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Black Manta

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Y'see, deep down, in my most secret heart of hearts, I'm still a totally depraved sonuvabitch whose main goal in life is to watch you die. Slowly and painfully. Just like your kid.
~ Black Manta
Black Manta is a supervillain in the DC comics and the archenemy of Aquaman.

Origin

Black Manta is one of many mysteries of the sea. Manta currently claims that he was an autistic boy who grew up in Arkham Asylum, where he was subject to many unethical experiments. One such experiment increased his knowledge, but made him a sociopathic madman in the process. Escaping from Arkham, Manta decided to take over the seas, seeing it as a safehaven from the cruelty of the surface world. But Manta has proven to be just as heartless as the scientists who tormented him as a boy, and has frequently fought Aquaman. But now their war has become personal, since Manta caused the death of Aquaman's son, Arthur Curry Jr., an act that truly proves that not all sea monsters are animals. In the current Brightest Day miniseries, it has been revealed that Black Manta is the father of the new Aqualad, Jackson Hyde, and his true origin may come to light.

History

Once an autistic child who loved to play by the sea, the child who would be known as Black Manta was abducted and forced to work on a ship for an unspecified amount of time. During his time held prisoner on the ship, the boy attempted to call Aquaman for help, but was not seen. This resulted in the boy developing a hatred against the sea, and Aquaman, who he saw as its representative. He finally defended himself against his captors, killing one of them with a knife.

Black Manta 0005

Black Manta removes his mask

As an adult, the man who would become Black Manta created a costume and fashioned a high-tech submersible inspired by manta rays. Under the monker of Black Manta, the supervillain and his army would engage in multiple clashes with Aquaman over the course of several years. During one such confrontation, Black Manta revealed he was African American, and claimed he wished for his people to rule the seas after being oppressed on dry land. This was later revealed to be a ruse to manipulate his lieutenant, Cal Durham. During the clash with Aquaman, Black Manta entrapped Aquaman's son, Arthur Curry, Jr., in a globe filling with air, suffocating the infant to death. This left Aquaman obsessed with revenge, and he engaged in another battle with Black Manta, ending with the supervillain defeated. Aquaman spared Manta's life, however, and had him arrested instead.

Black Manta later sold his soul to the demon Neron, who mutated him into a manta-human hybrid creature. In this new form, Manta indulged in drug smuggling in Star City. He was later reversed back into a human by Aquaman, using the Lady of the Lake's Healing Hand, and cured Manta's autism. Despite this, Manta remained a murderous criminal. 

Manta was later used as a test subject to create water breathers using genetic manipulation. He later caused a desturbance in Sub Diego, during which Captain Marley was seriously injured. He was supposedly killed by Aquaman in retaliation, but he was later revealed to have survived via generating an electric charge in his suit. He later returned and overtook Sub Diego, but was forced to flee when King Shark bit off his face. He later joined Libra's Secret Society of Super-Villains, but later quit the group when Libra helped Darkseid conquer the Earth.

During Brightest Day, when Aquaman was presumed dead, Black Manta took up a job at a fish market. However, upon the return of Aquaman, Manta turned back to crime. Teaming up with Siren and her Death Squad to find his son Jackson Hyde, the new Aqualad. Manta attempted to kill Jackson's foster father, but Aquaman intervened and brought the two to safety. During another confrontation with Aquaman and Aqualad, Manta severed Aquaman's right hand. Before Manta can kill Aqualad, however, Mera arrives with Aquagirl, and Manta was sealed in the Bermuda Triangle with Siren and the rest of the invaders.

New 52

In the reboot of DC, Black Manta seeks vengeance against Aquaman for killing his father, who himself had been seeking revenge for the death of his own father at Manta's hands. Manta kills Kahina the Seer, a former teammate of Aquaman, vowing to kill her entire family. Manta attempted to steal the seventh Atlantean relic in the Dead King's tomb, during which he did battle with the Others, who were forged by the first six relics. Manta was eventually overpowered and incarcerated. While imprisoned, Manta refused Amanda Waller's offer to join the Suicide Squad.

Powers and Abilities

Black Manta's suit grants him superhuman strength and durability, while his helmet can fire heat beams from it's eyes. When Manta sold his soul to Neron, he mutated into a manta monster, granting him superhuman physical abilities and the power to fly, but he has since been cured of that form.

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