Aqualad is a teen hero and a sidekick of the hero Aquaman. While the mantle was originally held by the Atlantean Garth, after a series of adventures with the Atlantean sorcerer Atlan Garth denounced his role as Aquaman's sidekick and became "Tempest".
The current holder of the mantle of "Aqualad" is Jackson Hyde, a teen born in the water dimension of Xebel who possesses gills, the ability to grow webbed fingers and toes and the ability to control water to form hard constructs.
Relatively new to the super hero community, Jackson tries his best to meet the expectations of his new super hero role while also fulfilling his responsibilities to his mother and deal with the legacy of being the son of a super villain; Black Manta.
The woman known as "Lucia Hyde" was born in the underwater nation of Xebel, hidden within the area known as the Bermuda Triangle. In Xebel, she met and fell in love with a human diver who was searching for a powerful artifact known as the "Black Pearl", which would allow the user to possess Hydrokinetic abilities. Becoming lovers, the diver promised her a life together after his mission and she agreed to lead him to a map to said artifact. However, she tested his intentions by delivering him a fake map and in so doing she discovered him to be the supervillain Black Manta. Refusing to give him the true map, Manta critically wounded her as he fled the nation and unknowingly also left her pregnant with their child.
Seeking to protect her son from his father, she fled with her baby, whom she named "Kaldur'ahm", to the surface world where she established a quiet and secluded life for them both as "Lucia Hyde" and her son "Jackson Hyde" in the desert in New Mexico, where Manta would least suspect them to be. As an added measure, she stopped using her hydrokinetic powers and warned Jackson against using his own when they developed. As Jackson grew up, he began wanting to know about his parentage and the source of his powers, but Lucia continued keeping him in the dark to ensure that he never went looking for his father.
Lucia gave Jackson the map, which she enclosed in a necklace. She did this because she believed Jackson should possess some of his heritage, even if it was something he didn't know about.
When Jackson admitted to his mother that he found other boys attractive and came out as gay, Lucia tried to suppress this part of him as she believed that it would make him stand out from the community. In rebellion, Jackson bleached his hair blond and got a boyfriend named Kenny.
During one of their rendezvous, Jackson confessed that he had powers to Kenny, however, this resulted in Kenny ending their relationship as he did not want any stress on himself. Feeling trapped in his unremarkable life controlled by his overprotective mother, Jackson felt like he had to do something and when he discovered a viral video of the Teen Titans providing a tour of the Titans Tower he decided to travel to San Francisco and try to gain entry onto the team.
- He is a mission giver for heroes and villains in the Atlantis open world safe zone.
- Aqualad and King Shark are allies in the Atlantis: Silent School alert.
- Aqualad first appeared in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 (July, 2016)
- Jackson plays center-midfield in soccer. His favorite subject is Math and his favorite band is A Tribe Called Quest.
- Jackson's Xebel name is a reference to Calvin "Cal" Durham, a former henchman of Black Manta who was sent to infiltrate Atlantis but defected to the Atlanteans.
- While Hydrokinesis is a common ability for Xebelian royalty such as Mera, it is unknown why Lucia (and by extension Jackson) would possess it as they are not of royal Xebelian blood. It is possible that they are Sea-touched Atlanteans who gained their ability through genetic mutation.
- Jackson's suit is a modified version of a hydro suit Robin (Damian Wayne) had been designing for himself but gave to Jackson upon his acceptance into the Teen Titans.
- To help train his hydrokinetic ability and aid in his offensive capability away from water, Robin gave Jackson a water bladder backpack with attached hilts that help him focus his hydrokinesis into physical weapons likes swords or whips. Unwilling to refer to the backpack as a "bladder", Jackson dubbed it a "water bearer".