Lori is maybe the oldest character in the bunch, created to be Superman’s magical mermaid ex-girlfriend in the late 1950s. She hails from Tritonis, a city of finny merfolk traditionally set in opposition to Poseidonis, which we can assume is the city that Arthur Curry represents in the episode and is home to Commander Ondine and Vulko, the Ministers of Security and Science, respectively, introduced by Arthur to the group. You probably remember Vulko as Aquaman and Mera’s top advisor from the movie – he’s an old character, dating back to the ’60s. Ondine is newer, introduced in 2017 as Vulko’s bodyguard and a former member of Mera’s Widowhood, the group of war widows tasked with training and advising Atlantean Queens.
Topo is Aquaman’s octopus sidekick in the comics and in the old ‘60s Aquaman cartoon. Here he’s been reimagined as…there’s no easy way to put this…he’s a Deviant. Lemuria didn’t exist in the DC Universe prior to this episode. But it does exist in one comic book universe: Lemuria is home to the race of foes to the Eternals, the Deviants, in the Marvel Universe. The fast mutating monster race has spawned several Marvel beasts that bear a passing resemblance to the eldrich horror we see in this episode, and I promise that’s where the reference came from.
We all know King Shark, the loveable scamp who bites people in half in James Gunn’s masterpiece The Suicide Squad. Here he’s less scampy (GET IT?) and more belligerent politician, getting into a bar fight with Kaldur and friends, and shouting down the table over surface dweller-caused climate change and what he perceives as their coddling at the hands of his colleagues at the table. This King Shark is much more sophisticated than his counterparts in comics or the movies usually are.
Emissary Coral is the first of a bunch of characters in this episode who were first developed in the Young Justice tie-in comics which are now a full decade old. She is pregnant with either Wyynde (Kaldur’s best friend and royal guard) or Lagoon Boy’s child (they’re a throuple), and first appeared as a member of the Conservatory of Magic in the background of an episode in the first season, then was more fleshed out in Young Justice #14.
Wyynde and Beluga Boy (who eventually grows into the joke sent by Xebel to disrespect the council) are the others. Xebel, by the by, is Mera’s home, full of grumpy renegades founded by Atlantean outcasts who are generally quite proficient with magic. It’s the newest of these city-states not created for this episode, originally appearing in Brightest Day, the Blackest Night follow up in 2010.
The final member of the council is Kaldur’s father, Calvin Durham. He’s not Kaldur’s biological father, but rather an adoptive one: he was a former henchman of Black Manta’s who raised Kaldur as his own after Kaldur’s mother, Sha’lain’a, leaves the villain. This Calvin is interesting: he is apparently a human who was genetically altered to have gills so he could infiltrate Atlantis and take down Aquaman.