SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

After five long years, the King of the Ocean is back in James Wan's dynamic and delightful Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The bombastic sequel is filled with the same action, comedy and heart that made the first film a billion dollar smash hit and the DCEU’s most successful movie. But most excitingly for this writer, it delves deep into some great Aquaman lore. From iconic arcs to strange and esoteric mythology, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom takes inspiration from all eras of the fantastical deep-sea hero and the comics that birthed him. So, if you've seen the film and want to know what comics to read next or why certain shocking moments seemed familiar, I've got you covered! Put on your stealth suit and let's dive in.

Death of a Prince

On the face of it, this seems like the biggest overall influence on the film. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom introduces Arthur Jr., Mera and Arthur's infant son who plays an infamous role in a groundbreaking storyline by comic book legends, David Michelinie and Jim Aparo. “The Death of a Prince” focuses on Arthur’s revenge-fueled rivalry with Black Manta, who eventually kidnaps Arthur Jr. That is all played out on screen here, but unlike the comic, Arthur Jr. doesn’t lose his life to Manta and instead is saved by his mother Mera. That’s a huge diversion from the story and also offers Mera a chance to rectify a loss that destroyed her life and marriage in the comics. It also feels organic to the sweet, happy ending the film aims for.

Still, if you saw the movie with any longtime Aquaman fans who seemed extra uncomfortable as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reached its final act, that’s why!

Kordax and the Atlantis Chronicles

The esoteric prequel miniseries The Atlantis Chronicles worked as a soft reboot of the Aquaman line in 1990. Peter David and Esteban Maroto brought this wild historical fantasy to life, in which they introduced the villain known as Kordax. Though in the comics he wasn't Atlan's brother and had a very different look, we do get a version of him in Lost Kingdom played by Game of Thrones' Pilou Asbaek. There are other story beats in the film that are borrowed from Chronicles as well and we even get a name drop of the historical tomes by Atlanna. But it wouldn't be fair to credit this limited series with coming up with those influences as they actually hail from two different series that predated Atlantis Chronicles

Excavating Aquaman Vol. 2 and Arion, Lord of Atlantis

Post-Crisis, the DC Universe resurrected all of its major heroes with revised backstories and Arthur Curry was no exception, swimming back to life in a unique four-issue miniseries that streamlined DC's Atlantis. 1986's Aquaman #1-4, also known as Aquaman Vol. 2, came from the minds of DC's Design Director at the time, Neal Pozner, and first time comic book artist Craig Hamilton. This lesser-known arc was clearly a massive influence on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, with the film exploring multiple plot points from throughout the adventure.

Pozner pulled from existing Aquaman lore but took even more from DC's sword and sorcery catalog, using the early ’80s series Arion, Lord of Atlantis to weave a new complex history for both Atlantis and Aquaman. Historical exposition in this Aquaman comic is done through captions that link directly to Arion's pre-Crisis continuity via a fictional archive known as the Chronicles of Choloh, something referenced back in Paul Kupperberg and Jan Duursema's very first Arion backup story in Warlord #55 from 1982.

Aquaman Vol. 2 #1's opening scene tells readers, "Deep at the Earth's core, a furnace of mystical vitality bubbled with vast powers." That sounds extremely similar to the Orichalcum refinery where the film's final battle takes place. The miniseries also introduces a key tenet of Orm and Arthur lore, which is the concept of two brothers battling each other for the fate of Atlantis and the fate of the world. This is a reimagining of a core theme from Arion, Lord of Atlantis, which saw the titular character often locked in epic battle with his evil brother, Garn Daanuth.

During the history of Kordax that we see in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, we learn that he was Atlan's brother and the pair fought brutally throughout their era. This is a nod to the fact that not only are Arthur and Orm usually antagonists, but that in some parts of the canon—implied in Aquaman Vol. 2, expanded on in Atlantis Chronicles, and solidified in the follow-up miniseries, Aquaman: Time and Tidethe brothers are merely an extension of an ancient battle throughout history that is part of Atlantean mythology.

This is all inspired by Kupperberg and Duursema's work on Arion, Lord of Atlantis, which culminated with the destruction of Atlantis in the final issue. In Aquaman Vol. 2 we learn that Atlantis fell to the Ice Age and in Lost Kingdom we see Necrus as a frozen kingdom deep under the sea. And, just like in the comics, the movie saw Orm and Arthur head to Antarctica to fight their final big battle against Back Manta.

Interestingly, however, Lost Kingdom takes a lot of Orm's big villainous beats from Aquaman Vol. 2 and gives them to Black Manta. For example, Orm spends "months hunting through the ruins across the sunken continent, with the aid of Atlantean machinery" in the comics. That's just like Black Manta and his incredible Atlantean tech in the movie. Comic book Orm comes back with greater power than he's ever had before thanks to tapping into the mystical energies of lost artifacts, just like Manta in Lost Kingdom. And, just as Manta destroys Tom Curry's lighthouse in the film, Orm does the same in the miniseries.

As for that evocative end fight that sees Arthur and Orm connect over their brotherly love via emotions and memories...well, that was straight from the pages of Aquaman Vol. 2 as well!

Introducing the Aqua-Pets

If you've visited DC.com in the last few weeks—or the last few years—then you'll likely know that I am a fan of the Aqua-Pets and their history with Aquaman. So, it's with great joy that I can report some of Arthur's cute undersea pals make a big splash in the Lost Kingdom.

There’s Arthur’s seahorse Storm, of course, but Lost Kingdom also gives us a new vision of Topo, Aquaman's beloved octopus who has been a musician, a waiter, a butler and an overall sidekick throughout his comic book career. In the movie, we see him as a tactical operative of Atlantis, there to help Arthur and Orm on their quest. But as Atlanna assures us, he can also play an array of musical instruments. Phew!

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, directed by James Wan and featuring Jason Momoa as Aquaman, is now in theaters. For news, trailers and other features on the King of Atlantis, visit our official Aquaman hub page.

Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who loves Swamp Thing, the DC Cosmic and writing the monthly gossip column here at DC.com. You can also listen to her waxing lyrical about comics, movies and more each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's pop-culture podcast, X-Ray Vision.