David Hyde (Prime Earth)

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You want to bring the land and sea together? You raise this building to your own vain ambition? You're deluded. The world is afraid of you...and it should be. You will never be whole, Arthur Curry. Never. I have come to end the fear. Black Manta

Black Manta, real name David Hyde, is an enemy to Aquaman and The Others. He has been on many super-villains teams such as the Legion of Doom the Injustice League and the Secret Society of Super-Villains.


Early Life

As a young adult, David Hyde lived with his father, Jesse Hyde, on a houseboat, earning some reputation as a diver and a treasure hunter. His father had gotten divorced with his mother and she moved away while Jesse and David went exploring. He and his father sought the Black Pearl which would allow the user to possess Hydrokinetic abilities. He began his search in the Bermuda Triangle where he discovered the lost Atlantean kingdom of Xebel. There he seduced a woman named Lucia who would adopt his surname and become 'Lucia Hyde', wanting the map to the Pearl. However she smelt out his evil intention so made a proxy map. Because of this David wasn't able to find the Pearl until much later.[3]

He was contracted by Doctor Stephen Shin to procure a sample of Arthur Curry's blood to prove that the young man was an Atlantean. During the encounter, Arthur's father, Thomas, came to his son's defense and suffered a heart attack. Thomas died three days later, and Arthur swore revenge. On the day of Thomas' funeral, Arthur stormed the boat belonging to the man he deemed responsible for his father's death. In the rain and darkness, Arthur murdered Hyde's father, on the assumption that he was the killer. Out of vengeance, Hyde crafted weapons and armor, and went hunting. When the Atlantean became a publicly-known hero as Aquaman, David became Black Manta.[4]

Manta would come into conflict with Arthur and his team the The Others many times. The Others wanted to find and safeguard the Seven Relics of Atlantis- powerful artifacts forged by the first king of Atlantis Atlan.[5] Manta attempted to stop the team at every turn but they were too strong as a unified force. Eventually the Others found the artefacts and split up across the globe, each member taking one artefact with them except for the seventh relic that was never found.[5] Aquaman would later go on to fall in love with the princess of Xebel Mera and co-found the Justice League, both aspects of Arthur's life that Hyde wanted to rip away from him.

The Scepter

Manta was contracted by an atlantean named Vulko to retrieve the Scepter of the first king of Atlantis, knowing he would need the atlantean artefacts to find the seventh he went after the Others to retrieve their relics.

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Manta facing Arthur in Heidelberg
Manta tracked down the Others member Kahina the Seer and killed her, taking her relic the Seal of Clarity which allowed the user to translate any text.[6] He then traveled to Heidelberg in Germany where another ex-member of the Others- the Prisoner-Of-War hid, he guarded the Manacles of Force which could generate a powerful force field. Prisoner-Of-War was able to escape onto the streets of Heidelberg when Aquaman and Others member Ya'Wara teleported into the fight saving the Prisoner.[7] Manta fought Aquaman to a stand still but he saw he was outmatched by his three opponents and so Manta quickly grabbed Ya'Wara's relic the Globe of Transportation and used it to teleport away from the scene.[6]

He transported to Stephen Shin's home where he attacked Mera who was there to protect the doctor. Catching her off guard Manta was able to defeat Mera and take Stephen Shin hostage. He then travelled with Shin and his two Artefacts to the island where the relics were found and using the two in conjunction, Manta was able to unlock a secret passage and retrieve the Scepter that had sunk Atlantis.[8] Aquaman, Mera and the remaining Others ambushed Manta and his men and Manta was able to kill the guardian of the Atlantean Helmet Vostok-X.[9] Manta escaped the island using the Globe of Transportation and travelled to the meeting point where he handed over the scepter to Vulko's men. Aquaman and the Others once again ambushed Manta and this time Arthur defeated him for good, however Vulko's men were able to escape with the scepter.[10] Manta was sent to Belle Reve prison where Amanda Waller attempted to recruit him into the Suicide Squad but he declined.[11]

Saving the World

When the Crime Syndicate, an evil version of the Justice League from a different universe, came to Earth through Pandora's Box all prison systems were opened allowing the criminals to escape. King Shark gave Manta a silver coin that the Syndicate was giving out saying that they were being given out to the world's super-villains. The coin told Manta to go to the destroyed Justice League headquarters.[12] There, the Crime Syndicate declared they had killed the Justice League, displaying proof in the form of their weapons, including Aquaman's Trident. Black Manta claimed the Trident but left the gathering, not seeking to join the Society of Super-Villains, going to the grave of his father instead. But when Ultraman, the evil Superman, moved the moon to block the sun, it cause a tidal wave that swept open his father's grave. This angered Black Manta who swore revenge on the Crime Syndicate.[12]

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The Injustice League
After witnessing Black Adam lose in a fight with Ultraman Hyde retrieved his body from the ocean, and met up with Lex Luthor, the Kryptonian clone Bizarro, and Captain Cold who also wanted the Syndicate gone for their own reasons.[13] Lex Luthor realizes that with the help of his Kyptonian clone, Black Adam, Black Manta, and Captain Cold, he may be able to stop the Crime Syndicate. They travelled to Wayne Enterprises to stockpile on technology but were met with Catwoman and Batman who had seemingly survived the death of the Justice League. Before the two forces could fight the Secret Society arrived.[14] The Evil Green Lantern Power Ring attacked the heroes but was killed by the newly arrived Sinestro, who with Deathtroke, Batman and Catwoman joined the team.[15] The team then assaulted the Crime Syndicate at the downed Watchtower, where Black Manta killed The Outsider, the leader of the society, and set the Syndicate's greatest enemy Mazahs, the Shazam, free.[16]

Mazahs slaughtered a majority of the Syndicate and took their powers including Johnny Quick, Rhonda Pineda (Earth 3) and Deathstorm. The team then had to kill Mazahs after he tried to take their powers as well. The Justice League were then able to return as they had been trapped in the Firestorm's Energy Matrix by Deathstorm and not actually killed. The remaining Syndicate members were captured and Black Manta returned the trident to Aquaman saying he was glad he wasn't dead.[17]

New Suicide Squad

Despite having previously refused Waller's offer to join Task Force X, Black Manta eventually volunteered to become a member of the squad; Hyde believed that Aquaman had died and therefore had nothing left to live for. Though Aquaman was revealed to actually be alive, Manta stayed with his decision because he had nothing better to do.[18]

On a team with Harley Quinn, Deathstroke, the Joker's Daughter, and Deadshot, the Squad went on a covert mission to Russia, though their cover was blown by the Rocket Red Brigade.[19] Manta was temporarily put in charge of the team to rescue Deadshot [20] when Deathstroke defected to the Russians. Ultimately successful, Manta and the Squad returned stateside [21]

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Manta on the new Suicide Squad
For the team's second mission, the roster was revamped and sent to China to infiltrate a research facility trying to make meta-humans.[22] After blowing the compound, the team was pursued by one of the metas and the Chinese military.[23] Upon returning to Belle Reve, Manta expressed that he wanted to leave the squad due to the lack of organization. Though technically he was an independent contractor rather than a prisoner, Waller refused to let Manta leave, which infuriated him. [24]

Manta's third mission with the Squad was to infiltrate a League of Assassins splinter group known simply as the League, who were using American super-villain weapons to massacre people in the Middle East. [25] Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Manta went undercover within the League, though Hyde was forced to knock Boomerang out when he almost blew their cover saving children[26]

David slowly found himself believing that the League's cause was a righteous one due to them wanting to make the world a better place, and purposefully ratted Deadshot and himself as spies for the Suicide Squad.[27] However, his partnership with the League wasn't meant to last, and Manta escaped with the Suicide Squad as the compound was destroyed by bombs.[28]

Betraying the Squad

After the destruction of the League, Manta was taken out of active duty by Vic Sage, Waller's boss. Sage also placed Waller on the Squad as an active member for her subterfuge.[29] Manta, still holding a grudge against Waller for refusing to let him leave, allied himself with Sage to take Waller down however possible.[30]

Sage directed Manta to break out of Belle Reve and leak information on Task Force X to the public, essentially shutting down the team and Waller. When Sage learnt the conversation was overheard by the assistant warden, Sage shot her and gave the gun to Manta. Waller, however, intercepted the plan and tried to have Sage and Hyde arrested by the F.B.I.. In retaliation, Sage released all of the prisoners from their cells within Belle Reve, hoping to escape in the confusion.

During the breakout, the Suicide Squad arrived to defend Waller and oppose their former teammate Black Manta. Though Manta defeated most of them by himself, Deadshot shot in the wrist, allowing Captain Boomerang to get the upper hand on him and defeat him. Manta was returned to his cell, now charged as an actual criminal, and re-integrated on the Squad as a criminal member.[31]

Manta occasionally did missions for the Suicide Squad, again with a new roster, until he was eventually released.


Now free of Belle Reve, Black Manta planned to destroy Aquaman once and for all, starting with his beloved, Mera, and Spindrift Station, an embassy for peace between Atlantis and the surface world.[32]

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Black Manta terrorizing Aquaman
Posing as a reporter, Black Manta infiltrates Spindrift Station. Claiming to be sick after sampling Atlantean food, he sneaks off and begins to plant explosives around the station.[33] He is discovered in the act by a guard, forcing Black Manta to kill him and reveal his presence. He triggers the charges, damaging Spindrift Station and flooding areas.[34] As Aquaman searches for the saboteur, Black Manta uses the distraction to sneak up on Mera and shoot her with an electrified harpoon. Aquaman arrives and the pair fight; Aquaman implores Black Manta to give up on their feud, but Black Manta refuses as he wants to destroy everything Aquaman stands for. Eventually, Aquaman gains the upper hand, but unexpectedly turns his Trident on himself and offers Black Manta the chance to kill him. However, Aquaman tells Black Manta that killing him will never satisfy him. Black Manta sees the truth and surrenders. Aquaman uses the moment to apologize for killing his father.[35]

While being transported to prison, the convoy carrying Black Manta is attacked by a group called N.E.M.O. who seek to recruit him. Impressed by Black Manta's assault on Spindrift Station, the N.E.M.O. representative Black Jack explains that the group also hates Aquaman and Atlanteans as they are essentially the sea illuminati and Atlantis has gotten in their way many time before.[36] Taken to meet N.E.M.O.'s leader, the Fisher King, Black Manta listens to their plans and offer.[37] Believing that the group is thinking too small, and not content to be a servant, Black Manta kills the Fisher King and asserts himself as the new leader of N.E.M.O.[38]


N.E.M.O. had previously sunken a U.S. battleship and pinned it on Atlantis, hoping to cause a war between Atlantis and the surface that would destroy the underwater nation. Manta thought that a more direct approach was required so that Arthur wouldn't discover N.E.M.O.'s existence so unleashed the Shaggy Man, a powerful creature created by mad scientist Professor Anthony Ivo, on Arthur's home town Amnesty Bay hoping to keep his mind off the investigation.[39].

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Manta near victorious
Arthur was able to stop the Shaggy Man but was badly beaten by the terrifying creature, this effected Manta's plan to destroy Atlantis as Arthur was seen as a hero once again.[40] Manta decided to bring the timetable forward so had his men equipped with Atlantean armour and weaponry openly invade several U.S. cities. The N.E.M.O. attacks prompted the American government to declare war on Atlantis who they believed responsible.[41]

Manta commanded a N.E.M.O. sub to attack Atlantis and kill everything in its pass, hoping to build hate for the Americans among Atlantis.[42] Aquaman ripped through the submarine and captured the captain and his crew forcing Manta to remotely detonate coral bombs in their heads so they couldn't reveal N.E.M.O.'s existence to the world. Unfortunately Aquaman was able to track the signal used his telepathy to its source where he found Manta.[43] Manta and Black Jack attacked Arthur but were both defeated so Manta blew up the boat they were on, faking his and Black Jack's deaths. With the new evidence Arthur was able to cease hostilities between Atlantis and the surface world foiling Manta's ploy.[44]

The Black Pearl

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The Teen Titans attempt to stop Manta
After his assumed death Manta resurfaces when his subordinate King Shark is defeated by the Teen Titans. Shark tells him of an unknown teen who defeated him with Hydrokinetic abilities. Manta investigated this boy and deduced him to be his son. The boy named Jackson Hyde was birthed from Lucia Hyde and he had the real map to the Black Pearl that he so desperately craved.[45]

Discovering Lucia's location, Manta assaulted her hoping to draw Jackson out, when Jackson sprung to her defense Manta kidnapped Jackson. He used the map in his son's possession to find the location of the Black Pearl.[3] Manta and Jackson fought off the creatures guarding it and claimed the Pearl. However the other members of the Teen Titans showed up and attempted to defeat Manta, with his new hydrokinetic abilities Manta easily crushed the Titans but was defeated by Jackson when he electrocuted Manta to near death. After Manta's defeat his son Jackson took on the role of Aqualad[46]

Promises of the Dark

Black Manta wouldn't be seen again for some time until the events of the Dark Multiverse's invasion of the light. He, along with a few other villains of the positive multiverse, were approached by the dark god; Barbatos and his legion of batmen with the allure of fulfilling his greatest desire.

As Aquaman and Deathstroke made their way to the planets core in search of Nth Metal, they were ambushed by David. Flanked by Dark Knights The Drowned, Red Death and Murder Machine; Manta revealed that his deal with the dark would make him ruler of a cold and black water world where he would lord over Arthur's people with an iron hand.[47]

Legion of Doom/Drowned Earth

Manta was one of the villains selected by Lex Luthor to be part of his Legion of Doom, a team created to find and harness the seven forces, energies hidden by the Source Wall and now once again free, which were the key to unlock the powerful Totality.[48] After the Legion lost the Totality to the Justice League, even if Sinestro and Grodd took hold of two of the forces, Manta and Cheetah teamed together, armed with the third force found by Lex, the Tear of Extinction. With that power, they had the task of killing Poseidon, so that they could free the Triumvirate of Sea Gods and unleash their power upon Earth.[49]

Manta made a pact with the Triumvirate: their freedom and Poseidon's death, in exchange of Manta's nemesis own powers. The Triumvirate were loyal to their words, as they captured Aquaman and took away his connection with the Life Force, which they gave to Manta. Possessing the power of Aquaman, Black Manta now ruled the oceans on Earth, controlling all the humans transformed into creature of the sea by the water polluted from the Space Kraken, a beast under control of the alien god Drogue.[50]

David then discovered that Mera was trying to reach the Tomb of Arion to steal the Tear herself, as Ocean Master informed her that the substance could kill the Triumvirate. Mera could not know that the Tear was not there anymore, but was instead on Manta's weapons and Cheetah's claws.[51] Reaching her inside the Tomb, David was displeased to find out that some of the deadly Tear was still inside old king Arion's bones: Mera was able to take it, and start a counter against the Triumvirate, which now was scared and called for retreat.

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The Drowning of Aquaman!
Bursting with hate, Manta convinced his allies to release upon Earth a terrible creature, the Death Kraken. This creature was a different version of the Kraken which poisoned Earth's waters, and Drogue could barely control it. Its power was death itself upon contact.[52] As the creature approached Earth, a returned Aquaman, helped by the League, tried to contain him. Aquaman then was successful in pleading with the Triumvirate, convincing them to fight for Life and not Death once again, like they did before. Seeing the tides turning, Lex called Manta to order retreat, but David refused, too blind to see. He only wanted to finally dominate those seas which took his father from him.

Using his Tear-infused knives, Manta killed Drogue and Gall, and injured Tyyde. Then, he tried to take control of the Death Kraken, but as he was not Drogue, he lost control of the beast, which now was ready to condemn all life on Earth, including David's. Manta called Lex for help, but he was denied: after refusing Lex's order, he was not considered a member of the Legion anymore. Tydde then gave to Aquaman back his connection to the Life Force, who was stripped from Manta. Aquaman sacrificed himself to save Earth, killing the Death Kraken thanks to the power of the Life Force. Manta, saved from death as well, disappeared.[53]

Powers and Abilities



  • Aviation: Black Manta can pilot a helicopter. He flew a helicopter during his escape from Belle Reve after the Crime Syndicate broke all of the prison's occupants out of their cells.[12]
  • Disguise[32]
  • Archaeology[47]
  • Genius Level Intellect
    • Gadgetry
    • Investigation: Manta is the greatest treasure hunter to ever live, he has investigated many ancient myths of treasure and found their source.[19]
    • Leadership: Mr. Hyde is a taciturn headman, with an incredulous amount of guile and charisma. Boasting an army of trained mercenaries who follow his orders to the letter, both human and atlantean.[4] And proved just as capable of subsuming the whole of the age old international cabal known as the Nautical Enforcement of Macrocosmic Order to his will with relative ease.[38] He has also led the Suicide Squad on multiple occasions.[20]
    • Seduction: Black Manta was able to seduce Xebelian Lucia into helping him with his quest for the Black Pearl.[3]
    • Tactical Analysis: Manta proves to be an adept strategist and directional coordinator having a cunning, tactical mind on par with a great many of Earth's greatest intellects.
    • Mechanical Engineering: Hyde was able to make his suit, which is considered a technological marvel.
    • Tracking: Manta was able to track down members of the Others- some of which had been in hiding for years.[6][5]
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Black Manta was trained to fight by his father from an early age. He's honed his skill over the years fighting Aquaman. He is capable of defeating multiple opponents with or without his suit.[39] He was able to easily beat Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn and Deadshot in one-on-three combat, even though all three were accomplished fighters.[31]
  • Intimidation: Black Manta rules N.E.M.O. largely through fear.[39]
  • Master Swimmer: Black Manta is highly skilled at swimming. Deathstroke stated that he "cuts through water like a torpedo".[54]
  • Seamanship: Manta can pilot a submarine.[45]
  • Weaponry: Black Manta has a large arsenal of both underwater and above water weaponry. He's even used Aquaman's trident with proficiency as well as the Dead King's Scepter. He can cut a man's throat with a coin.[12]
    • Demolitions: Manta was able to destroy Spindrift Station with coordinated explosions.[32]
    • Marksmanship: Manta is highly accurate with rifles and other ballistic weapons, able to mow down dozens of hostiles with just a pair of machine guns.[21] He is also accurate when firing his grappling hooks.[6]
    • Swordsmanship: Manta often uses swords or daggers when combating Aquaman and other enemies.[6]
    • Throwing: Black Manta can throw knives with high accuracy.[53]



  • Black Manta's Armor: Black Manta wears a diving suit that enables him to survive underwater to unknown depths; it insulates him against the cold and protects him from pressure changes. The suit is sealed so completely that it cannot be entered even at the atomic level. It greatly increases his underwater mobility, primarily through the use of some sort of diver propulsion vehicle, and allows him to leap great heights when shooting out of water. It is also effective as a means of camouflage in dark water. He wears a distinctive manta-shaped helmet with two large eyes that allow for infrared and scope vision, as well as powerful optic blasts capable of hurting or killing metahumans. It also protects his head from trauma.
    • Artificial Gills: Manta's helmet connects to an oxygen supply in his back which allows Manta to survive underwater for an unlimited amount of time. His suit is also atomically sealed so that no water can get inside.[16]
    • Enhanced Durability: Black Manta is able to take hits from Aquaman without dying due to his suit.
    • Enhanced Strength: Black Manta is strong enough in his suit to combat Aquaman.
    • Grappling Line: Manta's suit comes with a built in grappling line on his right gauntlet. This grappling line functions in a way similar to the one used by Batman and his allies, as it fires a strong cable that latches onto a surface and winches Manta upwards.[12]
    • Optic Lasers: Manta can fire beams of heat energy out of his eye pieces capable of singeing an Atlantean's skin at maximum power output.[6]
    • Shock Gauntlets: Manta is able to produce an electric shock from his gauntlets powerful enough to stun an atlantean.[8]
  • Seal of Clarity: Manta stole the Seal from Kahina's corpse. It translates any text and was used in conjunction with the Globe of Transportation to unlock Atlan's scepter. When Manta was defeated it was given to the Operative to safe guard until a new guardian could be found. (Formerly)
  • Bone Crown: A relic of power once belonging to Fleet Admiral Drogue, whosoever wears the crown has control over the Space Kraken race born upon the sea gods alien world. But it only worked for it's original wearer.[53]


  • Manta-Sub: Black Manta possesses a small submarine which he usually drives while travelling in the ocean. The submarine is shaped like a Manta and can only fit few people in it.
  • Globe of Transportation: Manta was able to steal the Globe of Transportation from Ya'Wara. The Globe allowed Manta to teleport around the globe at will. However when Manta was defeated Ya'Wara reclaimed the artefact. (Formerly)
  • The Black Manta: The fishing boat that was used by David and his father.[55](Formerly)




  • Black Manta has three long scars across his face from his first battle with Aquaman when he was hit across the face with a fish hook.[4]
  • Manta has a fan base amongst criminals and lesser super-villains, its most notable member being King Shark.[12]
  • Black Manta's ancestry includes ancient Atlantean heritage.[57]
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