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For alternate versions of Black Manta, see Black Manta's Character Hub.

"OK, doc. You want to know my plan so bad? Here it is. I'm gonna kill Aquaman and destroy everything he holds dear. I’m gonna murder his family and burn his kingdom to ash. I will avenge my father, even if I have to make a deal with the Devil to do it."
―Black Manta to Stephen Shin.[src]

David Kane, also known as Black Manta, was a mercenary and the son of the late Jesse Kane.[1] Formerly the second-in-command of a pirate crew led by his father, he came into conflict with Aquaman after the latter refused to save his father's life. Upon allying with Orm Marius of Atlantis and receiving experimental Atlantean technology, David combined the Atlantean weaponry with his own equipment to create a powerful battle suit to combat his new enemy. Despite this, he was defeated during a skirmish in Sicily, but survived and was found by Stephen Shin, a scientist obsessed with the existence of Atlantis and plotted to find a new way to kill Aquaman. He created a crew consisting of him, Dr. Shin and Stingray. They eventually find the Black Trident which results in Black Manta being possessed by Kordax.

Over a period of months using the capabilities of the ancient trident, Manta secured enough Atlantean technology to repair his suit and wage a personal war against his long time nemesis, forcing Aquaman to need the help of his brother in order to defeat him. Manta's campaign ultimately culminated in a confrontation within the Lost Kingdom of Necrus. After a grueling battle between himself, Aquaman, Mera, and a reformed Orm Marius, he was finally defeated and deprived of the abilities of the Black Trident. Following the defeat of Kordax and the subsequent destruction of the Lost Kingdom, David found himself hanging from a ravine. Aquaman offered him a chance to save his life, the choice he never gave his father, but David refused, instead willingly falling to his death as he would never accept the help from the man who let his father die.


Losing his Father[]

Aquaman - Black Manta (3)

David breaks into the Stalnoivolk

"Wait! Help me! He’s trapped! You can’t leave him like this! Please!"
"You killed innocent people. You ask the sea for mercy."
―Black Manta and Aquaman[src]

David Kane was a pirate like his father, Jesse Kane, and at some point in time, he learned about Aquaman and wanted to encounter him. During their pirating career, he helped his father's crew steal a high-tech submarine owned by the United States Navy to aid in their operations. In 2018, their crew took over a Russian submarine and killed many sailors aboard, with David personally executing the captain. As they were celebrating their apparent victory, Jesse presented him with a special knife.

Jesse presents the knife to David

Kane receiving his father's knife

Initially, David scoffed at it, calling it a piece of junk, and the love of "[his father's] life"; but when Jesse told him about how it belonged to his grandfather, who fought in World War II as one of the Navy's first "frogmen" (code-named "Manta" for his stealthiness), he immediately changed his mind, and accepted the blade. Suddenly, they were interrupted by Arthur Curry, known as Aquaman. David proclaimed that he expected to eventually face the Aquaman but was quickly defeated by the Atlantean and easily subdued after a brief fight.

Black Manta- You can’t leave him like this!

Kane calling out the Aquaman

Aquaman deflected a rocket from Jesse, that caused a torpedo to topple over him, trapping him as the submarine became flooded. David begged Aquaman for help but was told that they kill innocents and should not expect mercy from the ocean. David tried to save his father, but his father committed suicide by using a hand grenade. David was forced to flee and started to bear a deep grudge against Aquaman.[2][3]

Becoming Black Manta[]

Conflict with Aquaman[]

Aquaman - Black Manta with mercs (11)

Kane meeting with Orm's men

"You can't run. You owe me blood!"
―Black Manta to Aquaman[src]

Sometime after his father's death, David was contacted by King Orm Marius, who paid him for the staged attack his crew launched on Nereus. David demanded that Aquaman should be killed, as he was responsible for Jesse's death, but Orm shrugged it off and assured David that Aquaman wasn't one of them. Still hellbent on getting revenge on Aquaman, David allied with the Atlantean king.

Aquaman - Black Manta with mercs (1)

Kane receiving Atlantean weapons

Orm informed David that human weaponry would be useless against Aquaman and provided him with Atlantean weaponry and was given multiple soldiers so he could launch an attack against Aquaman.

Aquaman - Black Manta works on technology (2)

Kane working on his own suit

David took the Atlantean weaponry and merged it with his diving suit, making it a specialized battle armor to fight Aquaman. In particular, David took a plasma beam cannon and installed it into his helmet, however, the helmet was melted during a test firing of the plasma beam. David made the helmet significantly bigger to circumvent the problem. Once the battle suit was completed, he painted it black and dubbed himself "Black Manta" in honor of his late father and family legacy.

Black Manta appears in Sicily

Black Manta confronts Aquaman in Sicily

Black Manta, along with Murk and the Men-of-War, ambushed Aquaman and Mera in Sicily, Italy. Black Manta attacked Aquaman while the soldiers chased Mera. Aquaman identified Black Manta as the same pirate from the submarine, which Black Manta confirmed. Black Manta used his enhanced strength provided by the suit and Atlantean weaponry as well as Aquaman's preference to ensure the safety of civilians to overpower and wound Aquaman numerous times,

Black Manta defeated

Kane plummeting down a cliff

but Aquaman ultimately managed to come out on top, damaging his suit, making it malfunction before throwing a pair of chain stone balls directly into Black Manta's helmet, causing it to explode and throwing David off a cliff.[2]

An Unexpected Rescue[]

Stephen Shin rescues Black Manta (2)

Kane drifting in the ocean

"This is Atlantean technology, isn't it? Could you tell me how you got this?"
"Sure. But first, you gotta tell me how to find him."
―Stephen Shin and Black Manta[src]
Black Manta - post credits scene

David thinks of another way to find Aquaman

Unbeknownst to Arthur or Mera, David survived, though his Black Manta suit was badly damaged from the fight. He was stranded on the ocean until Dr. Stephen Shin, a scientist obsessed with finding Atlantis, saved him. Shin asks David how he got the technology, and David says he will if he tells him how to find Arthur. David then throws the Manta Knife at a photo of a silhouetted man with a question mark reads, “Who is Aquaman?”.[2]

Subsequent Years[]

Over the next couple of years, David would rebuild his crew, recruiting members such as Stingray from Brill's crew and Dr. Shin in his quest for vengeance against Aquaman. Using Shin's research they began scouring Ancient Atlantean sites across the globe looking for new technology that would help him rebuild his broken suit.[4]

Quest for Vengeance[]

Finding the Black Trident[]

One such expedition using Shin's research led the team to the frozen tundra of Antarctica where sensor anomalies indicated something hidden beneath the surface. David was frustrated at the lack of progress and that his quest for vengeance could not be fulfilled. While scanning the area, Shin and a colleague fell into a crevasse and were subsequently attacked by an undead creature which had been previously frozen in the ice. Only Shin survived and sent a transmission which David and his crew responded to. He sarcastically mocked Shin by asking him what happened. Him and his team then suited up to dive into the deep waters beneath them where he suspected the Atlantean Ruin to be. On their way down it was noted that these were much larger ruins than they ever had discovered before, unbeknownst to the crew they had infiltrated the Lost Kingdom of Necrus, frozen for millennia beneath the ice using a blood spell.

They were soon attacked by the same creature, killing many of them. David attempted to fight it off using his blade but it swiped him away and he fell to the bottom of the ocean floor. There upon awakening he discovered the broken pieces of the Black Trident lying on the seabed. Suddenly, a disembodied voice began communicating with him. Promising him power and a way to finally enact his vengeance upon Aquaman and his family. David took the two halves and reforged the Trident, the disembodied voice then began to possess him. Granting him a vision of the future he seeks and the figure communicating with him frozen in the ice. David soon blacked out. He woke up back in the icy cave having been rescued by Shin and his men. David woke and immediately swiped at the air with his father's knife. Only to realize there was nothing there. It was then he saw the two halves of the Trident at his feet, proving his vision to be real. Shin questioned him on his discovery to which David prompted that this will give him what he seeks. Black Manta was reborn and now possessed by the spirit of the undead Kordax, allowing him to rebuild his armor.

Orichalcum Heist[]

Black Manta Team

Black Manta and his crew

Over the next five months, David would scour depositories of Orichalcum, an ancient mineral used by Necrus, in order to power a furnace located inside his base on the South Pacific Island of Devil's Deep all the while using the knowledge granted to him by Kordax. To that end him and his crew commandeered an ancient Atlantean Submarine and a fleet of Octobots capable of transporting the mineral. Their next target was inside the stronghold of Atlantis itself. Stingray and Stephen Shin remained onboard the Submarine while David and two crewmen took the Octobots inside the ancient refinery where the mineral was stored.

The heist was successful, but attracted the attention of Mera, Atlanna and the Atlantean guards, who pursued David and the other Octobots. The Submarine itself would come under the attention of the Atlantean Hydrocannons, but the Hydrocannons were taken out by the Submarine's sonic cannon, causing civilian casualties. The remaining Octobots loaded the Orichalcum into the Submarine after losing Atlanna, but David's Octobot was taken down by Mera, who managed to break open the windshield. But not five seconds later did David fire his suit's lasers at Mera, sending her into a rock column and severely burning her. Stephen then radioed David that the Orichalcum is secured on the Submarine, and that they should go, but David decided to kill Mera, but before he could do so, Aquaman arrived to protect his wife. David then shamed Aquaman for first taking his brother's throne, then Mera. The two then fought each other, until Stephen radioed again, warning David of the Atlantean army approaching. David then swam to the Submarine, but Aquaman followed close behind, until David ordered Stingray to fire the sonic cannon, causing Aquaman to be blasted back, as David made his escape with the Orichalcum.

Communing with Kordax[]

To be added

Confrontation at Devil's Deep[]

To be added

Kidnapping of Arthur Curry Jr.[]

To be added

Battle in the Throne Room[]

To be added


―Black Manta to Aquaman[src]

To be added


"I'll make you a deal. I don't tell you how to captain... and you don't tell me how to pirate."
―Black Manta[src]

Being a pirate, David Kane was a cruel, ruthless individual who didn't hesitate to kill those who stood in his way. Initially obsessed with treasure, David was willing to conspire with King Orm and help him declare war with the surface as long as he was paid. Despite his cold nature, however, David greatly valued his family lineage, as he immediately treasured his grandfather's knife after learning about it and had a very close relationship with his father. When Jesse Kane was in danger, David desperately begged his enemy Aquaman to save him and initially refused to leave his father behind. David's vendetta against Aquaman was purely based around avenging his father's death. After Aquaman caused Jesse's death, David developed an intense hatred towards Aquaman and vowed to kill him.

Upon becoming Black Manta after the death of his father, David became bloodthirsty, ruthless, and heartless; completely devoted on nothing but murdering the Aquaman at all cost. His hatred for Aquaman was so intense, he did not care if allying with Orm to kill him resulted in the surface world being sunk and humanity perishing. A world without his father meant nothing to him and rebuffed Orm's offer for a reward saying that the goal of the mission to kill Aquaman would be his reward. Black Manta never held back, as observed when he continuously attacked Aquaman until a hit was landed, leaving the Atlantean-hybrid on the defense through most of their battle and relentlessly attacking Arthur ignoring the damage his suit had taken during the battle. When having the upper-hand on Aquaman, Black Manta often taunted his mortal enemy. During the Orichalcum Heist David sarcastically remarked to Aquaman that he had stolen not only his brother's throne but his wife as well.

Throughout the years David became more determined than ever to finally avenge his father. Rebuilding his crew and recruiting Dr. Shin in order to find Atlantean points of interest using his research. The partnership between Shin and Kane was intense though not without some mercy on David's part. While single minded in goal he treated his own crew amicably, relying on both Stingray and Shin in order to defend him from Aquaman during the raid on the Orichalcum vault. David was looking for a way to rebuild his battle suit in order to achieve his goal though ultimately, would go to no lengths in order to kill Aquaman once and for all, even killing his entire family.

After receiving the Black Trident, David became possessed by the spirit of the undead King Kordax. While this greatly enhanced his physical abilities it also affected his personality. As a result he became even more bloodthirsty and barbaric. Believing absolutely that anything was worth avenging his father and killing Aquaman, even if that meant destroying the world. To that end he made a deal with the devil and began communing with Kordax who promised him the power he finally needed to achieve his goal. When granted the opportunity to inflict pain upon his enemy, David took the chance at killing Mera, knowing it would cause Aquaman pain. When realizing that a blood sacrifice was needed to release Kordax from his tomb, he kidnapped the infant son of Arthur Curry in order to cause Aquaman pain, wholly prepared to sacrifice the baby in order to gain more power. His hatred was so great that he burned down Curry's childhood home and stabbed his father, though non-lethally and kidnapped his one and only child, in order to inflict the maximum pain that he could. Once deprived of the Trident and Kordax's possession, David showed no remorse and still attempted to kill Aquaman, only to be brutally defeated by the latter. When his own life was in danger and Curry offered to save him, David refused, instead choosing to fall to his own death, preferring to die than to accept help from the man who let his father die.

Powers and Abilities[]


  • Black Manta suit Capabilities: David Kane does not possess any innate powers. Instead, he uses Atlantean technology supplied by Orm Marius to provide him with superhuman strength, endurance, durability, and a variety of weapons.
    • Superhuman Strength: Black Manta's armor grants him incredible superhuman strength, on par with that of high-born Atlanteans, such as Aquaman. This is shown when he kicked Aquaman off his feet, successfully headbutted him, kicked him out of a house, and - with the help of his jetpack - rammed him off a building.
"You thought you could walk away?"
―Black Manta to Aquaman[src]
    • Aquaman-movie-screencaps

      Black Manta flying

      Flight: Black Manta's suit incorporated the firing mechanism of the plasma cannon onto its back and legs, allowing Manta to fly and hover in mid-air as well as to cover immense distances rather quickly, as seen when he swiftly landed beside a subdued Aquaman in mere seconds despite having sent the latter plummeting over a massive cliff.
    • Superhuman Durability: Black Manta's armor grants him incredible durability, to the point that he can survive tremendous underwater pressures. It can withstand, albeit not unscathed, mighty blows from Aquaman. The armor's durability also allowed him to survive a direct explosion followed by a large fall off a cliff, though he was left badly injured and the armor was severely damaged.
    • Aquaman-movie-screencaps

      Black Manta using his helmet's optical lasers

      Energy Beams: The helmet of Black Manta's suit fires thick beams of red plasmoid energy from its eyes, similar to Kryptonian heat vision. These beams are so intense, that Aquaman was sent flying an immense distance by them, with his body left slightly blackened. His rebuilt suit was capable of severely burning Mera and later Orm.
"That's right, but now I have Atlantean steel! Call me Black Manta!"
―Black Manta to Aquaman[src]
    • Aquaman-movie-screencaps

      Black Manta piercing Aquaman's flesh

      Retractable Blade: Black Manta keeps a retractable blade in the left forearm. The blade is of Atlantean steel, which makes them sharp enough to slice right through the body of a high-born Atlantean.
    • Aquaman-movie-screencaps

      Black Manta harpooning Aquaman

      Wrist-mounted Harpoon Gun: Black Manta's suit also boasts Atlantean steel weaponry, such as the spear hook on his right arm, which was sharp enough to pierce Aquaman's flesh. Moreover, the spear hook can also be charged with a strong electric current, which makes it glow red.

Former Powers[]

  • Black Trident empowerment: Wielding the power of the dark magic infused Trident granted Black Manta abilities that could rival that of the strongest Atlanteans.
    • Physical Augmentation: The Trident gave him enhanced speed, reflexes, endurance and strength. Capable of fighting Aquaman one on one and even overpowering Orm Marius with a single punch. Combining these abilities with his own energy beams from his helmet allowed him to take on most Atlantean combatants and survive.
    • Energy Blasts: The Trident was capable of directing devastating energy blasts at its targets.
    • Possession: Due to the Trident's connection with Kordax, any wielders as a result become possessed by his spirit. The wielders iris turn a ghostly green and are capable of communing and receiving visions directly from the undead king. Such as a vision of the death of Arthur Curry and his entire family. After prolonged usage of the Trident Kordax was capable of speaking directly through Black Manta to taunt Aquaman directly.


"Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men."
―Black Manta to Aquaman and Mera[src]
  • Genius-level Intellect: Black Manta is extremely intelligent, mostly regarding his pirating, engineering, and leadership skills. He is also well-read and has a good memory, reciting a verse from H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu whilst confronting Aquaman.
    • Aquaman - Black Manta works on technology (1)

      Kane working with Atlantean technology

      Expert Engineer: Black Manta has an innate knack for understanding the most complicated technological function of any mechanism. Hence, his being able to take apart, modify and reassemble his Atlantean wet-suit into the powered armor he now adorns, turning the Plasma Gun the suit came with into a helmet-based heat ray and a thruster system. This is particularly noteworthy as Atlantean technology is radically different and more advanced than human technology.
    • Expert Pirate: Having been trained by his father Jesse Kane, Black Manta is an immensely skilled pirate, to the point that Orm Marius hired him to stage an attack from the surface dwellers upon the Council of Kings in Atlantis. Indeed, Manta and his father would have successfully overtaken the Russian submarine had Aquaman not intervened.
    • Expert Leader: Black Manta is a highly skilled leader, being the new leader of his father's pirate crew, and being entrusted by Orm to lead a squad of Men-of-War. Later leading his own crew of Manta Men.
    • Ancient Knowledge: The user of the Black Trident is granted Kordax's memories as well including the knowledge of the rare mineral Orichalcum and the location of several depositories of it across the globe. They are also given instruction on how to operate ancient Atlantean machinery such as Octobots and weaponry. This was presumably the only thing Kane retained after being separated from the trident and de-powered, as Orm retained and recalled Kordax's memories after he too was separated from the trident
  • Aquaman - Black Manta fights Arthur (1)

    Kane fighting the Aquaman

    Peak Human Condition: Black Manta, as a highly skilled assassin is in top physical condition.
  • Master Combatant: Black Manta is extremely skilled in both armed and unarmed combat. He is able to keep up with Aquaman when donning his new armored suit and gained the upper hand against his high-born Atlantean opponent when he began employing his Atlantean steel blades for an extended period of time, although it must be noted that Aquaman also had to protect civilians before ultimately being tossed down a cliff but still leaving Aquaman grievously wounded. Black manta has a fighting style of kickboxing, karate, jiu-jitsu and underwater combat.
    • Master Armed Combatant: Black Manta is exceptionally skilled with weapons, such as swords and knifes. Often preferring to use his father's knife in hand to hand combat.
      • Arthur vs Black Manta

        Black Manta dueling with Aquaman

        Sword Mastery: Black Manta is an extremely skilled swordsman since even before he donned the armor, Aquaman was only saved from a fatal stab from Manta by his Atlantean durability. After gaining Atlantean steel blades, Black Manta successfully managed to land severe wounds on Aquaman with his new weapons.
      • Knife Mastery: Black Manta is highly skilled a using a knife in combat. This was seen when he stabbed Aquaman in the shoulder before the latter could react. This skill even extends to knife throwing. This is seen when he threw his knife at a picture of Aquaman while sitting down and using one eye.
      • Trident Mastery: He proved to be a deadly wielder of the Black Trident, capable of using the two halves simultaneously as melee weapons and could go toe to toe with the Trident of Atlan in single combat. He could outpace both Orm Marius and Arthur Curry in a single fight using the Trident.
  • Aquaman - Black Manta with mercs (3)

    Kane testing out Atlantean weapons

    Master Marksman: Black Manta is an excellent marksman, being highly skilled with firearms, as seen when he shot Aquaman multiple times during their first encounter, though the shots didn't affect him. His marksmanship extending even to accurately shooting his wrist-mounted harpoon into Aquaman's back. He can also accurately shoot his helmet's optic blasts at any target. He is also a proficient knife thrower.


  • Black Manta

    Kane wearing his Black Manta suit

    Black Manta suit: David Kane, with the help of Orm Marius, created a specialized armored suit that allows him to operate underwater.[1] The armored suit is outfitted with Atlantean technology, giving it energy projection abilities, as well as facilitating use against immense pressures in deep ocean waters. The suit possesses a distinctive manta-shaped helmet with two large eyes which fire optic blasts (powerful enough to injure Atlanteans) and is connected to an oxygen system that allows Manta to breathe underwater indefinitely. The suit also has a rocket jetpack system that enables him to fly, as well as an Atlantean steel blade within a forearm. The suit was later repaired and modified into a newer, slimmer wetsuit like variation capable of withstanding the pressure of the ocean depths.
    • Retractable blade gauntlet: David wore a retractable blade gauntlet on his left arm made out of a man-made metal during his mission with his father for close quarter combat purposes. He implemented this weapon into his Black Manta suit, replacing the standard blade with one made out of Atlantean steel, which can pierce Aquaman's skin.
  • Short sword: David used a short sword made out of man-made steel during missions with his father for close quarter combat, though this was broken by Aquaman during their first fight. When he obtained equipment to make his Black Manta suit from Orm, he gained a short sword made out of Atlantean steel, which can pierce Aquaman's flesh.
"I never draw this blade unless it’s gonna taste blood. Pray I don’t show it to you again."
―Black Manta to Stephen Shin[src]
  • Black Manta brandishing his knife

    Black Manta wielding his grandfather's knife

    Manta Knife: He got this knife from his father, who, in turn, got it from his father. As it was able to harm Aquaman, it probably wasn't forged by humans.
  • Black Trident Trailer

    Black Manta wielding the Trident

    Black Trident: Finding the weapon on the ocean floor beneath Antarctica, when wielded he is possessed by the undead spirit of Kordax. Granting him enhanced abilities and hidden knowledge of ancient Atlantean technology. With this weapon he was more than capable of killing Aquaman.

Former equipment[]

  • F-88A1C Austeyr carbine: David used this assault rifle during his submarine invasion. He used it against Aquaman during their first encounter, but to no avail.
  • Hydro-pulse rifle:







  • In the comics, originally Black Manta began as an autistic young boy who grew to hate the sea and Aquaman (who he saw as its representative). The boy was determined to become its master and took the name Black Manta after being tortured and experimented on in a mental institution. He later murders Aquaman and Mera's child; Arthur Curry, Jr. In the New 52, David Hyde was a mercenary who was contacted by Stephen Shin to procure a sample of Arthur Curry's blood to prove that he was an Atlantean. However, Thomas Curry came to Arthur's defense which resulted in his fatal heart attack. On the day of Thomas Curry's funeral, Aquaman stormed the boat belonging to the Hydes and murdered David's father, assuming that he was the killer. Swearing revenge, Hyde created a specialized suit that allowed him to survive underwater to combat his foe and dubbed himself Black Manta. David Hyde was later revealed to be the father of Jackson Hyde, the Titan known as Aqualad.
  • Black Manta is one of the DCEU characters who appears as a player skin in Fortnite.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • The planned storyboards for the sequels to Zack Snyder's Justice League reveal that Manta was originally meant to have been captured and imprisoned in the Atacama Dessert alongside Orm by the end of the first Aquaman film. The two would then be released by Lex Luthor during the events of the first Justice League sequel. They would recruit as part of Luthor's league in order to conduct a global operation to strike at the members of the Justice League. Manta and Orm would be ultimately successful in killing Arthur during his coronation ceremony, thus helping usher in the Knightmare timeline that would be further explored in the next sequel.
  • Kofi Yiadom and Daniel Graham were stunt doubles for Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the role of Black Manta.
  • Michael Jai White and Michael K. Williams were both considered for the role of Black Manta.
  • James Gunn considered having Yahya Abdul-Mateen II reprise his role as Black Manta as part of the lineup of Task Force X in The Suicide Squad; however, Gunn believed Manta's power set wasn't useful to his story.[5]
  • When James Wan was asked by a fan, he revealed that Black Manta was originally planned to appear with a leading role in the Aquaman spin-off film The Trench; however, the film did not advance production and the script was scrapped. According to Wan, “the canceled Trench spin-off movie was really going to be a secret Black Manta movie”.[6]


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