Comic Book Review – Black Manta #1 (September 2021)

Black Manta #1

Writer Chuck Brown

Artist Valentine De Landro

I have a pull list at a local comic shop in Pittsburgh called Phantom of the Attic and frequent the many other shops in the city, like Eide’s Entertainment and New Dimension Comics. Every once and awhile, I will pre-order some comics I want but don’t need to read right away and have them sent back to my hometown Pottsville. One of the comics I brought back with me after visiting my hometown for Christmas break was Black Manta #1.

I watch Bruce and Stephanie Comics on YouTube to see their comic book speculation and other recommendations and I ordered Black Manta based on their advice. Did you know that this is Black Manta’s first solo title/miniseries? That’s a big deal, in my opinion.

Black Manta boards a ship to plunder a rock from the dreaded Captain Demo. Meanwhile in Metropolis, a group of villains are hired to drive a truck filled with cold hard cash to a drop point. This is a ruse perpetrated by the unnamed leader of the heist. He has tricked Human Flame into transferring his life essence into a box. The man uses Human Flame’s powers to cut through a piece of metal, which looks exactly like the rock Black Manta stole for himself. Once the metal is cut, people around the globe begin to experience headaches. Black Manta is one of the few affected. The issue ends with a woman trapped in the Underworld freed from her prison, looking for a way to escape to Earth.

We have gleaned Black Manta’s history in Geoff Johns run on Aquaman and other writers have subsequently built-up Black Manta as Arthur Curry’s number one Big Bad over the years. My hope with this miniseries is to learn more about Black Manta’s backstory before he became the hard and coldhearted villain he has evolved into after the death of his father.

There is a lot happening in this first issue and I’m curious if we will get all the answers we are looking for over the course of the next few issues. What power does the metallic rock hold and who will get to unleash it first? Who is the woman trapped in the Underworld and how is she connected to the rock? Was she an Atlantean cast out of the throne city for an unspeakable act in the past?

This is a solid setup issue with plot threads that are connected from the start, I just hope this miniseries does a better job weaving them together and not leave anything dangling.