Just four days after NetherRealm Studios’ reveal of the three new fighters included in Injustice 2’s Fighter Pack 2, the studio released another trailer that showcases the DLC’s first combatant: Black Manta. When Black Manta was initially revealed, along with Raiden and Hellboy, I predicted that this Aquaman villain might behave like a slower variation of Cyborg, and use a combination of physical and technological attacks.
I am pleased to report that I could not have been more wrong. In this new trailer, Black Manta does not appear to be all that strong, but his attacks are fast. His blades and trident seem to be the basis of how most of his combos start, and they can be followed up with laser blasts, missiles, explosives, and (surprisingly) a variety of aerial attacks.
If anything, Black Manta appears to behave the most like Red Hood (if Red Hood also had access to Supergirl’s heat vision). However, after watching the trailer a few times, I am excited to see that Black Manta seems to have more arena control than Red Hood. Red Hood’s biggest drawback as a mid-range fighter was his inability to attack an opponent from their behind. Sure, he could throw a mine behind an enemy, but that only slowed or stopped a retreat. It did not undo it. So fighters that excelled at long range, like Deadshot or Starfire, could always retreat and blast him from a distance. There was no way of pushing them back into the perfect range for another combo without running up to them.
Conversely, Black Manta seems to have a meter burn (seen at 1:25 in the trailer) that hits the opponent from behind and pushes them back towards him. So unlike Red Hood, who must constantly advance on his opponent to be most effective, Black Manta appears to have a means of bringing fighters back into the reach of most of his more devastating attacks without needing to be overly aggressive. This will be huge when confronting foes like Black Canary, whose counters are deadly against Red Hood’s constant advances. It is also worth noting that Black Manta is seen to also have a harpoon gun that can draw enemies in (seen at 1:01 in the trailer), but I assume it can be blocked (like Batman’s grapple), as it attacks an enemy’s front.
I was going into Fighter Pack 2 with very low expectations, but Black Manta already appears to be a welcome alternative to players who excel at Red Hood’s fighting style of transitioning between “fast in your face” to mid-range juggling. With the ability to both pressure an opponent from the front and remove the possibility of retreat, Black Manta could be a fierce contender in Injustice 2. There will be no final say on the matter until players have the chance to actually play with Black Manta and learn what his weaknesses are however. I cannot imagine the developers would just make a better version of Red Hood and leave it at that.
Black Manta will be coming to Injustice 2 in September.