DC's Cinematic 'Justice League': Who Is Mera?

Learn the essentials about Aquaman's love interest ahead of her cinematic debut.
Ivan Reis/DC Entertainment

Amber Heard is in talks to join Warner Bros.' DC Universe as Mera, love interest of Aquaman — but that description doesn't necessarily reveal the full history of the future ruler of Atlantis. Here's a quick guide to the essentials.

Mera's first appearance came in 1963's Aquaman No. 11, in which she was introduced as the deposed queen of an alternate dimension called "Dimension Aqua" who was fleeing her replacement, a former criminal called Leron. After running — well, swimming — into Aquaman and his teen sidekick Aqualad, the three teamed up to fight against Leron's rule. Although they were successful, Mera refused to return to the throne, choosing instead to stay in Atlantis with Aquaman.

In recent years, this origin has been retconned significantly; 2010's Brightest Day comic book series didn't just update the name of "Dimension Aqua" (It is now the only slightly less ridiculous "Xebel"), it also changed the nature of the place — now it was home to former Atlanteans exiled before Aquaman's birth, with Mera no longer the Queen, but a princess and warrior who had been given the mission of winning Aquaman's trust in order to eventually betray him.

She never quite got around to fulfilling that mission, however; instead, Mera and Aquaman fell in love, married and had a child — the charmingly named Aquababy, who debuted in 1965's Aquaman No. 23. Of course, their happiness wasn't to last: Aquababy was murdered by the villain Black Manta, leading to Mera suffering a nervous breakdown that caused a rift between her and her husband — a rift that only widened when Mera was herself temporarily assumed dead, and Aquaman was killed for real. It's perhaps best not to ponder on such soap operatics; especially in light of the fact that Aquaman, as is traditional in superhero comics, soon recovered.

It was during the period of Aquaman's death, however, that Mera came to prominence. Both 2009's Blackest Night and 2010's Brightest Day comic book series featured the character in arguably her highest profile roles yet, as the Queen of Atlantis and an aggressive warrior in her own right; even when Aquaman returned from the dead at the end of the former series, she remained at least his equal in subsequent appearances. (Although the title suggests otherwise, the character has essentially been a co-lead in the Aquaman series DC launched as part of 2011's line wide reboot.)

Certainly, there's a case to be made that Mera is Aquaman's superior in terms of power set. Like the undersea hero, she can breathe underwater, has limited telepathy and enhanced strength, but she also possesses two powers that Aquaman does not: the ability to travel between dimensions (hence her arrival from Dimension Aqua in the first place) and something called "hydrokinesis," which allows her to reshape the water around her into solid objects which she can control.

Like her husband, Mera has managed an impressive career outside comics while never having managed to break through into the larger public consciousness — she has appeared in the 1960s Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, 2000s Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice cartoons, as well as an appearance in the CW's Smallville and a playable character in the Lego Batman 3 videogame. Despite this, she remains an unknown quantity to most non-comic readers, and little more than "Aquaman's wife" to those who do recognize her, thanks to moments like this…

(Okay, it's too difficult to be upset at The Currys of Atlantis, even if it does sell Mera down the river somewhat. No pun intended.)

Of course, with Jason Momoa's Aquaman giving that character a much-needed overhaul in March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's almost guaranteed that the cinematic Mera will be more than just a love interest when she arrives onscreen. As another royal figure with a warrior side, she has as much potential as Wonder Woman, after all — so perhaps we can expect a Mera movie somewhere down the line, if everything works out.