Black Manta #5
Written by Chuck Brown
Art by Valentine de Landro
Colors by Marissa Louise
Letters by Clayton Cowles
The Rundown: Black Manta recovers from an illness, then later has an encounter with Devil Ray.
Devil Ray details his history through narration, including his disillusionment with a once admired rouge. He then details his finding the Orichalcum stone. In Ethiopia, Dr. Mist performs a procedure on both Black Manta and Torrid. He then requests the assistance of Black Manta in aiding members of the Deserter Tribe but is quickly rebuffed. Soon, Devil Ray appears and after a deadly battle, escorts Black Manta somewhere unexpected. He then shares his bold plan and unusual plan.
The Story: There is a lot to unpack in this tale. In the penultimate chapter of this series, Brown creates a provocative exploration of activism, fanaticism, and disenchantment. Devil Ray, for all his violence and angst, is a freedom fighter whose desire to do good turned into acts of evil. He, like many people in today’s society, saw a powerful figure, and followed them thinking their acts would lead to revolution and prosperity. Devil Ray’s actions thereafter evoke the question: How do you achieve enlightenment without acting out in chaos? And how do you create positive change when only armed with the tools and ideology of the oppressor? This series pairs with Aquaman: The Becoming, as they are both lead ins to the upcoming Aquamen. I am excited for the finale, but also for the future of the overall Atlantean story.
The Art: The illustration in this episode continues with the series precedent of using traditional drawings with a newsprint styling. The dark hues and emphasis on character form and expression are connective and appealing. I feel the artwork perfectly complements the story being told.