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Quote1 You want to bring the land and sea together? You raise this building to your own vain ambition? You're deluded. The world is afraid of you...and it should be. You will never be whole, Arthur Curry. Never. I have come to end the fear. Quote2
-- Black Manta src

Black Manta, real name David Hyde,[2] is an enemy to Aquaman and The Others. He has been on many super-villains teams such as the Legion of Doom[3], the Injustice League[4] and the Secret Society of Super-Villains[5].

Early Life

As a young adult, David Hyde lived with his father on a houseboat, earning some reputation as a diver and a treasure hunter. He and his father seeked out the Black Pearl which would allow the user to possess Hydrokinetic abilities. He began his search in the Bermuda Triangle where he discovered the lost Atlantean kingdom of Xebel. There he seduced a woman who would adopt the name 'Lucia Hyde', wanting the map to the Pearl. However she smelt out his evil intention so made a proxy map. Because of this David wasn't able to find the Pearl until much later.[6]

He was contracted by Doctor Stephen Shin to procure a sample of Arthur Curry's blood to prove that the young man was an Atlantean. During the encounter, Arthur's father, Thomas, came to his son's defense and suffered a heart attack. Thomas died three days later, and Arthur swore revenge. On the day of Thomas' funeral, Arthur stormed the boat belonging to the man he deemed responsible for his father's death. In the rain and darkness, Arthur murdered Hyde's father, on the assumption that he was the killer. Out of vengeance, Hyde crafted weapons and armor, and went hunting. When the Atlantean became a publicly-known hero as Aquaman, David became Black Manta.[7]

Manta would come into conflict with Arthur and his team the The Others many times. The Others wanted to find and safeguard the Seven Relics of Atlantis- powerful artifacts forged by the first king of Atlantis Atlan.[8] Manta attempted to stop the team at every turn but they were too strong as a unified force. Eventually the Others found the artefacts and split up across the globe, each member taking one artefact with them except for the seventh relic that was never found.[8] Aquaman would later go on to fall in love with the princess of Xebel Mera and co-found the Justice League, both aspects of Arthur's life that Hyde wanted to rip away from him.

The Scepter

Manta was contracted by an atlantean named Vulko to retrieve the Scepter of the first king of Atlantis, knowing he would need the atlantean artefacts to find the seventh he went after the Others to retrieve their relics.
Manta facing Arthur in Heidelberg

Manta facing Arthur in Heidelberg
Manta tracked down the Others member Kahina the Seer and killed her, taking her relic the Seal of Clarity which allowed the user to translate any text.[9] He then travelled to Heidelberg in Germany where another ex-member of the Others- the Prisoner-Of-War hid, he guarded the Manacles of Force which could generate a powerful force field. Prisoner-Of-War was able to escape onto the streets of Heidelberg when Aquaman and Others member Ya'Wara teleported into the fight saving the Prisoner.[10] Manta fought Aquaman to a stand still but he saw he was outmatched by his three opponents and so Manta quickly grabbed Ya'Wara's relic the Globe of Transportation and used it to teleport away from the scene.[11]

He transported to Stephen Shin's home where he attacked Mera who was there to protect the doctor. Catching her off guard Manta was able to defeat Mera and take Stephen Shin hostage. He then travelled with Shin and his two Artefacts to the island where the relics were found and using the two in conjunction, Manta was able to unlock a secret passage and retrieve the Scepter that had sunk Atlantis.[12] Aquaman, Mera and the remaining Others ambushed Manta and his men and Manta was able to kill the guardian of the Atlantean Helmet Vostok-X.[13] Manta escaped the island using the Globe of Transportation and travelled to the meeting point where he handed over the scepter to Vulko's men. Aquaman and the Others once again ambushed Manta and this time Arthur defeated him for good, however Vulko's men were able to escape with the scepter.[14] Manta was sent to Belle Reve prison where Amanda Waller attempted to recruit him into the Suicide Squad but he declined.[15]

Saving the World

When the Crime Syndicate, an evil version of the Justice League from a different universe, came to Earth through Pandora's Box all prison systems were opened allowing the criminals to escape. King Shark gave Manta a silver coin that the Syndicate was giving out saying that they were being given out to the world's super-villains. The coin told Manta to go to the destroyed Justice League headquarters.[16] There, the Crime Syndicate declared they had killed the Justice League, displaying proof in the form of their weapons, including Aquaman's Trident. Black Manta claimed the Trident but left the gathering, not seeking to join the Society of Super-Villains, going to the grave of his father instead. But when Ultraman, the evil Superman, moved the moon to block the sun, it cause a tidal wave that swept open his father's grave. This angered Black Manta who swore revenge on the Crime Syndicate.[16]

The Injustice League

The Injustice League

After witnessing Black Adam lose in a fight with Ultraman Hyde retrieved his body from the ocean, and met up with Lex Luthor, the Kryptonian clone Bizarro, and Captain Cold who also wanted the Syndicate gone for their own reasons.[17] Lex Luthor realizes that with the help of his Kyptonian clone, Black Adam, Black Manta, and Captain Cold, he may be able to stop the Crime Syndicate. They travelled to Wayne Enterprises to stockpile on technology but were met with Catwoman and Batman who had seemingly survived the death of the Justice League. Before the two forces could fight the Secret Society arrived.[4] The Evil Green Lantern Power Ring attacked the heroes but was killed by the newly arrived Sinestro, who with Deathtroke, Batman and Catwoman joined the team.[18] The team then assaulted the Crime Syndicate at the downed Watchtower, where Black Manta killed The Outsider, the leader of the society, and set the Syndicate's greatest enemy Mazahs, the Shazam, free.[19]

Mazahs slaughtered a majority of the Syndicate and took their powers including Johnny Quick, Rhonda Pineda (Earth 3) and Deathstorm. The team then had to kill Mazahs after he tried to take their powers as well. The Justice League were then able to return as they had been trapped in the Firestorm's Energy Matrix by Deathstorm and not actually killed. The remaining Syndicate members were captured and Black Manta returned the trident to Aquaman saying he was glad he wasn't dead.[20]

Joining the Suicide Squad

Despite having previously refused Waller's offer to join Task Force X, Black Manta eventually volunteered to become a member of the squad. After believing that Aquaman had died, Black Manta found that he had nothing to live for.
Manta on the Squad

Manta on the Squad
Once Aquaman was revealed to not be dead, Black Manta realized that killing him would render his life meaningless. So David decided to join the Squad as he thought he had nothing better to do with his life.[21] He joined the team comprising of Harley Quinn, Deathstroke, the Joker's Daughter and Deadshot for a mission in Russia. Joker's Daughter, Harley Quinn and Deadshot were to destroy the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs while Deathstroke killed the C.E.O. of Russian oil and Manta searched the building for evidence of a top secret project the Russians were working on. They were able to storm the building when the top secret project arrived- a group of giant robots called the Rocket Red Brigade.[22]

The team were pushed into the subway station by the robots where Manta was put in charge of the team because Deathstroke couldn't be reached. The robots then bombed the subway station and the team escaped except for Deadshot who was captured.[23] Manta then put retrieving Deadshot as the priority but had to formulate a plan with just Harley as she had knocked Joker's Daughter unconscious for annoying her.[24] Manta stormed the complex that Deadshot was being held in with Harley and set him free. He was then attacked by Deathstroke who was working for the Russians and with the help of his teammates was able to defeat the mercenary and escape the country with the team.[25]

Meta-factory

For the team's second mission Deadshot was replaced by Captain Boomerang due to his injuries and the Joker's Daughter was taken off the team to receive mental support. As well as Boomerang Reverse-Flash and a pair of Man-Bat Commandos also joined the squad.
The Squad fighting mutants

The Squad fighting mutants
The team was sent to China to infiltrate a Chinese research facility trying to make meta-humans and destroy.[26] Upon arrival however Harley accidently woke up the unfinished meta-humans causing Reverse-Flash to place all the bombs himself which he found difficult due to his recent battle with the Flash. The team was able to get out in time with an injured Reverse-Flash and successfully blow the compound.[27]

The team realized they were being tailed by one of the meta-humans and so decided to lay low in a nearby city. The meta still found them and easily beat the man-bat commandos- causing Waller to blow their brain bombs. Seeing the death of the Commandos he refused to kill anyone else though he still attempted to stop the Squad for killing his brethren. The Chinese military then arrived and attempted to control the meta but when they weren't able to force him under their control they started attacking him.[28] The Suicide Squad were then able to make their escape from China as the meta held off the Chinese forces. After the mission Manta expressed that he wanted to leave the squad as due to the lack of organization, although legally he was not actually a criminal Waller decided that she would not let Hyde go from the team which angered him greatly.[29]

The League

Manta's third mission with the Squad was to infiltrate a League of Assassins splinter group known simply as the League who were using American super-villain weapons to massacre people in the Middle East.
The Squad infiltrating the League

The Squad infiltrating the League
The job was to identify the weapons used so the government could get a proper handle on where the weapons were coming from. Deadshot, Boomerang and Manta passed the rites of induction the League put forward by killing three captured super-heroes.[30] They then continued to work undercover until Boomerang attempted to free the children from their dorms prompting Manta to knock him unconscious.[31] The next day Manta and Deadshot were sent with a force of the League to destroy a British refinery trying to simulate the effect of the Lazarus Pit. Not wanting to blow their cover or destroy an allied refinery, Waller sent in Reverse-Flash, Harley and Parasite to stop the League but Manta and the League were able to defeat the trio, capturing Parasite and Harley.[32]

David slowly found himself believing that the League's cause was a righteous one due to them wanting to make the world a better place, and so told the leader Saladin that he and Deadshot were spies for the Suicide Squad.[33] Saladin told Manta that he planned to use a series of time bombs to send mankind back to the stone age where mankind could start anew. However Saladin tried to use Manta as the man to unveil the bomb to the world, this would get him killed as the bomb in his head would go off. Seeing that he had no place in the League Manta killed Saladin and made his escape with the Squad. When Reverse-Flash learnt that their were kids in the blast radius he sacrificed himself to dispose of the bomb.[34]

Breakout

After the League Manta was taken out of active duty by Vic Sage, Waller's boss. He also placed Waller in the active Squad so she wouldn't be able to stop his plans.[35]
Waller stops Manta

Waller stops Manta
He then promised vengeance on Waller for keeping him on the team after he wanted to leave to Manta who agreed to help Sage in his cause.[22] Sage wanted Manta to break out of Belle Reve and leak information on Task Force X to the public, essentially shutting down the team and Waller. He escaped his cell and rendezvoused with Sage in the server room of Belle Reve where he gave him the intel to deliver to Cavalry Corporation. When Sage learnt the conversation was over heard by the assistant warden Sage shot her and gave the gun to Manta. Waller then showed up with the F.B.I. outside Belle Reve telling the pair that she was aware of their plan. Sage then released all of the prisoners from their cells hoping to escape in the confusion. The Suicide Squad then arrived on the scene with Amanda Waller and Manta defeated them all with ease, however Deadshot shot Manta in the wrist allowing Captain Boomerang to get the upper hand on him and defeat him. Manta was returned to his cell once again bound to the squad.[36] He occasionally did missions for the Suicide Squad after this until he was released.

Spindrift

Now free of Belle Reve, Black Manta planned to destroy Aquaman once and for all, starting with his beloved, Mera, and Spindrift Station, an embassy for peace between Atlantis and the surface world.[37]

Black Manta terrorizing Aquaman

Black Manta terrorizing Aquaman

Posing as a reporter, Black Manta infiltrates Spindrift Station. Claiming to be sick after sampling Atlantean food, he sneaks off and begins to plant explosives around the station.[38] He is discovered in the act by a guard, forcing Black Manta to kill him and reveal his presence. He triggers the charges, damaging Spindrift Station and flooding areas.[39] As Aquaman searches for the saboteur, Black Manta uses the distraction to sneak up on Mera and shoot her with an electrified harpoon. Aquaman arrives and the pair fight; Aquaman implores Black Manta to give up on their feud, but Black Manta refuses as he wants to destroy everything Aquaman stands for. Eventually, Aquaman gains the upper hand, but unexpectedly turns his Trident on himself and offers Black Manta the chance to kill him. However, Aquaman tells Black Manta that killing him will never satisfy him. Black Manta sees the truth and surrenders. Aquaman uses the moment to apologize for killing his father.[40]

While being transported to prison, the convoy carrying Black Manta is attacked by a group called N.E.M.O. who seek to recruit him. Impressed by Black Manta's assault on Spindrift Station, the N.E.M.O. representative Black Jack explains that the group also hates Aquaman and Atlanteans as they are essentially the sea illuminati and Atlantis has gotten in their way many time before.[41] Taken to meet N.E.M.O.'s leader, the Fisher King, Black Manta listens to their plans and offer.[42] Believing that the group is thinking too small, and not content to be a servant, Black Manta kills the Fisher King and asserts himself as the new leader of N.E.M.O.[43]

N.E.M.O.

N.E.M.O. had previously sunken a U.S. battleship and pinned it on Atlantis, hoping to cause a war between Atlantis and the surface that would destroy the underwater nation. Manta thought that a more direct approach was required so that Arthur wouldn't discover N.E.M.O.'s existence so unleashed the Shaggy Man, a powerful creature created by mad scientist Professor Anthony Ivo, on Arthur's home town Amnesty Bay hoping to keep his mind off the investigation.[44].
Manta near victorious

Manta near victorious
Arthur was able to stop the Shaggy Man but was badly beaten by the terrifying creature, this effected Manta's plan to destroy Atlantis as Arthur was seen as a hero once again.[45] Manta decided to bring the timetable forward so had his men equipped with Atlantean armour and weaponry openly invade several U.S. cities. The N.E.M.O. attacks prompted the American government to declare war on Atlantis who they believed responsible.[46]

Manta commanded a N.E.M.O. sub to attack Atlantis and kill everything in its pass, hoping to build hate for the Americans among Atlantis.[47] Aquaman ripped through the submarine and captured the captain and his crew forcing Manta to remotely detonate coral bombs in their heads so they couldn't reveal N.E.M.O.'s existence to the world. Unfortunately Aquaman was able to track the signal used his telepathy to its source where he found Manta.[48] Manta and Black Jack attacked Arthur but were both defeated so Manta blew up the boat they were on, faking his and Black Jack's deaths. With the new evidence Arthur was able to cease hostilities between Atlantis and the surface world foiling Manta's ploy.[49]

The Black Pearl

The Teen Titans attempt to stop Manta

The Teen Titans attempt to stop Manta

After his assumed death Manta resurfaces when his subordinate King Shark is defeated by the Teen Titans. Shark tells him of an unknown teen who defeated him with Hydrokinetic abilities. Manta investigated this boy and deduced him to be his son. The boy named Jackson Hyde was birthed from Lucia Hyde and he had the real map to the Black Pearl that he so desperately craved.[50]

Discovering Lucia's location, Manta assaulted her hoping to draw Jackson out, when Jackson sprung to her defense Manta kidnapped Jackson. He used the map in his son's possession to find the location of the Black Pearl.[6] Manta and Jackson fought off the creatures guarding it and claimed the Pearl. However the other members of the Teen Titans showed up and attempted to defeat Manta, with his new hydrokinetic abilities Manta easily crushed the Titans but was defeated by Jackson when he electrocuted Manta to near death. After Manta's defeat his son Jackson took on the role of Aqualad[51]

Powers

Abilities

  • Aviation: Black Manta can pilot a helicopter. He flew a helicopter during his escape from Belle Reve after the Crime Syndicate broke all of the prison's occupants out of their cells.[16]
  • Disguise[37]
  • Genius Level Intellect
    • Leadership: Manta was able to effectively assume the reigns of the global interest spanning and commanding organization of N.E.M.O after dispatching its Fisher King.[43] He has also led the Suicide Squad on multiple occasions.[23]
    • Gadgetry
    • Investigation: Manta is the greatest treasure hunter to ever live, he has investigated many ancient myths of treasure and found their source.[22]
    • Seduction: Black Manta was able to seduce Xebelian "Lucia Hyde" into helping him with his quest for the Black Pearl.[6]
    • Tactical Analysis: Manta proves to be an adept strategist and directional coordinator having a cunning, tactical mind on par with a great many of Earth's greatest intellects.
    • Mechanical Engineering: Hyde was able to make his suit, which is considered a technological marvel.
    • Tracking: Manta was able to track down members of the Others- some of which had been in hiding for years.[9][8]
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Black Manta was trained to fight by his father from an early age. He's honed his skill over the years fighting Aquaman. He is capable of defeating multiple opponents with or without his suit.[44] He was able to easily beat Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn and Deadshot in one-on-three combat, even though all three were accomplished fighters.[36]
  • Intimidation: Black Manta rules N.E.M.O. largely through fear.[44]
  • Master Swimmer: Black Manta is highly skilled at swimming. Deathstroke stated that he "cuts through water like a torpedo".[53]
  • Weaponry: Black Manta has a large arsenal of both underwater and above water weaponry. He's even used Aquaman's trident with proficiency as well as the Dead King's Scepter. He can cut a man's throat with a coin.[16]
    • Marksmanship: Manta is highly accurate with rifles and other ballistic weapons, able to mow down dozens of hostiles with just a pair of machine guns.[25] He is also incredibly accurate when utilizing his grappling hooks.[9]
    • Swordsmanship: Manta often uses swords or daggers when combating Aquaman and other enemies.[9]
    • Demolitions: Manta was able to destroy Spindrift Station with coordinated explosions.[37]

Equipment

  • Black Manta's Armor: Black Manta wears a diving suit that enables him to survive underwater to unknown depths; it insulates him against the cold and protects him from pressure changes. The suit is sealed so completely that it cannot be entered even at the atomic level. It greatly increases his underwater mobility, primarily through the use of some sort of diver propulsion vehicle, and allows him to leap great heights when shooting out of water. It is also effective as a means of camouflage in dark water. He wears a distinctive manta-shaped helmet with two large eyes that allow for infrared and scope vision, as well as powerful optic blasts capable of hurting or killing metahumans. It also protects his head from trauma.
    • Artificial Gills: Manta's helmet connects to an oxygen supply in his back which allows Manta to survive underwater for an unlimited amount of time. His suit is also atomically sealed so that no water can get inside.[19]
    • Enhanced Durability: Black Manta is able to take hits from Aquaman without dying due to his suit.
    • Enhanced Strength: Black Manta is strong enough in his suit to combat Aquaman who is billions times stronger than the average human.
    • Grappling Line: Manta's suit comes with a built in grappling line on his right gauntlet. This grappling line functions in a way similar to the one utilized by Batman and his allies, as it fires a strong cable that latches onto a surface and winches Manta upwards.[16]
    • Optic Lasers: Manta can fire beams of heat energy out of his eye pieces capable of singeing an Atlantean's skin at maximum power output.[9]
    • Shock Gauntlets: Manta is able to produce an electric shock from his gauntlets powerful enough to stun an atlantean.[12]
  • Seal of Clarity: Manta stole the Seal from Kahina's corpse. It translates any text and was used in conjunction with the Globe of Transportation to unlock Atlan's scepter. When Manta was defeated it was given to the Operative to safe guard until a new guardian could be found. (Formerly)

Transportation

  • Manta-Sub: Black Manta possesses a small submarine which he usually drives while travelling in the ocean. The submarine is shaped like a Manta and can only fit few people in it.
  • Globe of Transportation: Manta was able to steal the Globe of Transportation from Ya'Wara. The Globe allowed Manta to teleport around the globe at will. However when Manta was defeated Ya'Wara reclaimed the artefact. (Formerly)

Weapons


  • Black Manta has three long scars across his face from his first battle with Arthur when he was hit across the face with a fish hook.[7]
  • Manta has a fan base amongst criminals and lesser super-villains, its most notable member being King Shark.[16]

Related


Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sinestro #19
  2. DC Nation (Volume 2) #1
  3. Justice League (Volume 4) #1
  4. 4.0 4.1 Forever Evil #4
  5. Deathstroke (Volume 4) #24
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Teen Titans (Volume 6) #10
  7. 7.0 7.1 Aquaman (Volume 7) #10
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Aquaman (Volume 7) #8
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Aquaman (Volume 7) #7
  10. Aquaman (Volume 7) #9
  11. Aquaman (Volume 7) #7
  12. 12.0 12.1 Aquaman (Volume 7) #11
  13. Aquaman (Volume 7) #12
  14. 14.0 14.1 Aquaman (Volume 7) #13
  15. Aquaman (Volume 7) #14
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 Aquaman (Volume 7) #23.1: Black Manta
  17. Forever Evil #3
  18. Forever Evil #5
  19. 19.0 19.1 Forever Evil #6
  20. Forever Evil #7
  21. Suicide Squad (Volume 4) #30
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 New Suicide Squad #14
  23. 23.0 23.1 New Suicide Squad #2
  24. New Suicide Squad #3
  25. 25.0 25.1 New Suicide Squad #4
  26. New Suicide Squad #5
  27. New Suicide Squad #6
  28. New Suicide Squad #7
  29. New Suicide Squad #8
  30. New Suicide Squad #9
  31. New Suicide Squad #10
  32. New Suicide Squad #11
  33. New Suicide Squad #12
  34. New Suicide Squad Annual #1
  35. New Suicide Squad #13
  36. 36.0 36.1 New Suicide Squad #16
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Aquaman: Rebirth #1
  38. Aquaman (Volume 8) #1
  39. Aquaman (Volume 8) #2
  40. Aquaman (Volume 8) #3
  41. Aquaman (Volume 8) #4
  42. Aquaman (Volume 8) #5
  43. 43.0 43.1 Aquaman (Volume 8) #6
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Aquaman (Volume 8) #7
  45. Aquaman (Volume 8) #9
  46. Aquaman (Volume 8) #11
  47. Aquaman (Volume 8) #12
  48. Aquaman (Volume 8) #14
  49. Aquaman (Volume 8) #15
  50. Teen Titans (Volume 6) #9
  51. Teen Titans (Volume 6) #11
  52. Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1
  53. Deathstroke (Volume 3) #4
  54. Justice League (Volume 4) #11


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