Aquaman has long been seen as something of a joke character by people who, well, never read Aquaman’s comic adventures. Sure, the recent movie made him something of a badass, but that’s relatively new. But he has had popular runs. In the 90s, I was a fan of writer Peter David’s run, but that ended a bit abruptly. His replacement was Image Comics founder Erik Larsen.
Larsen’s run did not go over well with the fans who liked David’s turn, and while David’s run gave the world the hook-handed Aquaman, Larsen’s best remembered addition was a new character named Lagoon Boy.
Lagoon Boy was, well, like a juvenile version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He showed up at Atlantis early in Larsen’s run as one of a trio of new supporting characters that, as I recall, seemed to be hanging around for some reason. The other two were a humanoid whale genius named Blubber and his mermaid assistant Sheeva. They called themselves the Land-Lovers and they were, well, very interested in the culture of people who breathed air.
What did this have to do with Aquaman? Again, I don’t much recall. Lagoon Boy was the most memorable of the three, mostly because he had a superpower: he could blow up like a puffer fish. That may or may not have made him physically stronger. Aquatic characters typically have that anyway under the logic that they need it to prevent themselves from being crushed to death by the ocean’s depths. Lagoon Boy may also have had some powers to communicate with sea life if WIkipedia is to be believed, but I don’t recall ever seeing him do that.
However, Lagoon Boy (real name or origin never given) hung around, a lot longer than Larsen did.
Seriously, hanging around the DC message boards in those days, sometimes the creators would come by, and Larsen was not treated well by the Aquaman fans.
Anyway, Lagoon Boy joined a few teams. He hung around with Young Justice a little, even getting written by Larsen’s predecessor Peter David in the Sins of Youth mini-series when juvenile heroes aged to adulthood while the adults reverted to children, allowing Lagoon Boy to be more of a Lagoon Man as he hung around with an underage Aquaman. Later on, Lagoon Boy would join up with the Teen Titans, particularly a (very) short-lived Titans East team.
All things being equal, Lagoon Boy seemed to be one of those characters who would appear in a lot of different series, rarely for very long, but long enough to be recognized. He was recently among the third and fourth string heroes inexplicably killed off in the Heroes in Crisis mini-series, but he has gained a bit more notoriety outside the comics, namely in the animated series Young Justice.
Young Justice is about a team of younger heroes who act essentially as the Justice League’s undercover team and heroes-in-training group. Lagoon Boy, going by the name La’gaan, was there starting with season two. There, his puffer fish style powers did increase his strength, but his main contribution was to be a romantic rival to Superboy for Miss Martian’s affections. Because, well, somebody had to have that role.
Will animated success bring him back from the dead? Well, maybe, but for now, he can puff up in the afterlife. You know, until James Wan makes him the leader of the Trench or something.