WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Aquaman: Deep Dives #4 by Dave Wielgosz, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rex Lokus, Jose Luis and Wes Abbot, on sale now.
Standing up to foes can be tough, but in Aquaman: Deep Dives #4, Aqualad defeats his greatest nemesis: His own father. Black Manta has been a big villain in the DC Universe for a long time, but now he may have finally met his match with his own son.
In the first story in Aquaman: Deep Dives #4, “Worth,” Aqualad is dealing with a friend turning down the offer to go on a date. He is struggling after a recent breakup and just wants to feel like he belongs. As he walks home, feeling defeated, Electrocutioner ambushes him. The villain hopes to embarrass Manta by beating up his son. However, it doesn’t prove to be that easy.
Aqualad waves off all of the villain’s comment about how Aqualad just wants the love his father never gave him. After Aqualad beats him, Black Manta makes himself known, as he was watching from the skies above and had hired Electrocutioner to test him. After saying how each of them wants nothing to do with one another, Aqualad gets the upper hand. Using his hydrokinesis, Aqualad nearly drowns his father before letting him live because he is a better person.
Defeating Black Manta has always been shown to be a struggle for heroes, because of his advanced technology and brutal fighting style. Aqualad got one over him by smashing the large red eyes in his mask and filling the helmet with water. The eyes are actually how Manta fires off his iconic laser blasts. Electrocutioner actually mentioned early that Aqualad doesn’t have his father’s “big scary eye beams” but Aqualad destroyed them with minimal effort.
Aqualad’s triumph over his father isn’t only physical. This quick defeat is a testament to the person he has become without having his father in his life. Aqualad starts to drown Black Manta, to show him how he has felt for 16 years. He has always felt like he was drowning under everything, but now he’s made a breakthrough. It becomes clear to Aqualad that he is a better person in spite of his father. He was doubting himself in his personal life, but now after confronting his father, he realizes his hero work defines him.
Beating up one of the most infamous villains is a very big deal, and Aqualad does it with ease. Black Manta will think twice before confronting his son again.
In Aquaman: Deep Dives #4, Aqualad has to stand up to his greatest nemesis and come out on top.