Okay, you've probably noticed that I think Gerry Conway is Satan's Cabana Boy. How can I despise the man who created Vibe, you ask? Does a husband have to like his in-laws?
Anyway, here's some credit where credit is due ... to Gerry Conway.
Conway is the only writer I know of (other than Morrison's one-panel of aquatelepathic attack in the Hyperclan story) who understood that Aquaman's "mental telepathy" would have an affect on anything with a brain, not just fish.
People make fun of Aquaman because he "talks to fish" (well, that and other reasons). But as a general rule, throughout his history Aquaman does NOT talk to fish. He commands them (along with other sea creatures). That's sensible; marine brains aren't wired for language (heck, most simian brains can barely handle it). But they do know all about instinctive imperatives. Must swim. Must hide. Must mate.
Seems pretty clear what Aquaman does is impose his will on the fish and his imperatives take the place of their regular ones. Must disarm harpoonist. Must spell out "S.O.S." with our bodies. Must ram Mantaship.
Unless you go all new-age with some hoo-hah like "the Clear" (a cousin of "the Green" and "the Red"), marine animals brains aren't intrinsically different than land animal brains (except for being, on average, simpler). If Aquaman's mind can command sea creatures it is reasonable to assume it could, to some degree, influence (or "push" as Max Lord used to say) other ones. Even humans (particularly ones with simple brains, like Steel). Apparently Gerry Conway's the only writer smart enough to realize this (I can NOT believe I just wrote that sentence).
It explains a lot, too, particularly how a guy with little social interaction is such a "natural leader". You can laugh at him all you want, but when Aquaman talks, people shut up and listen. Ever seen Batman, or any other JLAer, mouth off to Aquaman? No. He's a freak and foreigner by Atlantean standard, but still they used to bow and scrape before him. The man once made Senator Neptune Perkins wet his pants, for cryin' out loud.
People want to obey Aquaman because he doesn't have "aqua-telepathy" (the ability to talk to fish), he's got "alpha-telepathy" (the ability to impose his will on others). And why shouldn't he? If they gave it to the ridiculous "Provoke" and Max Lord, certainly the writers at DC should realize that Aquaman has it.
Even Gerry Conway knew that.