantis has long tried to achieve, but previous wars involving the likes of Xebel and the destabilization of Orm/Ocean Master have prevented unity. However, just when it looked like Orin was closing in on his goal in the second half of Young Justice: Ghoststhe true king of Atlantis has been revealed, potentially starting a new war.
The truth was revealed after a few terrorist attacks when Orin tried to hold council with all the other realms. The first had Orm return with Neptune’s Trident, only to be stopped when a masked stranger appeared and fought back. This sparked talk of an ancient prophecy that a mysterious warrior would return as the true king.
Orin brushed it off but the rumors grew stronger after the stranger saved the kingdom again of the Chaos Lord, Child, earlier this season. This time, the stranger stuck around, hitting Orm, who had come to protect the kingdom he wanted to rule. Mera and Co. were curious about his identity, leading to him confirming himself as Arion, the first ruler of Atlantis.
This sent shockwaves through all the underwater realms because many thought he died eons ago. That explained why his magic was so powerful; however, Arion wasn’t thrilled to be recognized – he just wanted to go back into the shadows, calling himself a “failure”. This tied into his retconned past where he was revealed as Arion, a grandson of Vandal Savage. His crown was sent by the Lords of Order, making him a protector of the Earth. Unfortunately, he fell out with Vandal, who wanted to destroy Atlantis to force its people to evolve. Unfortunately, Vandal and Klarion carried out the mission, which led to the creation of the people of Orin and the transmission of sea magic from Arion and those close to him.
However, Arion’s return massively changes the royal landscape. First, Arion is tested to make sure he is not a clone or a puppet, like Orm. Once he’s real, supporters will rally and want him to take the throne – something he’s not interested in. This will cause turmoil, especially as many kingdoms believe Orin has not been a righteous ruler, preferring some kingdoms over others. Thus, a political conflict could arise and a possible deposition could be explored. Second, civil war may ensue due to another sinister mission with Kaldur leading a team to Xebel to reclaim the crown.
The king of Xebel, Nereus, and Nanaue of the sharks won’t like it, with infighting erupting for control of the mighty relic. More so, Kaldur’s black ops team will be seen as thieves in this act of aggression on foreign territory. Either way, Arion can’t be trusted until he provides answers as to why he’s been in hiding for so long and why he’s chosen to return now. And finally, with Vandal poised to precipitate another crisis, one has to wonder if Arion will oppose him or stand with him, especially since these centuries have clearly changed Arion, leaving him hopeless and can -even be vulnerable to corruption. Ultimately, these are the many things an uneasy Orin will have to consider, already sensing the turbulence brewing in his choppy waters.
See the misery of Arion unfolds with new episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms debuting Thursdays on HBO Max.
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