Black Manta #1 Review

by Carlos R. on September 08, 2021

Black Manta #1 Cover Featuring Black Manta Swimming surrounded by Manta Rays
Written by: Chuck Brown
Art by: Valentine De Landro
Colors by: Marissa Louise
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics

First off, the covers for this issue? *CHEF’S KISS* Fantastic.

Definitely check them out firsthand when stopping by your shops this week. I don’t think you could go wrong with picking up any, but the design of Sanford Greene’s is so imposing and just all around rad as heck. Francis Manapul also has a connecting variant here that ties into Aquaman: The Becoming.

Black Manta #1 picks up from the short story included in the 80th Anniversary issue of Aquaman with Black Manta on the hunt for a strange, rare metal that’s got the attention of a number of competitors.

I’ll admit Black Manta isn’t a villain that’s always on my radar and that was my mistake, because I’m now realizing how brutal this dude is and how rad of a villain he is. I appreciate that Brown took time in this issue to establish this isn’t a redemption arc for the character, but more of an examination, with Black Manta reflecting his legacy and still remaining so true to his character. Focused on his own goals and rarely wavering in his decisions. Gallous’ higher moral outlook conflicts well with Manta’s and works to have her stand out in her own right rather than as just a member of his crew. We also get a look at new characters in this issue and it’s just enough to showcase their formidability and entice readers further.

De Landro does a wonderful job with the layout of this issue, it reads quick, but never feels like you missed a detail. And the characters are so expressive! Even with Manta’s helmet on, you can just read his thoughts by the way De Landro frames him and Gallous being unwavering stance in their confrontation lends well to the direction of their dispute. The action sequences are done really well, the movements are fluid, and you can see how different these characters are with their fighting styles: Black Manta is direct and ruthless; while Torrid is more relentless and chaotic, fighting tooth and nail for her freedom. As soon as you open this book, you’re engulfed by the beauty of Louise’s colors, the serene greens and blue slowly progressing in to the dark of Manta’s suit and his vibrant red eyes. These colors ebb and flow to an explosive splash page. The color tones help to guide the reader in the differing storylines here, with Manta’s being more vibrant and Devil Ray’s are cooler lending to the mystery behind this character.

This was a fantastic opening issue and I’m looking forward to delving further into Black Manta’s character and seeing all the unrelenting action that’s bound to unfold.

Our Score:


A Look Inside