Just released today (and finishing up my backlog of SLoSH reviews) comes the main set Rare figure Black Manta. Black Manta will also be featured in the Legion of Doom Fast Forces. Black Manta is one of Aquaman’s main rivals and first appeared in 1967 (Aquaman #35) though his character wasn’t fleshed out until the early ’90’s when he was finally given an origin story. Black Manta’s appearance hasn’t really changed all that much over the years. The only time his costume appears to change is when he’s animated (such as Justice League Unlimited, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Flashpoint) though this rendition of the character appears to be from his most recent appearance in New 52 Aquaman. Black Manta was one of the first villains to get the clix treatment back in 2002’s Hypertime. He has since been remade in 08’s Arkham Asylum.
Black Manta is simple and menacing looking holding a pair of knives with a splash of waves at his ankles. It’s hard to top Arkham Asylum’s sculpt of him wielding a trident and ray gun while riding a shark (that has a frickin’ torpedo attached to it’s head) but this one is still better than his first clix appearance. He’s not doing much but the sculpted muscles enforce the idea of his suit granting him super strength and the glowing red eyes are rather sinister.
The main set Black Manta is 97pts with 6 clicks of health. He has the Swimmer Movement Symbol, Indomitable and a 5 Range with 2 targets. He has the Injustice League and Legion of Doom Keywords with the Calculator Team Ability that allows him to copy another (copy-able) Team Ability. He has a trait Technology and Patience, which allows him to use the carry ability and lines drawn to him that cross water terrain are blocked (this is the kind of figure you want to play on the Pacific Ocean map from Fear Itself)
Black Manta’s dial is a rainbow of abilities, though all of them are standard powers which helps keep things simple. He starts off with 9 Movement with Sidestep, 11 Attack with Penetrating/Psychic Blast, 17 Defense with Toughness and 3 Damage with no power. This is a great opening click. He can use the Sidestep to reposition himself as needed then Penetrating/Psychic Blast for 3 Damage which can cripple a lot of characters that rely heavily on their Damage Reducers. He’s got a good Defense value which should help him amoungst the amount of 11 Attacks that seem to be standard these days (not to mention the bonuses given from resources)
On his second click his Movement stays at 9 and he gains Running Shot, his Attack goes down to 10 but he retains Penetrating/Psychic Blast which works nicely in conjunction with his Running Shot. His Defense drops to a 16 (these days 16 seems like a danger point on Defense considering how high a lot of attack values are now) and he keeps his Toughness while his Damage goes down to a 2. On click 3 we see his power set change to more of a close combat fighter. His Movement drops to an 8 with Charge, his Attack stays at 10 and he trades off for Blades/Claws/Fangs, his Defense goes back up to 17 with Close Combat Reflexes (which will give you a 19 Defense when you get in your opponent’s face) and his Damage stays at a 2 while gaining Close Combat Expert. Unfortunately CCE can’t be combined with Charge but given the fact that he’s Indomitable you can Charge in with Blades/Claws/Fangs (his 2 Damage makes it ideal to choose that route for damage which gives you a 2 in 3 chance of dealing more damage) Now that you’re based you have a 19 Defense to keep you from being attacked and the next turn you can use his Close Combat Expert for a potential of 4 Damage. This click repeats itself with only his Defense dropping (to a 16 which is still a hefty 18 at Close Combat) Click 5 his power set changes yet again. He has 8 Movement with Running Shot, 9 Attack with Incapacitate, 17 Defense with Close Combat Reflexes and 2 Damage with Ranged Combat Expert. With this power set is seems like that Close Combat Reflexes should be Energy Shield/Deflection but I suppose that doesn’t really work well with his power suit. You’re given the option much like his previous click of using either Running Shot or Ranged Combat Expert. With his 5 Range it really depends on how far away your opponent is as ideally you’d like to be using that Ranged Combat Expert. His final click is very similar to the last. He trades off that Running Shot for a return of Sidestep with an 8 Movement, his Attack stays at 9 with Incapacitate, his Defense goes down to 16 but he keeps Close Combat Expert and his Damage finishes off with a 3 while keeping Ranged Combat Expert. If you’re not worried about his 9 Attack you can do 5 Damage on that last click and if you are, you can up his Attack to a potential 11 since 3 is actually a nice amount of damage to be dealing.
Black Manta isn’t your traditional beat stick character but he has a lot of damage potential and at a decent cost. Paired up with some other Injustice League or Legion of Doom characters he could fit nicely into the 300pt scene. I like that he always seems to have an answer, either with a move and attack power or a way to up his damage. He’s rather versatile no matter the situation.