Image © DC Comics, Inc.
Black Manta has never interested me much as a foil for Aquaman or as a character. And I always thought the helmet looked silly. Writer Geoff Johns made him more interesting to me in his AQUAMAN issues, but not a lot, so I thought I’d have a look at this one-off to see if it would change my opinion. Co-plotted by Johns, it’s written by Tony Bedard, who does a good enough job with the task given him, but this issue turns out to be mostly a setup for another crossover event: “Villains United,” which I have no interest in following. We see recaps of Manta’s early past, and he reiterates the reason he has a vendetta against Aquaman, but it’s essentially the same material seen in Aquaman. He comes off here as more of a pawn in a larger game than anything. The art by Claude St. Aubin is quite good: clear and clean storytelling, fine action scenes, and overall a very professional job.
If you’re following “Villains United,” this is for you. I’m not, so I can’t recommend it.