Aquaman’s Black Manta is Getting a Massive Change in DC Canon
The latest issue of D.C. Comics’ Black Manta features the classic Aquaman villain prepared for a significant change that could have crazy consequences. The beginning of this miniseries revealed that Black Manta is suffering from an unknown rock on the ocean floor. However, the answers he gets to his questions about why he’s dying aren’t what he wanted to hear. The fearsome supervillain decided to seek a second opinion using supernatural methods to discover the truth. Likely, Black Manta will not like what he finds, as he is more connected to Aquaman than he would ever want.
David Hyde suffers from debilitating headaches and threatens to die in the first issue Black Manta, written by Chuck Brown and illustrated by Valentine de Landro. Although he believes the cause is a mysterious glowing stone his team discovered beneath the waves, he doesn’t know why he’s being affected. A few people, seemingly unrelated, have also been affected by the same illness. Black Manta, therefore, hired Stephen Shin, a marine biologist, and Atlantean expert, to help him find answers and a solution before his death.
However, Manta is entirely in denial when he hears Shin’s theories about what’s going on in Black Manta #2. Shin believes that the rock is a magical ore forged centuries ago in Atlantis by the Lost Tribe of Atlantis. Shin believes that the stone was discovered by one of Hyde’s Manta Men and began to awaken Atlantean DNA in humans. This could have led to their death. This would also mean that Black Manta could be part-Atlantean. A notion that the pirate mercenary is unwilling to entertain.
Black Manta seems to be choosing to find his answers. He captures the Gentlemen Ghost to transport him back to Atlantis in 9000 B.C. Black Manta appears determined to find the truth from the Lost Tribe of Atlantis and hopefully find a cure. If it is true that Black Manta was always part-Atlantean and belonged to a race he hates, that will be huge. This would make Black Manta even more connected to Aquaman, his longtime rival, and kill his father.
This would make Black Manta’s history completely new. It’s not clear what Black Manta will do if and when he discovers the truth about his lineage. It might allow Black Manta to seek redemption and will enable him to reunite with Jackson. Fans will have to wait to see if the Aquaman villain plans to travel back in time to the bottom of the sea to find the answers that he seeks.
In D.C.’s Aquaman 80th Anniversary special issue, it’s revealed that Black Manta will be rewritten to become D.C. Comics’ Darth Vader. Although David Hyde and Jackson have been estranged for a long time, it appears that Black Manta is being re-characterized in comics. This could be a way for his son to redeem himself. It’s similar to Darth Vader’s story in Star Wars with his son, who brought him back to the light.
Recent comics, such as Aquaman #62-63 by Jordan Clark and Marco Santucci, have depicted Black Manta as a standard, dark villain. This includes his interactions and relationships with Jackson. Black Manta threatens Aqualad with hurting his mom in their latest meeting. But when Jackson refuses to comply, Black Manta replies that although “blood is thicker than water,” they still operate the same. Jackson and his father are clearly at odds as heroes and villains. This DC Comics story depicts things differently.
The Aquaman 80th Anniversary #1 “Father’s Day” story by Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier features David and his son. The report shows readers a different Black Manta from the one who last spoke to Jackson. Instead of threatening Jackson and his mother or swearing to shed his blood, David is more concerned about what his son is doing at school. He wants to know the details of his life. He doesn’t turn himself in, and they end up in an annual impasse, where Jackson and David fight, and Manta is revealed to be a robot piloted decoy by David who isn’t there. This Manta, though, is a lot like Darth Vader. He’s a villain with the possibility of redemption through his son.