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Comic Legends: Did Aquaman Almost Kill Black Manta In His 1991 Series?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and fourteenth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends.

NOTE: If the CSBG Twitter page hits 11,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow the CSBG Twitter page!

COMIC LEGEND:

Shaun McLaughlin tried to have Aquaman kill Black Manta during the 1991 Aquaman series.

STATUS:

True

In Adventure Comics #452 (by David Michelinie and Jim Aparo), Aquaman and Aqualad were forced to fight against each other while Black Manta held Aquaman's infant son hostage and in the end, Aquababy died...

Aquaman set off to kill Black Manta to avenge his son, but in the next part of the story (in Aquaman #57 by Michelinie and Aparo), Aquaman ultimately decides not to kill him...

However, over a decade later, the two had a rematch in the fifth issue of Shaun McLaughlin's short-lived Aquaman series, as Black Manta interrupts an Aquaman press conference to taunt him over his dead kid...

Aquaman vows that he WILL kill him this time...

And the cover of Aquaman #6 (Kevin Maguire did some stunning covers for this run) suggests that it might actually happen...

But Black Manta survives.

However, in a recent interview with my pal John Trumbull in Back Issue magazine, McLaughlin revealed that originally his intent WAS for Aquaman to kill Black Manta! He explained, "I wanted Manta dead. He was, to my mind, the most successful villain in the DC Universe and I wanted him to pay for killing Arthur, Jr. My idea was then Aquaman would become an outcast and the Justice League would want to track him down because a hero shouldn’t kill.”

Wow, that would have been fascinating, right?

Too bad it didn't happen. Black Manta could have easily been brought back to life by another writer anyways. Seeing a sort of twist on the Trial of the Flash would have been interesting, as well.

Thanks to Shaun McLaughlin and John Trumbull for the information!

Check out some other death-themed entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

Was Mel Blanc, the Voice of Bugs Bunny, Allergic to Carrots?

Was Monopoly Once Ruled a Generic Term and Thus Not Protected by Trademark?

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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