Aquaman’s Greatest Foe, Black Manta, Explained

Drew Dietsch
Comics DC
Comics DC Movies

Black Manta will be making his big screen debut in Aquaman. The ruthless villain has been terrorizing the Atlantean king for fifty years in the pages of DC Comics. But, he’s not as well-known as the Joker or Lex Luthor. Exactly who is this villain and why is he known as Arthur Curry’s archnemesis?

A Man of Mystery

black manta aquaman suit

Though there have been a few different origins for Black Manta over the years, most interpretations keep him shrouded in mystery. He is always given some personal reason for hating Aquaman, and he is often portrayed as a ruthless treasure hunter. He’s portrayed as having a strong hatred for the sea in general, and this often puts him at odds with Aquaman.

For many years, even his face was never revealed. His high-tech suit has always kept his identity a secret. Speaking of his suit…

What Can Black Manta Do?

black manta aquaman suit 2

Most of Black Manta’s power comes from his suit. It gives him a number of abilities including superhuman strength, optic lasers, superhuman durability, and the ability to breathe underwater. He also is equipped with a number of different types of weaponry depending on the situation.

But, it’s not just his suit that makes him a formidable foe. Black Manta is an abnormally skilled swimmer. Even Deathstroke complimented his prowess in the water. And he is incredibly proficient at hand-to-hand combat. He’s only become better over time thanks to his many one-on-one battles with Aquaman.

But his most notable encounter with the underwater hero was a truly despicable event…

Death of a Prince

black manta aquaman death of a prince

Black Manta captured Aquaman and Mera‘s son, Arthur Curry Jr., and placed him in a chamber that slowly filled with air. Atlanteans can only last so long outside of the ocean before they asphyxiate. Black Manta forced Aquaman and Aqualad to fight each other to death and promised to free Aquaman’s son when one of them won the battle. The two heroes broke free but not in time to save the young child.

It was a defining moment for both Black Manta and Aquaman. Mera became so distraught over the event that she left Aquaman and suffered a nervous breakdown. Aquaman swore revenge against Black Manta and it led to the feud between them becoming far more vicious than ever.

Will this plot point be present in Aquaman? How much of a role will Black Manta play? We’ll find out when Aquaman hits theaters on December 21, 2018.

Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch has written for CHUD.com, the News-Press, WhatCulture, and releases a weekly film review podcast, The Drew Reviews Podcast. He'll yak your ear off about horror movies, Jaws, RoboCop, and/or Batman if you let him.
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