24 years ago - Garth is born, marked as an Atlantean magical adept by his purple eyes. He is cast into the penal colony of Idyllis by Orm Marius.
12 years ago - 12-year-old Garth contacts Arthur Curry, and together they breach the barrier into Idyllis and free the prisoners. They are captured by Black Manta's forces, but escape with the help of Kaldur'ahm, destroying their ships. He becomes Aqualad, and joins the original Teen Titans.
11 years ago - 13-year-old Garth is instrumental in Arthur Curry's recapturing of the Atlantean throne.
10 years ago - 14-year-old Garth becomes an apprentice Atlantean sorcerer.
7 years ago - 17-year-old Garth is attacked by La Sirène la Bailene, attempting to steal his magic, who casts him into an alternate dimension. He's found by Atlan, the founder of Atlantis. He studies magic under him for 4 years before returning, now 21 years old, to defeat La Sirène and take the name Tempest.
6 years ago - 22-year-old Garth assumes the throne of Atlantis as regent while Arthur Curry quests to find his son Arthur Curry Jr, and first meets Dolphin when she returns Arthur to Atlantis.
5 years ago - 23-year-old Garth marries Dolphin. La Sirène la Bailene attempts to use her mind control to take Dolphin's place.
4 years ago - The original Titans reform, including 24-year-old Garth. He and Dolphin have their daughter Mareena. He is attacked by La Sirène la Bailene in Titans Tower, and is nearly killed.
3 years ago - 25-year-old Garth becomes the Atlantean ambassador to the surface world and passes on his old Aqualad identity to Kaldur'ahm. He battles Nanaue, but uses his magic to finally allow him to communicate. Together they fight to free him from the influence of his father.
While Garth had a very prominent role in the classic Aquaman stories from the '60s, he didn't make the transition into a teenage hero as well as the rest of the sidekicks of that era. It wasn't until decades later that a very personal work of superhero fiction evolved this character into something uniquely powerful that really doesn't get as much recognition as he deserves.
Tempest's Comic History
Garth first appeared way back in 1960 in Adventure Comics, before Aquaman even had his own series. With the addition of Aqualad, Mera, and Tula, Aquaman's fantastic world of adventure suddenly featured a very obvious family structure. Often, during this era, in comics or cartoons that featured fantastic worldbuilding and adventure you'd also see very deliberate 'traditional' family roles for the characters wedged into place. There's also often a loveable animal mascot pet, which Aquaman ALSO had in the form of Topo, his pet Octopus.
Aqualad was depicted as VERY young in these stories, even younger than other youthful sidekicks like Robin. Why this was I couldn't tell you; he was still a full participant in the far-flung adventures that Aquaman had in these old stories. Sometimes, his heroics might even be considered MORE impressive because there were being done by such a young character.
Aqualad was of course one of the first members of the Teen Titans, since he was one of a relatively small number of cannon sidekicks. This is also where his character seems to start to lose a bit of his coherence because those classic Aquaman stories were such wild, otherworldly romps across Flash Gordon-style undersea landscapes, and suddenly they were attempting to use that character in much more real-world stories alongside less fanciful characters. It says a LOT that Robin and Speedy would be considered the more realistic parts of the Teen Titans, but that's sort of the nature of comics.
Also, the Teen Titans were teenagers, not kids. The Titans were growing up as the series went on, and while this worked for most of the team members, It didn't quite work for Garth. He was invented as a much younger character, and for most of the run of the Titans, right on through the George Perez & Marv Wolfman years, he never quite seemed to gell with the team's larger aesthetic. He was a founding member thanks to the small number of sidekick characters at the time, but as the Titans grew in scope and popularity, he just didn't seem to hold a lasting impact.
Phil Jimenez's and Tempest
In 1994, Phil Jimenez created a four-issue miniseries spinning out of the popular Peter David run on Aquaman. In this series he evolved Garth into Tempest, an advanced Atlantean sorcerer with incredible power that deserving to be the high counselor of Atlantis and the best friend of the King. It was a very well done story and really advanced the character to a new level, but it's also a profoundly personal work.
Back in 1986, a new Aquaman four-issue limited series was written by longtime DC editor and creator Neal Pozner. The book did a lot of very cool stuff with the post-crisis world of Atlantis, and also introduced a very short-lived new costume for Aquaman using a swirling blue and white camouflage design. Behind the scenes, Neal was a gay man and was HIV positive. Phil Jimenez described him as his first mentor, but they were also lifelong lovers, and Phil cared for him until his death... in 1994, the year he did his work on Tempest.
Phil gave Tempest a version of the costume Neal designed for Aquaman, and then came out in the editorial page of the last issue and dedicated the series to him, it was an act of profound love for both his partner and for the character. This has always struck me as tragic, romantic, and so brave, and I think it's a core part of makes Tempest a great character.
Our Tempest Story
My first instinct is to make Garth gay, as a reflection of the men that influenced him... but I've been told that it's not exactly honoring them to take a character that THEY envisioned as straight and change that. His relationship with obscure nautical character Dolphin was a huge part of his later stories, and we wanted to keep that. Modern Aqualad
Kaldur'ahm has always been depicted as queer, and I like to think that it's a way to honor Neal & Phil.
Otherwise, we didn't change much of his backstory. His home city of Idyllis is now a penal colony within Xebel where Orm has placed all magic-wielders of Atlantis to shore up his own power. Rather than making Garth an outcast for his purple eyes, he's simply the voice of his people that manages to reach Arthur and become his aide, helping him free the residents of Idyllis and lead them against Orm's forces in Atlantis.
This is a re-imagined version of their relationship: Garth still becomes Aqualad, still joins the original Teen Titans, but now this is all happening against the larger backdrop of the coup against Atlantis. As Arthur retakes his throne, Garth is one of the first Atlanteans to begin studying sorcery, but it's his contact with Atlan that allows him to take up his new identity as Tempest.
Because of the history behind Tempest's costume, it's pretty important that we maintain as much of its design as possible. This can, if it comes down to it, mean we just keep the single bodysuit with its red camouflage design, and that'll absolutely work. Still, because of his appearances in Teen Titans and Young Justice, there have been a lot of stylistic updates to his design that do a very good job of maintaining Jimenez's work while adding some flourishes.
If I was going to pick a favorite, it would be the work of deviantartist Bobkitty23, who did this cool redesign for Garth. there are gauntlets, exposed feet, cool dorsal fins on his calves, and an update to his hair that sets him more in the design style of the Young Justice cartoon's take on Atlantis. This, I think, is a version of Tempest that would work exceptionally well.
In the Rebirth-era Titans series, Garth appears on a team along with the other founding members of the Teen Titans. It's cool that he's there, and his blue costume is clearly attempting to evolve his look, but it winds up being pretty generic. Perhaps a version of that could work for the future Aquagirl?
Garth's main utility in the comics has been as a powerful ally to Aquaman. Arthur is traditionally splitting his attention between his responsibilities in Atlantis and his role on the surface as a superhero, and Tempest has made that possible by being able to step up and fill in as regent in Atlantis in Arthur's absence. This would feel like a filler role, but given that Garth wields so much magical power, it actually seems to elevate him as a character. He's TOO powerful to be a regular member of any particular superhero team. This makes him feel like he could hold his own as one of the Earth's premier magic-users, like Doctor Fate, Zatana or John Constantine.
We've made a small change to his story, giving him a part to play in the evolution of the world at large, making him an ambassador to the surface world, which will hopefully increase his larger visibility without shoehorning him onto an existing superteam. Also, we've replaced his child with his wife Dolphin with Mareena, the future daughter of Aquaman from Batman Beyond. This suggests a future where Arthur's son Arthur Jr will sit on the throne of Atlantis while Garth's daughter gets to be the new Aquagirl.