Aquaman has captured the hearts of DC fans for the past 70 years, but his faithful octopus Topo has fallen into relative obscurity. While there have been multiple iterations of a mollusk character named Topo, none have played a vital role in the Aqua-Family’s life as much as the original version that appeared near the end of the Golden Age of Comics. And even though that age had several DC super-pets, Topo’s above-average abilities and intelligence make him a super-pet superior to all others.
Topo’s first appearance dates back to a story in 1956’s Adventure Comics #229, which was published in 1956. He was created by Aquaman artist Ramona Fradon, who is famously known as the co-creator of Aqualad. Topo was born in or nearby the undersea city of Atlantis. After his initial appearance, he quickly became Aquaman’s favored pet, often appearing to help him subdue villains and tackle obstacles when his owner needed his eight-limbed assistance. When not assisting the King of the Seven Seas in the field (or ocean), Topo was most often seen taking care of Aquaman’s child Aquababy. With eight limbs, an above-average intellect and love for Aquaman, Topo was the ideal candidate to watch over the royal couple’s beloved child. While Topo was often pictured watching over the Aquafamily’s youngest member, he also possesses a slew of hidden talents.
The original Topo did not spend all of his time helping out around the Aquahouse, he was often out on adventures with Arthur Curry, putting his many talents to the test. Aquaman trained Topo in a multitude of specialties to prepare him for any task the Atlantean might throw his way. In his early days, he is seen shooting four different bows at one time, a trick Aquaman claims he taught him years ago. It is theorized that not only did Arthur teach Topo this trick, but that Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, also assisted in his training. In addition to sharpshooting, Topo is also a talented musician. He is seen playing multiple instruments at once and knows songs such as Happy Birthday. Not only can he sing, but he can also groove to any beat as he can be seen dancing with Aqualad during spectacles put on by the Atlantean royal family. He has near perfect telepathy with Aquaman that he uses to help interrogate enemies of the sea. He does this by wrapping his tentacles around the perpetrator and signals to Aquaman whenever there is a slight change in the suspect’s body movements.
With all of these talents, it’s not surprising that Topo popped up in a brief cameo in the DCEU movie Aquaman. In the panoramic scene showing the arena atmosphere before the trident showdown between Arthur Curry and his half brother King Orm, the camera pauses for a couple of seconds on a drum-playing Octopus who is none other than Topo. While he does not interact directly with Aquaman in the story, this leaves an opportunity for him to play a bigger role in the upcoming sequel.
There have been two other iterations of Topo in Aquaman comics over the years, and both of these are quite different from the original super-pet. An anthropomorphic version appears in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis. In the New 52 era, Topo was reintroduced in 2013’s Aquaman #19, by Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier, appearing when summoned by Aquaman as a giant octopus-crab hybrid. Aquaman uses his full telepathic abilities to control Topo to destroy the Scavenger and his fleet of submarines. While this proves successful, the strain of controlling Topo causes Aquaman to lose his consciousness.
Topo holds a special place in Aquaman’s history and has the potential to play a larger role in the DCEU. While there has been no mention of him playing a role in the upcoming animated movie DC Super Pets due in May 2022, there is still hope that he may appear in the Aquaman sequel, which is set to release in December of 2022.