- "You're the guy from the sub."
- "That's right. But now I have Atlantean steel. Call me "Black Manta"."
- —Aquaman and Black Manta[src]
- "This is Atlantean technology, isn't it? Can you tell me how you got this?"
- ―Stephen Shin to David Kane[src]
The Atlantean monarch informed David that human weaponry was useless against Atlanteans, thus he provided the oceanic mercenary with a prototype battlesuit for Atlantean infantry, and an energy cannon that converted water into beams of plasma.
David, a skilled engineer, retrofitted the equipment for his own use, repainting the armor black and installing the plasma cannon into a helmet, allowing him to fire plasma bursts from the helmet's "eyes". He also outfitted his suit with thruster packs, allowing him limited flight capability. David's first helmet design proved to be too small to contain the plasma beams, so he made it bigger. David also installed a miniature harpoon launcher with a grappling line that could also be charged with plasma energy.
Black Manta ambushed Arthur and Mera while they were searching for clues to the Trident of Atlan in Sicily, Italy. The armor's enhanced strength and weaponry allowed Black Manta to overpower Aquaman, using the optical lasers to blast away his enemy. Before Black Manta could finish off Aquaman, however, the suit was damaged by Mera, after which Aquaman threw a pair of chained stone balls directly into the helmet right as Manta was about to fire another plasma blast, causing an explosion that threw Manta off a cliff and heavily damaged the suit.
Found by Dr. Stephen Shin
Sometime later, Dr. Stephen Shin found David Kane stranded on the ocean and took the chance to study the Black Manta suit, which he identified as Atlantean technology. Most of the suit was broken, but the optical lasers were still functional.
Equipment and capabilities
- Rebreather helmet: Black Manta used a specialized rebreather helmet that allowed him to easily transition between different pressurized environments while operating in the seas.
- Wrist blade: In his left bracer, Manta used a retractable steel blade for close range combat. He attempted to use this against Aquaman.
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- Self-contained life support system and environmental protection: The suit is completely sealed for operations underwater, providing its own life support.
- Superhuman strength: Because David modified his diving equipment with the Atlantean armor pieces, it gave him augmented strength to match Aquaman's strength in hand-to-hand combat.
- Superhuman speed: The suit allowed him to fly due to the built in thrusters that David modified from the Plasma Cannon.
- Superhuman durability: The suit was able to protect Kane from punches thrown by Aquaman. It's able to withstand immense water pressure due to it being made out of Atlantean steel.
- Helmet: The suit has a modified helmet similar to ones worn by scuba divers. This is to give his head a certain degree of protection, along with hiding his identity.
- Manta rays: The suit initially came with a hydro-plasma rifle that had enough firepower to blow apart a small reef, by converting water into ionized plasma. David modified it to fit into the eyes of the suit's helmet, now capable of projecting thick beams of fiery red energy. The sheer power of the lasers required the helmet to be made bigger to prevent it from being melted by the lasers.
- Aquatic respiration: The helmet allows Black Manta to survive underwater for an undefined amount of time.
- Flight: The suit possesses a jetpack and numerous thrusters throughout the suit that allow Black Manta to propel himself at high speeds in water, jump immense vertical distances as well as allow him to fly or hover in place.
- Grappling anchor: On the right gauntlet, the suit possesses a grappling line that can anchor and tether the user to the surface fired at.
- Atlantean steel blades: Able to harm even Atlantean Royals, the left gauntlet holds a retractable blade that can be detached and used as a dagger. Another is kept in its sheath for later use.
- Cable hook: The left wrist gauntlet came equipped with a linear fiber cable attached to an Atlantean tipped spear head. Manta had modified this weapon by incorporating an energy conduit through the cable, allowing him to electrify both the mini-lance and its harpoon thread when latched into a target.
- Electrified harpoon cable: A high-velocity harpoon capable of generating enough electricity to stun Aquaman. Black Manta used this to stun Aquaman during their second encounter.