I remember when I first found out Black Manta was actually...black.I only knew him from SUperfriends reruns. So I was shocked.Later a mentally wrote up a JLU-continuity origin for him in my head. Basically a sympathetic terrorist fightning for his foreign country, that used to be friends with Aquaman.
i dunno, the whole "why do you think they call me BLACK manta?" unmasking always struck me as pretty cheap, and way too revealing that (at the time) the tendency to call every african-american character "black ____" wasn't going to be changing any time soon.on the other hand, if i recall correctly, he killed a certain aqua-toddler in that same issue, which i guess is one way to send a message that you ain't no joke.
Black Manta was particularly badass in the Superfriends episode where the Legion of Doom takes over Gorilla City. He captures Batman and Robin by outwitting them AND the Flash by anticipating his moves. (Didn't Deathstroke later steal that trick for Identity Crisis?) Apache Chief also gets captured singlehandly by the Black Manta.In the rest of the Challenge of the Superfriends I was always impressed by his absolute self-confidence. He one time tells Luthor 'Forget your plans, I'm gonna take out the Superfriends myself' or words to that effect. And the dude never hesitated to take on Superman armed with nothing but a handy laser, a robot voice, and balls of steel.
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