“Where is Atlantis?!”

Aquaman has a lot of friends. Unfortunately, he’s got a lot of enemies as well. It comes with the “superheroic” territory. But what happens when friend turns into foe? It can make for a difficult relationship but an interesting story. Such is the case with Dr. Stephen Shin. DC and Warner Bros. recently announced that the character was added to their upcoming film starring Jason Momoa.

Dr. Shin is a recently created character. One whose history is already interlocked with Arthur, and it looks like director James Wan has decided to carry that over into the film. Dr. Shin is one of the few characters that has known Arthur throughout his entire life. Someone who knew Arthur Curry before he became Aquaman, the King of Atlantis. Their relationship is unique and worthy of exploration.

So to prepare you for the upcoming film here are 5 Fast Facts about Aquaman’s Dr. Stephen Shin!


Geoff Johns at the Premiere of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"

Geoff Johns at the Premiere of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

1. Dr. Shin was created by Comic Geniuses Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis.

Every run Geoff Johns does on a comic series is regarded as legendary. He put Green Lantern back on the map before doing the exact same thing with Aquaman. He turns characters that were regarded as something of a joke into the awesome titans of the Justice League. During The New 52, Johns and artist Ivan Reis were the first creative team to tackle the Aquaman character. They did an incredible job, making their Aquaman run one of the greatest in the history of the character. Dr. Shin is just one of the many wonderful creations this team put together. Hopefully, he won’t be the last to hit the big screen.


Dr. Shin and Arthur Curry in "Aquaman" - Art by Ivan Reis - DC Comics

Dr. Shin and Arthur Curry in “Aquaman” – Art by Ivan Reis – DC Comics

2. Stephen Shin was a friend to Arthur and his Father, and helped a young Aquaman hone his powers.

Dr. Shin was a friend to Arthur and his Father. A researcher who was a little too interested in what could be happening under the waves. Atlantis was always an obsession of Shin’s, even if most still believe it isn’t real. But here is Arthur Curry, this child born of land and sea; a son of Earth and Atlantis. Knowing what he was capable of, Shin helped Arthur to master these new abilities. Considering any kid would be justifiably afraid of speaking to fish, it was nice that Arthur had someone to help him along the way. Until his relationship with Dr. Shin went south…


Dr. Shin in "Aquaman" - Art by Ivan Reis - DC Comics

Dr. Shin in “Aquaman” – Art by Ivan Reis – DC Comics

3. Shin later turned on Arthur and tried to kill him for withholding the location of Altantis.

Shin’s history with Arthur isn’t explored fully in the comics. Only a few brief exchanges between the two characters exist, like the one above. Adding family history to a side character can make them much more interesting, especially when that character tried to murder a superhero. That’s right, Shin turned on Aquaman later in life. After Dr. Stephen Shin demanded the location of Atlantis, Arthur refused. This turned Dr. Shin a little “murdery.” He didn’t succeed in killing Arthur, and never found Atlantis. But later, Dr. Shin did get one more visit from the son of his former friend and “protege,” when his help was needed.


The Trench in "Aquaman" - Art by Ivan Reis - DC Comics

The Trench in “Aquaman” – Art by Ivan Reis – DC Comics

4. As a knowledgeable Marine Biologist, Shin helped Aquaman and Mera defeat The Trench, a horrific monster from The New 52. 

Stephen Shin knows more about Arthur and Atlantis than any other person on Earth. Other than perhaps Batman, as a member of the Justice League. For this reason, when Arthur and Mera couldn’t quite figure out what a new breed of monster was, they asked Shin. Shin divulged everything he knew about “The Trench” to Arthur, enough to help the King of Atlantis defeat the evil creatures. But Shin wanted a little more. He asked Arthur to leave the body of the creature, so he could further study it. Arthur refused, noting that while he seems sad now Shin is still quite dangerous.


5. Randall Park is playing Dr. Stephen Shin in Aquaman!

Asian actors don’t get a lot of representation on the big or small screen. But that’s starting to change. “Fresh Off the Boat” is an incredibly funny show that pokes fun at both American culture and those trying to emigrate to it. It’s especially funny for the children of immigrants, myself included. Thankfully, even James Wan seemed to take notice of the show by casting actor Randall Park as Dr. Shin! Dr. Stephen Shin is one of the few, but increasing amount of Asian characters being represented in comics. Whether or not he’s Arthur’s enemy in the film, it’s great to see the character make it in the film. Not to mention, he’s being played by one of the best comedic actors working today.

Aquaman is the only DC Film being released in 2018, after a 2017 filled with successes and failures. Expectations are high. Let’s hope director James Wan and his talented team don’t disappoint.

  • About The Author

    Daniel Mills
    Batman & DC Writer

    Daniel Mills is a screenwriter and director working in Los Angeles, California. Far too many comics and Forgotten Realms-novels led him to want to tell stories of his own. From articles and opinion pieces to reviews and screenplays, he sees every new opportunity as another new realm waiting to be explored.