Aquaman thanked Kaldur for the protection of his kingdom. His protégé has made up his mind, though: he would return to the surface as Aqualad. He discussed with Garth what would have happened if their roles were reversed, but neither ever wondered about it.
Immediately after Aqualad's return from Atlantis, Batman sent the Team to Bialya to investigate a power surge. Once there, Psimon found them and knocked them out, blocking the last six months of their memory. In the arid desert climate, Aqualad soon succumbed to drought. His teammates, who had only themselves just realized where they were, only later realized Aqualad was with them. When they found him, Artemis tended to him.
Before heading to Poseidonis, Aqualad stopped by his house in Shayeris. He introduced Miss Martian and Superboy to his parents, Sha'lain'a and Calvin Durham. While the two heroes converse with Sha'lain'a, Aqualad's father, Calvin, pulled Aqualad aside and warned him about trouble in the capital.
As they prepared for the night in Atlantean pods, Kaldur was alerted by Mera that she was in danger. They swam to her chambers, where they found Ocean-Master and his purists. As soon as they were out of the palace, Ocean-Master electrocuted the three of them with his trident.
Aqualad, Superboy and Miss Martian headed to their target location, only to find that they were expected. The purists ambushed them. Luckily, Kaldur's friends from the Conservatory lent a hand. The tide was turned, albeit briefly, as Ocean-Master cast a spell that affected all impure Atlanteans. Aqualad was weakened, but capable of continuing the fight.
Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian, Lori Lemaris, Garth, Tula, and the turncoat Ronal attacked Ocean-Master, but were not strong enough. Garth eventually summoned the power of the Tempest, which forced Ocean-Master to retreat.
Poseidonis September 7, 07:01 UTC-2
Just back from his mission with the Justice League, King Orin returned to find his wife safe back in the capital. He thanked his protégé. Though he wanted to stay longer, they had to return to the surface because Superboy and Miss Martian would have to go to school the next day.
Red Arrow headed to Taipei to stop Cheshire from attacking the peace summit between North and South Rhelasia. He contacted Aqualad for information, but refused help. Only when he realized he was up against the entire League of Shadows, he asked his friend to come over. At the summit, Aqualad quickly recognized Cheshire, and managed to create a shield of water to absorb the blast of her bomb. Once the smoke cleared, he engaged Sportsmaster, who revealed to him that his bosses had a mole on their team.
Red Arrow set off the sprinkler system, and with the large amount of water, Aqualad swept away the attackers. With the peace treaty signed, Red Arrow and Aqualad discussed affairs, and Kaldur planned to investigate the mole in silence.
Aqualad continued his investigation into the Mole. He discussed it with Red Tornado, who advised him against alerting Batman or the others. He questioned his teammates as inconspicuously as he could.
The Cave was attacked by Red Inferno and Red Torpedo, and Aqualad was held captive in a cage of fire, dehydrating him. He was eventually freed as Robin and Artemis created an EMP to knock out Inferno, negating her powers. When Red Tornado returned to investigate, he was reprogrammed and sucked the air out of the room, knocking Aqualad and the others unconscious. Aqualad awoke later when the League came to check on them.
After the attack of the Cave, Aqualad revealed to Batman the possibility of a mole, with Red Tornado being the prime suspect—a conversation that was overheard by Superboy who quickly voiced his disapproval and informed the rest of the Team of Aqualad's withholding. Before the situation got out of control, Batman assigned them their new mission.
When they landed in Northern India, Aqualad was the center of animosity as his teammates undermined his authority before they left to investigate, leaving Aqualad with Captain Marvel. During their investigation, Aqualad and Marvel were both attacked by giant elephants, which were dealt with by destroying their collars. After Captain Marvel gave Aqualad a much-needed tip on how to command his team, Captain Marvel headed off in pursuit of a tiger.
After establishing a telepathic link amongst the Team members through Miss Martian, he again faced the biting remarks of his teammates. Using Captain Marvel's advice, he re-established his leadership and promised to place his position up for debate after the mission was completed. He then turned his focus to finding Captain Marvel. The Team later regrouped near the hideout and, after dealing with some opposition, broke into it, disrupting the Brain's experiment on Captain Marvel. After a short battle, the Brain activated a strange device, turning out the lights in the room and disappeared with Mallah.
With the mission over, Aqualad explained why he withheld information of a mole from the Team, which was met with approval from them. After explaining himself, a unanimous decision from the Team kept him as the incumbent leader.
Three days later, Batman briefed the Team, informing them he suspected the Brain was running a Venom-Kobra operation in Bwunda. Aqualad interrupted the briefing to state that they should shut it down.
The Team landed in the Bwundan jungles, and Aqualad asked Miss Martian to activate the psychic link. Before she activated she wondered if Aqualad still had thoughts about Tula. He responded that he regretted that he did not profess his love sooner, but insisted he was over it and again asked M'gann to establish the link. Aqualad ordered the Team, who were callously chatting, to focus on the mission. They were almost immediately ambushed by Kobra-Venom enchanced gorillas. While fighting, Aqualad ordered Miss Martian to camouflage in case they needed a secret weapon, and had Robin create a smoke screen for cover.
Aqualad and the rest of the captive Team members were disarmed and shackled to a wall, feigning unconsciousness. Robin freed himself shortly after Grodd arrived with Wolf. He retrieved his utility belt, and detonated smoke grenades. Aqualad and Artemis tested the psychic link. Superboy realized the new psychic link was not set up by Miss Martian. Grodd explained Solovar's plan to the Team. When the smoke cleared the Team was free and rearmed. After Solovar arrived with Miss Martian, the Team and their gorilla allies attacked their captors. Aqualad disarmed Ultra-Humanite. After the base's self-destruct was activated, Aqualad and the Team evacuated with the gorillas to their secret hiding place.