Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom has revealed a new look at Arthur Curry’s arch-nemesis’ refurbished costume via Twitter.
The new Black Manta costume was unveiled at the recent Licensing Expo alongside suits for The Flash. Down below are hi-res photos tweeted by a fan. As you can see, the costume appears more form-fitting and comics faithful with a silver helmet.
— HOT97 | HipHopGamer | FURIA (@HipHopGamer) May 25, 2022
Aquaman Villain Expansion and Recap of His Story
Regarding his characterization, his portrayer, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, recently revealed how he wanted to layer this already-complex antagonist.
[I] really wanted to put more personality into the character for us to sort of get to know him in some more private [moments. I wanted] to see [him] struggle with some things, then to see a bit more of his personality and character.
Also, to see what it looks like for him to be in charge of something. So we get to see a little bit of his leadership style, and a little bit more of his personality in this one and he’s back for more, no doubt, in a big way.
Mateen II also commented that he also wants to show more of the character’s wit and trademark characteristics that have earned his fan following over the years.
Lost Kingdom writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, in a recent discussion with a fan online, seems to correlate with Mateen II’s ambitions for Black Manta.
We’re not taking any one particular comic book story and [adapting it], but if you want to know the vibe we’re going for, pick up pretty much any Silver Age story featuring Black Manta.
As fans recall from the previous film, Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, began as one of his father’s mercenary pirates. However, after Curry (Jason Mamoa) disrupted their attack on a Russian submarine and caused his father’s death, Manta swore vengeance. Striking a deal with King Orm (Patrick Wilson), he had obtained a prototype Atlantean battle armor. Manta then reverse-engineered and redesigned the armor in one of the film’s most notable scenes. A point of focus was the trial-and-error conversion of its water-to-energy weapon into his trademark laser-blasting helmet. Although Arthur and Mera (Amber Heard) managed to defeat him in Italy, he had been rescued by disgraced scientist Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park). The after-credit scene ended with them striking a bargain; proof of Atlantis for Shin, and Shin’s help in locating Aquaman to continue his vendetta.
Although created in 1967 by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy, the character’s evolution was lengthy. Initially, a run-of-the-mill villain obsessed with the treasures of Atlantis, writers, and artists added layers of complexity to Black Manta until he achieved arch-nemesis status. His real name remained unrevealed until the early 2000s, but when he removed his helmet in Adventure Comics #452, DC broke a barrier with the revelation that the “Black” in his name was a statement of his ethnicity. An initial origin story revealed that he had been a Baltimore, MD native who had been enslaved and abused on a pirate ship whom Aquaman had failed to notice when nearby. Developing a hatred for the sea and Aquaman by extension, the boy vowed to become its master. A retcon of his origin next made him an autistic boy with a fear of water until experimentation cured him of his phobia, but left him dangerously violent. Regardless of his origins pre-Flashpoint, he had cemented his rivalry with Aquaman with the murder of his infant child, Arthur Jr. His connection to Aquaman was strengthened win Brightest Day with the revelation that he was the illegitimate father of the new Aqualad, Jackson Hyde. However, with the New 52, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis retconned his origin once again. This time, the man known only as David was part of a father-son treasure hunting duo, and had been commissioned by Dr. Shin to find hard information on Arthur Curry. The attempt resulted in Arthur’s father’s murder, for which the then-rebellious Arthur retaliated by tracking down their boat, and accidentally killing David’s father while he was diving. This story was then adapted and revised for the first Aquaman film.
Besides the live-action films, versions of Black Manta have been seen on animated shows like Super Friends, Justice League Unlimited, and more prominently in Young Justice, the latter voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. He also appeared in the full-length animated DCAU films, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the adjoining film Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.
Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom is due to hit theaters on March 23, 2023.