5727 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Tempest (Garth) over a purple montage

Tempest

(Formerly Aqualad)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Garth was originally the boy sidekick of the Silver Age  version of Aquaman. He appeared in 1960, which sure isn’t making us any younger. From then on he had a lengthy career, particularly as a founding member of the Teen Titans (the 1960s one, though he also appeared in multiple adventures of the New Teen Titans during the 1980s).

In 1996, a more mature Garth, having studied Atlantean sorcery at length, changed his identity to Tempest. This profile was done a few years after this change.


Background

  • Real Name: Garth
  • Marital Status: Not yet, but darn soon it would appear !
  • Known Relatives: King Thar (father, deceased), Queen Berra (mother), Slizzath (uncle, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: The Titans
  • Base Of Operations: Atlantis
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 235lbs Age: approx. 26
  • Eyes: Purple Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Tempest has many abilities linked to his Atlantean physiology. He is amphibious: though his natural environment is the ocean, he may breathe air for up to an hour at a time. His musculature is much denser than a normal human’s, providing him with super human strength and resistance to damage.

He is able to swim at speeds of up to 100 mph. His eyes have adapted to the murky depths allowing him to see in almost total darkness. In addition, he shares the Atlantean telepathic ability that allows him to communicate under the waves.

A kind of magic

Tempest’s remaining powers stem from his Idylist birth-rite. These powers include the ability to manipulate both water temperature, creating ice or scalding steam, and currents, summoning whirlpools, vortices, and tidal waves.

As of this writing, he possesses finer control over his cold-generating powers than his heat-producing ones, allowing him a wider range of ice powers than heat powers.

Garth may use his abilities to sense the presence of water, including water in living bodies. He has displayed telekinetic abilities and a powerful, if tiring, optical energy blast. Furthermore, he has become sensitive to mystical energies allowing him to predict, for instance, an attack on Atlantis by the mad god, Triton.

Study under the wizard, Atlan, has given Garth a solid grounding in Atlantean magic. He is naturally empathic to the animal life of the sea, belying his childhood fear of fish. He is trained to pilot all of the Titans various vehicles.


History

The story of the young hero, Tempest actually begins centuries ago when the continent of Atlantis sank beneath the waves.

Within the twin, domed cities of Poseidonis and Tritonis, warring factions emerged, battling for wealth and power. From this disharmony arose a great prophetess, Shayera.

Fearing the same endless cycle of war and bloodshed that had plagued Atlantis since its earliest recorded history, Shayera led her small group of followers, the cult of pacifists that would one day become known as the Idylists, out of Atlantis and away from the turmoil of their homeland.

In a hidden valley far from Atlantis, Shayera and her people founded their own community, Crastinus (later renamed Shayeris). Down through the ages, Shayeris was blessed with a line of great and powerful kings, masters of forgotten Atlantean magic. Both Slizzath and his brother Thar were products of this royal line.

Black magic of the depths

Slizzath, the elder of the two young princes, focused his energies on the study of the black magicks. But this pursuit that did not go unnoticed by his younger sibling. As Slizzath’s pursuit of forbidden knowledge grew ever more dangerous, Thar took steps he deemed necessary to protect his people.

These drastic measures culminated in the banishment of his brother to a limbo-like plane of existence. With the threat of the elder prince’s black magicks negated, Thar ascended to the throne of Shayeris.

Tempest (Garth) flying over a white background

Thar was troubled, though. He feared the day his brother might break free of his otherworldly prison. To protect against just such an eventuality, Thar began amassing a stockpile of weapons. He believed that only by arming his people could he protect them from his brother’s evil.

The people of Shayeris feared Slizzath’s return, as well. But they chose to protect themselves in another way; by ridding themselves of their tainted royal bloodline. King Thar was murdered by his palace guards and Queen Berra was exiled from Shayeris.

Birth in exile

Queen Berra, pregnant with King Thar’s child, journeyed to her ancestral homeland of Atlantis. There, in the domed city of Poseidonis, the Queen gave birth to a son, Garth (an ancient name for the Earth).

The superstitious Atlantean authorities were horrified by the child’s birth, seeing his purple eyes as an indication that the boy was physically and mentally inferior. Some factions within Atlantis even believed the purple-eyed infant was the reincarnation of the ancient wizard, Garn’danuuth.

Berra, believing it was the only way to save her people, allowed the child to be taken from her and Garth was sentenced to death by exposure on Mercy Reef.

Miraculously, the tiny baby survived this abandonment and spent his childhood in the open sea. After spending more than ten years fending for himself, Garth’s life intersected with another “cursed” infant abandoned at Mercy Reef. This was Orin II of Atlantis, the hero that the surface world had dubbed Aquaman.

A strong friendship quickly formed between the two outcasts. The team of Aquaman and “Aqualad” soon became feared by pirates throughout the Atlantic Ocean. Aquaman helped the youngster overcome a fear of fish (!) and Aqualad even cleaned and decorated an “Aquacave” for the duo.

Teen Titans

In 1978, the evil entity known as the Antithesis took control of Aquaman and other members of the Justice League of America causing them to commit crimes. Responding, Aqualad joined forces with other teen sidekicks, Robin, Speedy, and Kid Flash and the young heroine, Wonder Girl to combat the older heroes.

This group of youngsters named themselves the Teen Titans. Garth soon began making trips to the surface world to adventure with his new friends.

Tempest (Garth) casting spells underwater

Eventually, Aquaman returned to Atlantis. There, he discovered that he was the rightful heir to the throne. Also in Atlantis, a search of birth records revealed that Aqualad’s name was Garth. Not long after, the Aqua-duo met Mera, a queen from another dimensional world. Mera and Aquaman fell in love and were married.

Within a year, the royal couple had produced an heir, Arthur Jr.. With the added pressures of the Atlantean throne and the joys of his new family, Aquaman had little time for his partner Aqualad.

Garth, for his part, never felt comfortable in Atlantis where his purple eyes were still looked at with fear and derision. In addition, Garth began to feel increasingly inadequate among his peers in the Teen Titans due to his dependency on water.

Drifting away

At around this time, Garth met the Atlantean maiden Tula and the two became inseparable. Tula’s love was all that sustained Garth during a time when the neglect of his mentor, the distrust from his countrymen, and the growing feelings of inferiority among his friends led to a psychosomatic illness. It took the form of seizures and fainting spells.

Garth needed to escape his surroundings. He resigned his membership in the Titans and went to Scotland to receive a formal education.

By the time Aqualad returned to his undersea home, Aquaman had fallen out of favor with the Atlantean people due to the schemes of Karshon (actually the disguised villain the Shark). Aqualad rejoined his mentor in a number of adventures until the younger hero learned of a race of people called the Idylists.

Traveling to the Hidden Valley that they called their home, Garth discovered their capital city under attack by Black Manta.

Manta succeeded in capturing Aquaman and Aqualad, as well as the infant prince, Arthur Jr.. By threatening Arthur Jr. with suffocation in an air-filled globe, Black Manta forced Aquaman and Aqualad to battle each other. Garth was stunned by the ferocity of his friend’s attack and defended himself as best he could until Aquaman formulated a plan of escape.

Unfortunately, Aquaman was too late to save his son’s life. He ordered Aqualad to follow him in pursuit of the fleeing Manta. Garth, still hurt and shaken by the readiness of Aquaman to attack his young partner, refused to accompany the older hero and Orin angrily cut all ties with his partner.

Going back to my roots

While Aquaman tracked down Black Manta, Garth spent his time in the Hidden Valley. He searched for any clue of his origins. He eventually learned the “truth” that his father, King Thar had gone insane, stockpiling a vast array of weaponry. Records revealed that the King had subsequently been killed and that his mother, Queen Berra had been exiled.

In the following years, Garth rejoined his surface friends in the Titans from time to time. He even fought beside his mentor, Aquaman on more than one occasion, though a definite rift had developed between the two. Then, during the reality-altering event known as the Crisis, Tula, Garth’s one true love, was killed.

Garth became depressed and introspective exhibiting behavior that could best be described as suicidal.

Aqualad’s adventures with his mentor grew even more infrequent until an attack by the Wildebeest Society brought the two together again. Struck down in a Wildebeest assault, Aqualad hovered near death at S.T.A.R. Labs. The Titans contacted Aquaman who returned the young hero to his people the Idylists, where the fabled faithhealers of Shayeris prayed for the life of their prince.

Garth’s condition was critical for some time but a combination of Aquaman’s voice, Tusky’s touch, and a vision of his lost love, Tula, brought the young hero back to the land of the living.

Two near-deaths

Some months later, Aqualad and Aquaman encountered the villain, Charybdis. This left both men seriously injured. In his wounded and semi-conscious state, Garth met a young merwoman he believed to be a resurrected Tula. This half-humanoid / half-shark merwoman was, in fact, one Letifos. She nursed Garth’s wounds until help arrived in the form of Aquaman’s new ally, Dolphin.

After his wounds had healed, Aqualad went out in search of “Tula” but was captured by Letifos’s hostile tribe. Garth was crucified and left in the path of an oncoming razor-like cloud that stripped flesh from bones in a matter of seconds. Garth strained at his bounds but could not break free and he was enveloped in the swirling vortex.

All that remained in its wake was Garth’s skeleton.

Hero of might and magic

But Garth did not die. Atlan, the ancient Atlantean wizard and father of Aquaman, had been watching the young hero for some time, seeing in him a great mystical potential. Just prior to his death, Garth’s essence was spirited away to another dimension by the mage.

In this other-dimensional world, Atlan taught Garth how to harness his mystical birth-rite. While little has been revealed of this rigorous training period, Garth does bear one visible reminder of the ordeal ; the stylized tattoo-like scars over his right eye.

After a final test, a battle with his mentor, Atlan, Garth was informed that his tutelage was over. Garth, however, was unsure of his powers and requested more time to learn how to wield his new abilities. Atlan would not hear any such talk, insisting that Garth must return to his home waters to aid Aquaman in repelling a coming invasion.

Atlan explained to Garth that he has a great destiny to fulfill. The young mage is to be the protector of all the sea’s peoples just as Aquaman is the protector of all the sea’s creatures.

Garth bristled at the thought of predestination. But he eventually saw the wisdom of Atlan’s words. He burst through the inter-dimensional barrier between his “training” dimension and Earth and uttered a cryptic verse; “A haven in the center of a swelling Tempest.”. Garth would take the code name Tempest.

Defender of the oceans

Once Garth had assisted Aquaman in turning back the Hunter-Gatherer invasion, he returned to the city of his parents, Shayeris. There he foiled an attempt by his Uncle Slizzath to reenter our reality. During the course of this adventure Garth was reunited with his mother, discovered the truth about his father’s “insanity”, and finally came to terms with the death of Tula.

With Queen Berra reinstated as ruler of the Idylists, Garth returned to Atlantis, unsure if he and his mother would ever have anything resembling a normal relationship.

Back in Atlantis, Garth assumed the role of Ambassador of Poseidonis and High Councilor to Orin’s court. He also rejoined his friends to form a new Titans team, acting as one of the five co-leaders.

With the differences between Tempest and Aquaman now largely resolved and a new found commitment to the Titans, Garth seems poised to carry on with his life and fulfill his destiny as protector of the sea’s people!


Description

Tempest is an athletic young man with black curly hair and striking purple eyes. He normally wears a costume fashioned from his parent’s bedcover (that, itself, was patterned after the flag of the Idylists). This garb is black and red with a swirling, wave-like pattern.

Over his right eye he bears the reminder of his time as Atlan’s student, two tattoo-like scars that arc down from hairline. Garth is seldom seen in “civilian” clothes but on an outing with his Titans teammates Garth used makeup to hide these scars, most likely in deference to those of his friends who maintain secret identities.

Apparently, time passes differently in the dimension that Atlan brought Garth to train him in the use of his powers. As a result, Tempest is now older than his teammates in the Titans by 2-3 years.


Personality

While he has had his problems with insecurity and self-doubt in the past, Tempest is now confident in his role as both a hero and a man. He does not thrive on combat as does his teammates, Arsenal or even Nightwing, but instead does what he does for no other reason than he wants to help people. He attempts to avoid physical conflict whenever possible.

When combat is the only option though, he will neither shirk his duty nor abandon his friends. He will, however, employ the minimum force necessary to get the job done.

Garth is at times the conscience of the Titans and a voice of reason for Aquaman. He is honest, unpretentious, and above all else, good. Perhaps too good for the hero biz, as Wally wonders during the Titans “Then and Now” story arc. None of this stops him from trading playful “insults” with his Titans friends, however.


Quotes

“Violence is always the last and worst possible resort.”


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Tempest

Dex: 06 Str: 07 Bod: 07 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 08 Wil: 07 Min: 10 Occupation: High Councilor of Atlantis
Inf: 07 Aur: 09 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 08
Init: 21 [23] HP: 60

Powers:
Awareness*: 07, Detect Water (ML)*: 09, Energy Blast (ML)*: 09, Fog (ML): 08, Ice Control (ML)*: 09, Ice Production (ML)*: 09, Pyrotechnics (ML): 08, Swimming: 07, Telepathy: 03, Telekinesis (ML): 08, Ultra Vision: 07, Water Control (ML)*: 09, Water Freedom: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Miscellaneous: In addition to being able to sense when major events of a mystical nature are about to occur, Tempest’s Awareness Power allows him to sense when Aquaman needs his aid. This should be treated like the Danger Sense Power with the GM rolling in secret to determine if Garth senses Aquaman’s current plight. The OV/RV of this Roll should be based on the severity of the danger as it applies to Aquaman.
  • Miscellaneous: Tempest may use his Detect: Water Power to mimic the effect of the Life Sense Power. Naturally, this requires that the life form in question possesses H2O in its system.
  • Energy Blast is Fatiguing (Note: Because Energy Blast is Mystic Linked, Garth takes Bashing damage to his SPIRIT rather than BODY when suffering from the Fatiguing aspect of the Power.)
  • Power Restriction: Ice Production and Pyrotechnics require a source of water through which to function.
  • Miscellaneous: Fog represents Tempest’s ability to create steam using his Pyrotechnics to heat up a water source. If Pyrotechnics is Neutralized in some way, Tempest loses the Fog Power, as well.

Skills:
Animal Handling: 04, Occultist*: 07, Vehicles: 06

Advantages:
Iron Nerves

Connections:
Aquaman (High), Atlan, the Wizard (High), Atlantis (High), Letifos (High), the Idylists (High), The Titans (High)

Drawbacks:
Fatal Vulnerability: Tempest must immerse himself in water once per hour or he begins to die. (No Intrinsic Range)


Designer’s notes

Oooboy… Many of the abilities that Garth is reported to possess since his transformation from Aqualad to Tempest have yet to be depicted in use or have been used so rarely as to raise doubts as to what power is actually being wielded.

Therefore, I have chosen not to include Spirit Travel or Teleportation (both the Aquaman and Titans Secret Files mention Garth’s Astral Projection and Teleportation Powers) in Tempest’s list of Powers.

In addition, comments in Showcase ’96 #1 regarding the speed with which Garth’s facial scars seem to be healing indicate that Garth may possess some sort of regenerative abilities (Regeneration: 3-4?). This would be logical since the Idylists have been depicted possessing faith-healing powers. This regenerative ability has yet to be firmly established, however, so it has been omitted.

Finally, in the Tempest miniseries, Garth creates his new costume from his parent’s bedcovers using his Telekinesis. This would require the DC Power Matter Manipulation, a powerful ability that Garth has yet to demonstrate again. Once more, it has been omitted until further proof of its existence is shown. Whew !


Previous statistics

Mayfair’s Who’s Who has pre-Tempest Aqualad stats, while The Titans Sourcebook has various versions of Garth from different points in his career. Perhaps the only thing lacking from these official write-ups concerns his Bonus to Awareness that I mention above.

On several occasions long before the advent of his magical Tempest powers, Garth displayed a mystical bond with Aquaman which allowed him to sense when his partner was in danger. It is possible that this bond was weakened when Garth began to feel neglected by his mentor and was finally broken by the pair’s Manta-prompted battle.

By Vincent P. Bartilucci

Source of Character: DC Comics

Helper(s): Daria at Tempest’s Purple Reign (http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Workshops/5377/ – defunct) for invaluable insight and a darn fine origin recap to swipe! If the History section makes any sense it is due to Daria’s fine work. If not, blame my sloppy editing.

Writeups.org is a non-commercial, community site

We chat and work at the DC Heroes Yahoo! group .