DC Reveals Why Black Manta Is So Much More Powerful in Aquaman 2

Warning: Spoilers for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Special #1




  • Black Manta’s newfound power in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is explained in the tie-in comic. He goes through trials and defeats a rival captain’s crew to prove his worthiness.
  • These trials were designed to show David Kane that he has always been worthy of the Black Manta legacy, giving him a newfound determination and belief in his abilities.
  • The introduction of the Black Trident in the movie may overshadow Black Manta’s individual abilities, but hopefully the focus will remain on his grit and character development.

Enthusiastic Black Manta fans might have observed what seems to be a noticeable increase in David Kane’s power in the upcoming movie Aquaman and the Last Kingdom. As a prelude to the movie, a new DC tie-in comic provides fans with an explanation for the source of Manta’s newfound prowess, one that is unrelated to his Black Trident.

The source of Black Manta’s newfound prowess is unveiled in “Afterimage” by Joey Esposito, Ray-Anthony Height, Enrica Eren Angiolini, and Josh Reed, a story from the movie tie-in one-shot Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Special #1 that spotlights David Kane’s Black Manta. After Kane receives a letter from his late father, the former Black Manta, he’s propelled into a series of trials across the globe, which culminate in him defeating and claiming victory over a rival captain’s crew.

Black Manta Standing Proud

Following this triumph, Kane discovers the true purpose behind the challenges. They were not intended to assess his worthiness as the next Black Manta, but rather to prove to David that he is and always has been worthy of the Black Manta legacy.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled for theatrical release on December 22nd, 2023.

Black Manta’s Dead Father Helps Him Realize His Power

Black Manta Kicks Down a Door

Hence, Aquaman 2 will showcase a stronger Black Manta since David’s trials hone his abilities, enable him to gather a crew, and instill in him a newfound determination and belief that he can defeat Aquaman. The trailers and promotional stills for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom have revealed a version of Black Manta who is significantly more formidable than his previous depiction. David Kane now emerges with an army, cutting-edge technology, and a newfound determination upon the arrival of Lost Kingdom, differing starkly from his earlier presentation in the initial Aquaman film.

Understandably, this new status quo raises legitimate questions regarding Black Manta’s extraordinary transformation from his last appearance of being adrift at sea to his current embodiment of overwhelming power. That said, DC has provided these long-awaited explanations through the recent release of the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom comic prelude. In Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Special #1, Black Manta’s trials exemplify his resourcefulness and unwavering resolve. As a non-meta underdog villain, Black Manta is often appreciated by fans for his resilience, determination, and natural skill.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to be the final DCEU movie before the universe is rebooted by James Gunn and Peter Safran in 2025.

Manta’s Black Trident May Overshadow Other Aspects of His Power

black trident Cropped

However, the introduction of the Black Trident in the upcoming movie will provide him with a significant power boost. Reliance on this new weapon might diminish the character’s depth, erasing the emphasis on David’s innate abilities. Hopefully Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will maintain the focus on Black Manta’s individual grit, allowing his character to shine without being overshadowed by a newfound weapon.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Special #1 is available now from DC Comics.


Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Special 1 Main Cover
  • Writer: Tim Seeley, Joey Esposito, Ethan Sacks
  • Artist: Miguel Mendonca, Ray-Anthony Height, Scot Eaton, Norm Rapmund
  • Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Tony Aviña
  • Letterer: Wes Abbott, Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual
  • Cover Artist: Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson


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