I’m starting to get pretty excited for the December release of Aquaman. While I’ve read a decent amount of his books I wasn’t as familiar with his rogue’s gallery of villains as I’d like, so out of pure geek curiosity I started researching the ones that are confirmed for the film. The more I read, the more fascinating the character of Black Manta became. If he’s a character you don’t know, or even if you already do, and as we continue a new vision to expand the site coverage to DC as a whole, here is the background on Black Manta and why he’s going to be a great villain for Arthur Curry.
He goes all the way back to 1967 when he debuted in Aquaman #35, and for the first 10 years of his existence, DC really told us very little about him. In the comics, he was just known as a plunderer who hated Aquaman…. about as basic and bland as a villain can get. In 1977’s Adventure Comics #465 we finally got a glimpse of the character he was born to be. In that issue, we saw beneath his helmet and it was revealed that Black Manta held Aquaman responsible for the death of his infant son.
His full-blown origin story though wouldn’t come until 1993’s Aquaman Volume 4 #6. This version is a bit different, here he was an autistic child committed to Arkham and was subjected to horrible experiments that warped his mind and gave him his powers. As if that wasn’t enough, DC went back to the origin drawing board in 2010 in Geoff Johns series Brightest Day. According to this new version, Manta is finally given his human name of David Hyde and we learned his wife was kidnapped and tortured in the under the sea kingdom of Xebel. The last wrinkle in the saga came in 2011 when Johns revealed Aquaman accidentally killed Manta’s father, sending him into a blind rage and setting up his hatred.
Just like Aquaman himself, the history of Black Manta has been changed and altered through the decades. We obviously don’t yet know what version the movie will go with, but I’d imagine Manta’s rage toward Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry is fueled by blame for a family members death. How he will interact with Ocean Master is one of an aspect of the film I’m really looking forward to seeing.
The trailers set up Aquaman’s very troubled and conflicted relationship with the surface, something I think will be perfectly represented in his battles with Black Manta. Manta symbolizes everything Atlanteans fear about the human world. He shows no remorse slaughtering Atlanteans and doesn’t appear as if he will stop his Atlantis onslaught until Aquaman is dead.
These types of character profiles are new to the site, but be sure to check out our first one on Black Mask. As we look to expand our coverage we’d love to know what you think, and what else you’d like to see covered. As always, thanks for reading. See you in the comments.