Black Manta is an enemy of Aquaman and the biological father of Aqualad. He was originally an agent of Ocean-Master, but became a member of the Light after Ocean-Master was disgracefully dismissed.
Black Manta is commanding and focused and leads his men with great authority. He has shown to detest any failure or mistake, and chastises his men for any failings. Black Manta can lose his temper if things do not go according to plan. Even though he is a ruthless villain, he has shown a softer side to his son, as he showed Kaldur small moments of mercy. This grew when Aqualad joined him after the death of Tula as he not only let Aqualad lead his forces as field commander but he was ready to let him get closer to the Light, he has also shown he is quite proud of his son's accomplishments and rate of success. He dotes on his son, and was quite willing to risk injury to his troopers when he thought Aqualad was in danger.
Black Manta is an African American male with high cheekbones and black hair that is graying around the temples. He sports a thin ring beard.
Black Manta's suit is characterized by the manta-shaped head with two large, daunting red eyes that also allow him to shoot lasers from; there are small tubes that connect from the back of the head to his shoulders. The hands of his suit are webbed; the suit also sports fins on each of his legs. Hidden in his suit are compartments that allow him to fire missiles.
Once, Black Manta tried to infiltrate Atlantis by genetically engineering his henchmen to become water-breathers. One henchman, Calvin Durham, defected for the love of an Atlantean, Sha'lain'a.
Black Manta attacked Poseidonis with the intention of stealing the sea star that was being kept in the Science Center. To do it, he had his Manta Troopers set explosive charges in all the sectors except the one the science center was stored in. It would distract the royal troops long enough to obtain the starfish.
Kaldur'ahm and Garth saw through Black Manta's plan, and infiltrated the science center. As Black Manta oversaw the extraction of the starfish into the Manta-Sub, they attacked him, cutting the rope that lifted the creature. With his plan in ruins, Black Manta blew up the starfish and escaped. He reported back to the Light, who were not too distraught over the loss of the starfish.
After Aqualad learned that Black Manta was his true father, and Tula died in a mission, he joined Black Manta's forces. Manta took a step back, and appointed his son his field commander.
Black Manta welcomed his son back, and asked him to report on the events that had happened on Malina Island. The Kroloteans were destroyed, but Aquaman and the other heroes survived. He congratulated Kaldur'ahm, and then left for a meeting with the Light. Vandal Savage explained to him that this successful mission was enough reason for them to give Manta Ocean-Master's seat in the Light.
He ordered Kaldur'ahm to destroy the Earth-Mars communication satellite, where Black Manta planted a bomb days prior.
After his son returned, he congratulated him for capturing Lagoon Boy, killing a former team mate, and destroying the satellite. Aqualad told him that the satellite's destruction was not his doing. Black Manta explained that it was a test, to see if he would take false credit, or acknowledge his failure, and that he passed. Black Manta praised Kaldur'ahm, and invited him deeper into the Light's plans.
Though Black Manta was convinced, not everyone in the Light shared his trust. For that to happen, he had a more dangerous mission, capturing Blue Beetle for the partner. After he sent his son away, he saw to Lagoon Boy's transportation to the partner's base.
Blue Beetle was captured, along with Beast Boy and Impulse, and Mount Justice was destroyed. Black Manta congratulated his son on his success, and introduced him to the members of the Light. They agreed that he had done enough to earn their trust.
Black Manta attended a meeting between The Light and Sportsmaster dealing with the repercussions of Artemis's death. During the meeting Sportsmaster tried to assassinate Black Manta when his demand for vengeance was denied. Black Manta was saved due to the intervention of Deathstroke.
Black Manta checked on Kaldur'ahm who remained in a catatonic state after his encounter with Miss Martian. Manta vowed revenge on the Martian and was offered the use of Psimon by Vandal Savage to repair his son's broken mind.
Atlantic Ocean April 9, 1:16 EDT
Black Manta summoned Tigress to Kaldur's quarters and explained to her that Psimon was here to restore Kaldur's mind. He told Tigress he knew how much Kaldur cared for her and that he assured her that he would get revenge on Miss Martian for what she did. Manta then left Tigress with Kaldur and Psimon.
While in his quarters, Manta noticed on a monitor that Psimon was suddenly attacking Tigress and rushed back to Kaldur's quarters. Tigress told Manta she didn't know what happened and speculated that Miss Martian may have left a telepathic virus in Kaldur's mind. Manta concluded any other telepath could face the same problem. When Tigress suggested kidnapping Miss Martian and forcing her to restore Kaldur's mind, Manta agreed but, because he considered Miss Martian dangerous, told Tigress that Deathstroke would accompany her.
Atlantic Ocean April 9, post-8:20 EDT
After Tigress and Deathstroke had captured Miss Martian and she awoke aboard the Manta-Sub, Black Manta told Miss Martian she was to use her telepathic powers to help Kaldur or she would forfeit her life. He advised her that the inhibitor collar Miss Martian wore would be adjusted to allow her use of her telepathic powers, but that Deathstroke would be watching her, aboard the Manta-Flyer out of her telepathic range. He said if Deathstroke suspected Miss Martian was using her powers for anything other than aiding Kaldur, he would trigger a bomb on the collar. Manta then asked Tigress to keep an eye on Miss Martian.
Six hours later, Manta returned to Kaldur's quarters to check on Miss Martian's progress. At first, he believed Miss Martian was stalling, but when Kaldur recognized him, Manta realized she had made progress. He asked to speak privately with Tigress, then told her that, once Kaldur's memories were restored, he planned to kill Miss Martian.
Manta entered Kaldur's quarters, telling Miss Martian his patience had run out and she had 24 hours to cure his son or die. Unknown to him, M'gann had already successfully restored Kaldur's mind; Kaldur was playing possum.
Atlantic Ocean May 27, post-02:06 EDT
Manta was in his quarters when he was alerted to Cheshire infiltrating Kaldur's room. As he rushed out, he was ambushed by Sportsmaster. Sportsmaster knocked out Manta but several Manta Troopers intervened. Sportsmaster took them out with a flashbang discus, but this allowed Black Manta to recover. Tigress came upon the two fighting, with Manta ordering Tigress to take care of Sportsmaster while he saved his son.
Manta arrived outside Kaldur's quarters as his men were setting explosives to blow the locked door. He blasted the explosives immediately. He found Kaldur lodged under the door but was attacked by Cheshire and struck with an electrocuting disc. While Manta was unconscious, Miss Martian telepathically linked Sportsmaster and Cheshire with herself, Tigress and Kaldur to inform them of their plot.
Afterwards, Miss Martian allowed Cheshire to flee and declared she wanted revenge on Black Manta. Kaldur then tackled Miss Martian to prevent her attack, but Miss Martian escaped by phasing out of the room, as Black Manta embraced his son.
Black Manta presented Kaldur before Vandal Savage and the Reach ambassador, telling them Kaldur's mind was restored and that the shock of seeing his father's life in danger was the catalyst that cured him.
Black Manta attended the summit between the Light and the Reach. He was reluctant to remove his helmet at Black Beetle's insistance no masks be worn, but Ra's al Ghul persuaded him to. He also argued with Beetle when Kaldur tried to address the group in response to the Ambassador chastising the Light for allowing the Team access to the Bialyan temple. Savage intervened on Kaldur's behalf. Kaldur explained that they had no reason to see the temple as a threat since the Reach had not shared its importance with them. When the Reach's head scientist reminded the Amabassador that she had argued for them to study the cause of the Scarab's crash further, Manta told her she was right to question her leader, and he and the other Light representatives listed the Reach's failures.
The Ambassador and Black Beetle attempted to remind the humans of their place, but Manta bristled, insisting no agreement made him a slave, and deployed his suit's rocket launcher. Beetle swatted Manta aside, starting a fight which quickly drew in Deathstroke, Tigress and the Reach guards. Kaldur intervened between Black Beetle and Black Manta, reminding everyone they shouldn't allow petty disagreements to come between them, lest they be distracted from their true enemies. Manta willingly stood down while Beetle grudgingly did so.
As the discussion resumed, Ra's al Ghul approached Tigress and pulled away her Glamour Charm, revealing her true identity of Artemis. The Ambassador and Beetle concluded, because Artemis wasn't really dead, that Kaldur was in cahoots with her and duped everyone in the Light, including his father. The Ambassador ordered Beetle to kill Kaldur and Artemis but Manta stepped in front of Beetle. Deathstroke then shot both Kaldur and Artemis in the chest, saying the Light took care of its own. As Manta tended to his dying son, Kaldur declared he had already won, then a dead man's switch fell from his hand.
A holographic message from Aqualad played, in which he revealed that the Reach had thought the Light was working for them but had, in fact, been advancing its own agenda. Both Savage and the Ambassador were angered by this revelation, but when Savage stated that he had possession of the key to the Warworld, Aqualad and Artemis rose to their feet. "Deathstroke" then revealed her true identity as Miss Martian and the rest of the Team arrived.
As battle began, Manta found himself facing off against his son. He could not believe his son had betrayed him. Aqualad said he was conflicted given his father's noble qualities, but as long as Manta embraced evil, Aqualad would stand against him. Saying his son needed discipline, Manta attacked but Aqualad countered his assault. Manta remarked he would teach Kaldur to be ruthless, and Kaldur's response was to use a two-hit combo with a water mace to knock his father unconscious.
Manta-Sub: The Manta-Sub is Black Manta's primary means of transportation. It is a submarine shaped in the form of a giant manta ray.
Manta stings: Manta stings are explosives fashioned in the shape of a manta ray and are used by Black Manta and his squads of henchmen.
Armored suit: Black Manta has an armoured suit with a built-in rocket launcher. His helmet, fashioned like a manta ray, has red lenses that can fire laser blasts.
Black Manta is Aqualad's father,and was aware of that some time before his son found out. He seemed to be extremely disappointed that Aqualad served Aquaman willingly, going as far as calling it a waste. He was glad his son turned on his teammates and joined him after the death of Tula, unaware that he is undercover for Nightwing.
Black Manta has a good opinion of Tigress, based on what Aqualad has told him. He assumes she cares for his son romantically, and as a result trusts her explicitly.
Black Manta is an old enemy of Aquaman, first appearing in the sixties. He was prominently featured in the Death of a Prince arc, which greatly expanded on his character. An African American pirate, he tricked other African Americans (like Cal Durham) into working for him with the promise of a free land.
This is his fourth animated appearance. He first appeared in Filmation's Aquaman Hour of Adventure, then in Challenge of the Super Friends, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The character Devil Ray from Justice League Unlimited was also based on him.