Real Name: David Hyde
First Appearance: Aquaman #35 (September, 1968)
Powers: Energy Blasts, , Enhanced Strength, Speed, and Durability. High Level of Martial Art Ability, One of the Best Swimmers in Comics, Enabled by his Artificial Gills.
Affiliation: The Society, N.E.M.O., Injustice League, O.G.R.E.
Love Interests: N/A
Did You Know: Black Manta seeks to rule Atlantis so that his people may live free.
A Little History
The once autistic, civil rights following Black Manta has been a thorn in the side of Aquaman for nearly 50 years.
As a child, Black Manta was only able to find pleasure in cold water. Due to this, he, unfortunately, spent his time strapped to a bed. During his teenage years, this would change as he was subjected to an experimental treatment at Arkham Asylum. The treatment was a resounding success but it did come with a few drawbacks.
First, it gave him an uncontrollably strong thirst for murder. And second, it enhanced his strength beyond that of a normal human. Eventually, his autism returned but this time, it was actually Aquaman and not an experiment that cured him. This didn’t dissuade him and his thirst continued.
Black Manta was first seen in Aquaman #35 in his underwater submarine. Noticing an unknown object in the waters, Aquaman immediately moved in to take a closer look. As he approached the submarine, he quickly became trapped by its bio-magnet. Worse yet, as he lay defenseless, he was attacked by the Manta Men.
While his men kept the attention of Aquaman squarely on them, Black Manta attached a tube to the dome that protected Atlantis. This was done so as to release a chemical into the unsuspecting city and onto its residents. Luckily, before too much damage was done, Aquaman was able to free himself from the magnet, fend off his attackers, and work to expel the chemicals from Atlantis.
Unfortunately, now without an adequate amount of water in Atlantis, its inhabitants began to suffocate. To rectify this, they were quickly given an injection called “Project X”. This serum allowed the Atlantians to breathe air.
The worse was yet to come as while this was happening, Black Manta was able to kidnap the son of Aquaman and use him as ransom. Being a man of nobility, Aquaman instantly surrendered himself. Before all was lost, the brother of Aquaman, Ocean Master, used his ship to help save the child and save Aquaman. During the encounter, both ships were heavily battered and this was the opening that Aquaman needed. He quickly moved into battle Black Manta. Before he could do so, his brother once again appeared, jumped in and took care of the foe.