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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Black Manta from the DC Extended Universe film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Black Manta.

I'll show you the same mercy you showed my father. And gut you like the fish you are!
~ Black Manta expressing his hatred to Aquaman.

David Kane, better known as Black Manta, is the secondary antagonist of the 2018 superhero film Aquaman, the sixth installment of the DC Extended Universe, and will return in some capacity in its upcoming 2023 sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

He is a ruthless treasure hunter and a high-seas mercenary with a flair for creating deadly technological innovations who came into conflict with Aquaman after the latter refuses to aid him in saving his father Jesse Kane during one of the assaults they committed.

He was portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who also played Doctor Manhattan in the Watchmen HBO series.

Biography

David Kane was a pirate just like his father, Jesse Kane, who helped him steal a military stealth sub. At some point, they were hired by King Orm Marius to take over a Russian nuclear submarine to help unite the kingdoms of Atlantis and declare war on the surface world, but they are foiled by Aquaman. After a brief battle, Aquaman deflects a rocket from Jesse, which caused a torpedo to topple over, 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 was forced to flee and started to bear a deep grudge against Aquaman.

David later targets Atlantis at the behest of Orm, who uses the attack as an excuse to declare war on the surface, which he was eventually paid for, but David instead wants weapons to kill Aquaman. Orm later provides David with a high-tech prototype suit of Atlantean armor and plasma rifle, which David uses and modifies them into a high-tech suit. He also gains a squad of elite Men-of-War soldiers.

Now calling himself "Black Manta", Manta confronts Arthur and Mera in Sicily, Italy, with Murk and elite Men-of-War soldiers. Manta mostly manages to match and even dominate Arthur as Arthur not only has to contend with his new-found Atlantean weapons and superhuman armor but also has to protect the civilians. However, in the end, Manta was ultimately overpowered by Arthur's combat prowess and own tremendous superhuman physical abilities, as he has slammed away several feet with enough force to damage his jetpack after just having been stabbed by Black Manta's Atlantean blades and Aquaman proceeded to throw a pair of chained balls at him, successfully heavily damaging his armor by the reflection of his blast and the subsequent fall. In the mid-credits scene, Manta is rescued by Dr. Stephen Shin, a scientist obsessed with finding Atlantis, and agrees to lead Shin there in exchange for his help in his revenge on Aquaman.

Personality

As a pirate, David Kane is a ruthless individual who does not hesitate to kill those who stand in his way. Loving fighting, he is ready to fight whatever enemy even if said enemy is stronger, as seen with Aquaman. Initially obsessed with treasure like a typical pirate, David conspired with King Orm and helped him to declare war with the surface as long as he was paid, showing he was greedy. He makes no reservations about his profession and was perfectly aware what he does is not moralistic by any means. Despite his cold nature, however, David greatly appreciates his family lineage, as he immediately cherished his grandfather's knife after hearing about it and was protective of his father Jesse Kane. When the latter was trapped by a torpedo, David desperately begged his nemesis Aquaman to save him and initially refused to leave his father behind, trying to save him. Because of Aquaman's refusal and his father's death, David became vengeful and lived only to kill Aquaman to get revenge of his father.

David is pragmatic, ready to continue working with Orm despite not caring about the Atlanteans, as he knew he would get powerful weapons from them. He later agreed to work with Doctor Stephen Shin knowing his knowledge would help him find Aquaman and get more powerful equipments.

Upon becoming Black Manta, David became more bloodthirsty and heartless than he was before, being completely dedicated to murdering Aquaman at all costs and not caring if other humans die in the process. Black Manta was brave, 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. One taunt he adressed to him was directly from Lovecraft, proving he is somewhat sophisticated.

Relationships

Family

Allies

  • Ocean Master - Employer and Benefactor
  • Men-of-War
  • Stephen Shin - Savior and Right-Hand Man

Enemies

  • Russian Captain † - Victim
  • Aquaman - Archenemy, Attempted Killer, and Attempted Victim
  • Mera

Quotes

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 killing the Russian Captain.
I waited a long time for this.
~ Black Manta first meeting Aquaman.
His death shall be my reward.
~ Black Manta sets his sight on Aquaman.
Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men.
~ Manta quoting H.P. Lovecraft.
Aquaman: You're the guy from the sub.
Black Manta: That's right! But now I have Atlantean steel. Call me, Black Manta.
~ Manta introducing himself to Aquaman.
You can't run. You owe me blood!
~ Black Manta to Aquaman

Gallery

Images

Videos

Trivia

  • In the comics, Black Manta was the primary archenemy to Aquaman and a member of Lex Luthor's supervillain teams. Unlike this version, however, he has no redeeming traits at all.
  • Michael Jai White and Michael K. Williams were both considered for the role before Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was cast.
  • James Wan revealed that Black Manta was planned to be the main protagonist in the cancelled film, The Trench.
  • James Gunn revealed that Black Manta was originally considered to be featured in The Suicide Squad as part of the team's lineup but later opted out of the idea, feeling his power set wouldn't be useful to his story.

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